I used to be pretty good at keeping my sh*t together. In fact, I was so even-keeled that, in second grade, the teacher moved a disruptive kid’s seat next to mine so my demeanor could "rub off on him." Now that children are in the mix, however, there's more everyday drama and triggers. Thanks to lost jackets, talking back, and cheating at board games, avoiding anger is pretty impossible. Still, I realize not all parents freak out over similar events. So, I have some questions for moms who never seem angry.
There is a calmness these mothers seem to posses when interacting with their children, and it shows in their slight smiles and the fact that the volume of their voices never seems to rise. They're not running after their kids or clutching their coffee like a security blanket. They're not scowling into their children’s backpack, as they confront the atrocity that is an unclosed lid on leftover hummus and pretzels.
They don’t seem to get angry about any of the daily pinpricks of annoyance that come with raising children. This makes me question the validity of my feelings. Is it not OK that I get angry? Dismissing an emotion doesn’t feel human to me and I am trying to teach my kids empathy: that they are completely justified in feeling whatever they are feeling, it’s just that they can’t act on that feeling all the time. Anger should be OK, but acting in anger is not.
So, as I try to follow my own parenting rules and not act out of anger, I find myself wondering how far do I, and should I, go? Do I dismiss my anger completely? Do I find new coping mechanisms? Do I keep myself from feeling a very real, very valid human emotion that, more often than not, is pretty damn justified? In the end, I must turn to the moms who never seem angry, and ask them the following questions: