My biggest struggle as a new mom has been learning to control my temper. And you know what? I fail. A lot. Cutting my squirming, screaming daughter’s nails can send me into a fit, flying out of the room in a huff only half-finished. I am not proud of this. In fact, it is one of the most embarrassing things I’ve had to admit as a mother. I was terrified to write this post but thought if I could make one other mother feel less alone in this struggle, then it would be worth it.
I see moms with infinite amounts of patience, and I wish so badly to be like them. I know they reach their limits sometimes, too, and that nobody is perfect, but I also know my fuse is shorter than a lot of other moms. Sometimes it’s a pile of dishes my husband left in the sink. Other times it’s a whole bowl of homemade food being thrown on the floor.
It’s very rarely worth my anger and almost always something I should have shrugged off.
The truth is, I’ve never been a calm person. My emotions run hot and I boil over fast—and only after I’ve lost it, can I seem to find calm. This is something I’ve been working on in my first year as a mother. And it’s been really hard. I feel an enormous sense of guilt when my daughter sees me lose my cool. Will she feel like this exasperation is her fault? Will she be scared of me?
I started giving myself a goal as a way to handle my outbursts: How many days can I go without losing my temper in front of her?
When I feel myself losing my cool, I think about how many days I’ve stayed calm and whether or not the current situation is worth ruining my streak.
Sometimes that alone is enough to make me shrug off whatever was about to set me off. Other times, I have to leave the room. If I know I need to blow off steam, I go shed a few angry tears in the bathroom and then come back and try again.
And sometimes I fail completely. And then I start over. Back to day one.
I have no solution for this. It’s my biggest flaw, and I’m ashamed of it. But I do know that all I can do is keep trying. No matter how many times I have to start over, I will keep trying. My daughter deserves the best version of me, and I deserve to focus on my strengths as a mother.