When I had my first kid, in my twenties, I didn’t have much of a filter. I said what came to mind and mopped up any messes later.
When I had my second kid I was in my thirties, and I had learned my lesson. Or had I? I didn’t want to be a mean mom. I had learned enough to (usually) hold my tongue when I was angry or frustrated. But I hadn’t learned what to do with those unlaunched, unkind thoughts.
Those thoughts like:
You should know this by now.
Why do you make it so hard?
Can’t you see I’m doing something right now?
I was surprised when this second son said to me, years later: You do this passive aggressive thing, Mom.
But it makes sense to me now, looking back. There must have been tons of times when I didn’t actually say unkind words out loud to him, but the irritation behind the words would find their way out through my tone of voice or the look on my face.
So what is the solution? Moms are human. Even the loviest moms get irritated and impatient sometimes. What can we do with those grumpy thoughts that rise up unbidden?
Turns out, there is a lot you can do.
So this is gonna be a three-parter. Check back to this space for upcoming parts II and III:
II. Some Really Good Things To Know
III. What’s a Mom to Actually Do?