Toddlers require patience. A lot of it. There are tantrums, there is potty training, and of course pushing boundaries (like repeating themselves over and over in hope you may change you answer).
I will admit I am not a patient person. Z has made me realize this. He has been stretching and growing me in this area since he was born and it has been a painful process.
When my patience quota is empty my anger boils over. I find myself needing ways to deescalate and calm down.
My methods for resolving anger before Z leaned towards reactionary. Like a volcano boiling over with loud words, burst of frustrated energy looking for a destructive path down the mountain.
I have learned that with Z in my life my methods for expressing anger needed to change towards responding. Like taking a steaming coal and slowly dipping it into cool water.
I could have purchased some fancy anger management books and looked into advanced adult methods. But I have to say the best thing for me to start to learn how to respond instead of react in anger has been the some of Z books.
The same methods that work for my two year old work for me. His books teach him to walk away from a person or situation when he is angry. To find a safe space and take a moment to calm down. If he cannot leave the situation or person then take deep breaths and or to count to ten (or backwards from ten).
Just the other day I hit my hand on the freezer door (naturally clumsy AND pregnant is so fun). It was the last of many small frustrations that had me almost to volcano mode. I said through gritted teeth “I need a moment” and walked away from L and Z. When Z asked where I was L quickly said I needed a moment to calm down and Z understood.
Z sees these moments and doesn’t judge me for not having my act together-he gets it. Because he feels that way too sometimes. We all get angry, frustrated, and impatient and it really is all about how we choose to handle it. It’s amazing to me that in my weakness I can actually be a role model. Watching me get angry then calm down lets Z know he can honestly express his real emotions; that he can get angry, but handle it like mommy does.
And for those times that I do not handle my anger in a way that I know is kind and gentle-when I react instead of calmly respond. I readily admit it and ask forgiveness. I know how important it is to admit that I was not gentle or kind and say sorry. I am able to say I make mistakes. Z knows that forgiveness means trying not to “do it again”.
What is awesome is the more I practice this, the more I try to respond instead of react, the less I “do it again” and need to ask for forgiveness.
Anger management is a real thing-for a control freak-for a perfectionist-for one who doesn’t like being interrupted from her project and likes to seen things completed it is hard. Z is teaching me how to calm down and respond well to my anger and hopefully the vice versa is true as well.