So in the middle of my post-PMS pre-India trip grumps, I had an epiphany.
Well, actually first I had a meltdown, but isn’t that always the case? (Not in Mimi’s case, but for adults). The meltdown was because I had scheduled a trial football lesson for the kids, the coach a few hours before the class sent me an email asking if we could do it earlier, I said okay, and then when the kids came up from playing realised that time was tight and Mimi chose that moment to have a meltdown about putting her tracks on. Instead, she insisted she wanted to wear her favourite Indian dress, which is basically an anarkali without leggings. This meltdown was preceded by a meltdown because I told Nene he could eat a gingerbread man which apparently V had told her she could have. So then V ticked me off for saying yes to Nene, and I got totally flustered. V was lying on the couch groggy as he had been woken up from the nap in the confusion, and I just lost it and started yelling. V told me to calm down, Nene told me to stop shouting, Mimi kept yelling and I just worked myself up into a fury.
And then I realised it was too much. That from a person that was very controlled about expressing my feelings, I had become someone who flares up at the drop of a hat.
If I have to date back the start of this behaviour, I think it was about two years into my marriage when I felt like talking to V was like banging my head against a wall. He would stonewall at the least sign of discomfort, while I got hysterical trying to get him to listen, to really listen. And then I landed up with a kid, Mimi, who was the other extreme, who would dig her feet in for the long fight and scream her head of while at it. And the part of me that had learnt to shout in frustration took over.
But I realise now it’s time to stop.
For one, V has made a lot of improvements, and it’s time for me to make some myself. He is more communicative, and he’s acknowledged the error of some of his ways, and I can’t keep resting on old baggage and using it as an excuse.
And then, yelling at Mimi doesn’t really work. Sure, her tantrumming touches a raw nerve that makes me want to blow my top, but going at her head to head just doesn’t work. Ignoring her when there’s time, or compromising with her if there isn’t is the way to go for now.
And much as I hate to admit it, I need to model calmness.
I looked at my resolutions for the past two years, and both times it included “shout less” or “count to 10”. So clearly this has been going on for a while. I hope 2016 is the year that I will break the habit, even if it means some severe biting down on the tongue.