Okay, I’m getting calmer.
Adam stopped wailing after I screamed at him last time. That gave me the mental space to think more clearly, and I was able to calm down and not be quite so explodingly furious. It also gave me some time for me to feel my guilty feelings for having failed him as a mother whose responsibility is to be kind and understanding and to make him feel safe, not threatened.
I got some headache medicine, a big water bottle, and some decongestant to bring him, took a big breath, and went in to him again. He was cowering under his bed, and he jumped, terrified, when I entered even though I announced myself and didn’t storm in.
I spoke in a very calm, low voice. I said I was very sorry things got so out of hand, and that I wasn’t going to scream or hit anymore. I put down the things I brought him, and backed away to the door so he could come get them without feeling afraid to approach me. I told him I am over being furious, but I need to talk to him about this whole situation when he is also calm. He is no longer confined to his room if he needs to use the bathroom or something, but he should stay there until he feels calm enough to talk. Maybe he’ll need a nap first to help relax, and if so that is okay.
I don’t like terrifying my son. I don’t normally do that. I know it must have seemed bizarre and frightening for a mom who is normally all hugs and kisses and praise to suddenly turn into a screaming banshee hurling obscenities at the top of her lungs. I wish I could have not done that. I don’t know why this afternoon was somehow beyond my normal capabilities to cope and redirect bad feelings so they wouldn’t be destructive.
I told him I want him to think carefully about what happened this afternoon, and to try to think of ways in which he contributed to what happened. I don’t mean to lay all the blame on him, but it is true that he did do some things he could have done better. I told him I will talk with him and we’ll get this straightened out, but I need him to be able to talk calmly with me and not wail or cry at me. When he’s ready to talk I’ll give him another apology, and we’ll hug and start fresh.
I don’t want to be a bad mom. I’m not normally bad. But nobody is perfect. Somehow today must have been more trigger-tripping for me than most days are.
I hope that as bad as this all felt, it isn’t as bad as it seemed. This is the first time I spanked him at all since he was five. I swear it was a very light smack. But I do feel very ashamed that I didn’t control myself better than that, and I don’t quite know how to get over it from here.
I hope he can understand, and forgive me. I just wasn’t able to be myself when I heard him wailing. It drove me beyond my ability to cope. If it happens again, I suppose I’d be better off leaving the house than to listen to that again.