Home > Confessions, Parenting > I Hit The Mommy Wall

I Hit The Mommy Wall

I must warn you that I am going to do what my serious writer friends call a stream of consciousness.  So if you’re not in the mood to hear the anger, frustration and sadness of a mother, wait for my next post.

My husband is on business travel.  When I am single-momming it, I run a tight schedule to avoid melt downs as much as possible.  By 6:30 my kids were bathed and my son was finished with his dinner.  My three-year old daughter was still fighting me on eating.  Now I know what you might say, don’t have battles over food, they will eat when they’re hungry.  Unfortunately, for my daughter that is bedtime.  If she doesn’t finish her dinner, she waits until after I put her to bed and starts the “I want a snack”.  If I say no, reminding her that she didn’t eat her dinner, I feel guilty that I am “starving” her and she throws a horrific temper tantrum, thus waking up her brother who has to get up for school.

So tonight, I insisted she eat most of her dinner.  It took an hour.  I was exhausted, frustrated and irritated.  I finally gave up when she had finished what would normally be enough, but I reminded her that if she didn’t finish her dinner there would be no snacks.

Fast forward to bed time.  My son went down fairly easy, as he is always does.  My daughter wanted to read me a book instead of me reading to her.  Yes, I know I should think it is adorable and creative of her, but I am tired.  I am still adjusting to the time change and have hours of work to do.  We finally get through books and I turn the lights out.  I go in the kitchen to get everything laid out for morning lunches, ensure we have the right library books to send back and change the laundry.  I then hear the not-so-delightful pitter patter of my adorable hellions feet.  She is hungry and wants a snack.  Of course.  I remind her of the rule and that she didn’t finish her dinner and tell her to go back to bed.

She throws herself down and starts the temper tantrum.  My daughter is the queen emperess of tantrums.  She has been known to go 90 minutes straight.  Ironically, I am often the one who can calm her down, without giving in.  I am usually the one who remains calm and acts like an adult. Usually…  I pick her up (with an incredibly sore back) and take her to her room.  I tell her if she keeps up the screaming, I will take a toy out of her room.  My son (whose bedroom is only a bathroom away from his sisters) comes out crying because she woke him up.  I tell him to go back to bed (with not enough sympathy).

This goes on until my son has been up five times and my family room is a fully stocked store of confiscated toys.  At this point my daughter has continued to come out of her room (we don’t have locks on our doors) and have her temper tantrum in the hallway.  I don’t want to give into her, because it sends the wrong message, but I also want my poor son to get some sleep.  I feel trapped and torn between being the consistent mom and being fair to my son.

I hit the mommy wall where I am exasperated and don’t know what to do next.  I threaten to spank her, even though I don’t think it is a useful tool with my kids.  It may be right for some kids, but it’s not right for me or my kids.  That being said, I have done it less than a handful of times when I have hit the mommy wall.  In my mind this makes it worse.  I am using spanking when I can’t think of a more constructive option.

My daughter is now kicking the floor and screaming, my son is up again.  I want to scream, cry and run away.  I consider calling my neighbor for moral support, but remind myself these are my kids and my job.  I think about calling my husband, but he’s in a different time zone and needs his rest.  I am so angry, I am standing there with clenched teeth.  I tell her, “this is your last warning, go in your room or I will spank you!” (Yes, I am yelling 5 feet from my son’s door).  She kicks the wall so I spank her

Now, my daughter has on a diaper.  But she still says ow.  I have mentioned before she is an actress.  I am quite sure she is more stunned than anything, but I still feel lousy and now she’s screaming even louder.  Clearly that is my punishment for resorting to spanking.  I walk into my room and ignore her.  I am so angry, so sad and so frustrated that I feel like separating us will be the only way to defuse the situation.  She follows me in screaming and I tell her, “Mommy is so mad right now.  You need to go in your room.  I do not want to see you right now.”  She doesn’t budge and moves closer, now kicking the chair I am sitting in. I turn towards her, “What do you want?!  Go in your room!” Through her screams she tells me she wants me to snuggle her.  This sentence diffuses the rage, but I don’t think its appropriate to just switch to lovey dovey mommy.  I explain that she has to stop crying, get in bed and no more screaming if she wants me to come in.

She does what I ask and I lay down in her bed.  She instantly cuddles up to me.  I feel like a monster.  I am the adult, I handled a tough situation poorly and she just wants the assurance that her mommy loves her.  Rage is gone.  Sadness and disappointment in myself enter.  I am a smart, level-headed woman.  I read parenting books, I have the nickname of hostage negotiator because I use my words to diffuse situations, but tonight I failed as a mommy.  I allowed myself to hit the wall.  Or, as I prefer to think of it, the wall came up and smacked me.

As I calmed down, I tried to think about what I could have done differently.  I still didn’t know what would have been a better solution to my daughter asking for the snack and her subsequent temper tantrum.  The only idea I had was to re-heat the left-overs and tell her she could eat her dinner or nothing, but I really don’t think she was hungry, she had a healthy well-balanced meal. Yes, I feel the need to share that to compensate for being a lousy mom tonight, so pat me on the back – I fed my kids baked chicken, brocoli and brown rice pasta before I turned into psycho-mommy.

The worst part is, I feel like I only hit the wall when my husband is traveling.  Does that mean I am not capable of being a parent on my own?  I hope it means that when we’re both home, we can call for reinforcements when one of us is at our boiling point.  I have friends who are single moms and friends whose husbands travel every week.  They have a better resistance to the mommy wall.

The best I can do is start over tomorrow, but tonight, I will go to sleep wishing I had done it differently.  But before I try to sleep, I will go kiss both of kids one more time, because I love them and that’s why being the best parent I can be matters.

Categories: Confessions, Parenting Tags:
  1. March 14, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    I teared up while reading this post, Paige, because I have SO been there. It’s horrendous. My thoughts are with you and just wanted you to know I have been there and it blows just as much as you said it does.

    • Paige Morgan
      March 14, 2011 at 10:55 pm

      Thanks Kali! I was teary when I wrote it. But writing did make me feel better and then I stayed up to finish tomorrow mornings post which is much lighter. How are you? You’ve been quiet AND MISSED!

      • March 15, 2011 at 7:42 am

        Aw, thanks. I’ve been starting and managing 2 fastpitch softball leagues for women over 18 in my area. They’re the 1st of their kind so I’ve been “laying the groundwork” for months. The only break I get is when I come read yours and Kris’ blogs.
        I have about 17 drafts 1/2 written, but cannot seem to block off sufficient time to write much anymore, unfortunately. When things calm down I’ll be back. Until then, thanks for keeping me laughing and sometimes crying!

  2. March 15, 2011 at 6:30 am

    Hey, you’ve described many an evening with Maddy. DH is not home until after 9 most nights (for the next month!) and this little girl knows how to push my buttons. So I feel your pain. And damn if we don’t have the crutch of wine to buffer us!
    You’re not a alone!

  3. March 15, 2011 at 7:24 am

    No no no! You did everything just fine. we all hit a wall and we all lose it because the demands on us exceed what our patience level is capable of tolerating. I spank my kid sometimes because at that point, it is all that they will listen to. They forget what they are mad/whining about and then as I sit there consoling them, I find out what is actually wrong. I don’t like it either, but it happens. Don’t feel guilty. My husband is gone for 24 hours at a time (more like 30 hours) and I am often a single parent. Most of the time, they are fine with me, but when I am DONE, they don’t seem to understand that. Maybe I need to work on their skills! 🙂

  4. March 15, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Paige, You have hit a cord here and I love the title of the post because that is what it is. My husband is going on a conference and leaving me alone for a while and that is when all hell usually breaks loose in my house. My little one is now going through a tantrum phrase and we had such a fight a while ago, he screamed bloody murder for almost 2 hours until he gulped for breath. I contained him, yelled at him, told him I was very angry, and the whole night was ruined. We do the best we can. EAch day is different and we will not be perfect. In fact, I do not believe there is a textbook answer to these problems – we figure them out as we go along.

  5. March 15, 2011 at 8:52 am

    My oldest is 16 months and already is pushing my buttons. I’ve had to do the “he doesn’t know what he’s doing” maneuver time & time again, yet I’m pretty sure he knows that it hurts me when he bites or when he pokes me in the eye.

    Meditation. Wine. Knowing you’re not alone. Wine. Laughter. Music. Sex. Wine. Beer. These things help. I know you’re without much of this list for the next 37 days (what, me counting?), but post.

    Parenthood is about surviving…I’m told it even becomes fun at some point (maybe when my kids have kids?). Blog. Read. Laugh…once I manage that, I find it’s a little easier to both love and like my children.

  6. March 15, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Can you feel that? It’s me. Hugging you.

    You hit a wall.

    But you make potato leprechauns.

    One more hug. There. That’s better.

  7. Neighborhood Glue Gun Friend
    March 15, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    you should have called me.. i broke Lent… i would have poured you a glass, no a cup, no a pitcher of wine… hugs love you girl

  8. March 16, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    We ALL have days like that. Anyone who says they don’t is either A. Lying, B. Suffers from amnesia, or C. Takes a lot of Valium. A lot.


  9. Lynda
    March 23, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    It’s so hard to deal with situations like this & quickly going to coulda shoulda mode but you reacted the best way possible at that moment. It doesn’t make you horrible, makes you human. Sometimes in our motherly moments we forget we are still human. Stay strong & keep showing your kids all the love you have (even if they dont always seem to appreciate)

  1. March 16, 2011 at 6:16 am
  2. March 17, 2011 at 5:28 am

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