My toddler is good at many things, including making me angry.

stella shoes
Shoes are not a problem when they’re mommy’s

I never really knew anger until I became a mother. For as long as I can remember I have done whatever it takes to avoid conflict, be it extracting myself from uncomfortable situations or nodding & smiling when most people would shout. Maybe it’s disingenuous, but it gives me a sense of control over my own actions. My sister-in-law remarks every time that I see her, “You seem like you never lose your cool with *Elsa.” So. Not. True. I spend 24-7 with this child it is natural to feel overwhelmed by her at times.

So, as a means of self-therapy, here is a list of five things my sidekick does that annoy the hell out of me.

1. Refuse to brush her teeth and hair, or get dressed in the morning. C’mon lady, we got things to do, people to see, places to be. Recently this has gotten so bad that even offers of park time won’t motivate her. What to do…

2. Refuse to wear socks or shoes. No socks = stinky shoes & feet, not that she cares. No shoes = dirty, cut up feet. But she doesn’t care! I’m pretty sure she somehow inherited this from me as I too remember a time when my mother had to hang a picture of a shoe on the door (pre-reading days) to remind me to wear shoes outside because I kept coming home with splinters. Karma, man.

3. Insist on being carried instead of walking or riding her stroller. Girl, you’re like 32 pounds (14 kilos for you metric folk). I physically can’t manage that for more than 10 minutes, one handed, pushing a stroller. Work with me!!!!

4. Unintentionally inflict pain. She jumps on me, out of pure joy. But it hurts!!! The rational side of me acknowledges she is not doing it to hurt me, but the moment Anger rears it’s ugly head I find myself chastising her (and regretting it soon after). Resolution #1 after post is written–learn to bite tongue.

5. Throw big honkin’ tantrums every time we get ready to leave for home from somewhere fun. The park. Friends’ houses. The library. And once she’s into it, there’s no stopping her. 30 minutes screaming as I push her rapidly home–she doesn’t even pause for breath (or so it seems).

I’d love to say I kept my cool during all such incidents, but no. Definitely not. Locking myself in the bathroom as she screams–done it. Taking video to send to my husband, “See what you don’t have to deal with today,” oh yeah. And what I am least proud of, the yelling. I yell at her, despite knowing it makes no difference, and even worse, knowing that she may copy such behavior in the future. I can’t figure out why I don’t always have control over this–maybe that built up anger requires a physical release that yelling fulfills? The more I think about it the more I feel that anger management discussions for new moms during their hospital stays would be really beneficial–it would have been for me anyways.

Well, there you have it, imperfect me and my imperfect daughter.

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