I have to share a little snippet of thought, trailing through my head like a comet. I believed I was a patient person before I had children. Most than that. I have always secretly deep down believed that it is wrong to be otherwise. I have battled, and sometimes swallowed down, feelings of frustration and fury - I have called my feelings WRONG and tried to change them. I have believed that to be a good parent, I cannot be angry.
Now I am leaning to the idea that my anger is just anger - it is a feeling - it doesn't define me - and I can feel it, accept it, act on it or let it go, without it owning me. Anger is a feeling. It isn't a FACT, about me, about you.
If I could just - stop - being angry, not feel frustrated (or hell, even just "not feel frustrated over silly things") I would not be a better parent. Parenting by example means I want to live my reality alongside them, and the main way I teach them to have self-control is to have more self-control myself (kind of contrary to the idea that society has that children learn self-control by being controlled by others). I don't need to Never Feel Angry. I need to have the self control to live with anger.
So mostly, when I am wishing away my feelings, I'm wishing away an opportunity to demonstrate to them some of the many ways of dealing with and acting on our emotions in a healthy productive way.
And part of that is apologising and making things right when our reactions are unhealthy and destructive.
So, some health-enhancing advice for living with anger.
- Train yourself to react slooowly, practicing the art of either being very general or very specific (say what you see without blame).
- Take responsibility for your actions. Nobody made me lose my temper, and even when I feel like I'm not able to have self-control, I am choosing.
- Breathe slowly and name your feelings as they arise, over and over until you can sit quietly with them.
- Drink a LARGE glass of cold water. I kid you not, being well hydrated = more self-control. ;)
- Flower remedy: Impatiens. Rescue Remedy will do the job, also.
- Channel the big feelings into doing something. "Sorry children, I feel frustrated so I'm going to be over here doing some angry pictures until I am OK again." Hit a pillow if it helps.
- Take a brisk solitary walk if someone else is available to be with children (taking them can turn it into more frustration - but it might still be worth it if getting you all out of the house is a possibility).
- Chamomile tea, drunk in the kitchen, with the door closed.
- Clean something, vigorously (surprising how well this works for me when I can only force myself to get started).
- Lavender oil in a burner somewhere. In fact, any nice smell plus the feeling that you are doing *something* to bring yourself back down.
- Take a do-something-different break - put music on, or get out the noisy toys, or turn everything electronic off, or read stories - anything to vaguely structure the next half hour, changing things up to get you out of the rut.
- Stretching type excercises, so yoga is ideal.
- Write a list of things that you are grateful for.
- Phone someone who will make you laugh, help you feel normal, and help you do better. If you have someone like this, you are so blessed! Go find them and thank them RIGHT NOW.
- Run a bath and put everyone in. Water is a great cure for disequilibrium in all ages. ;)
- Forgive yourself! You can handle it differently next time, but this time is already in the past. Make up. Move on. And give yourself a hug from me - it's not easy!