my night as a mean parent, thoughts on Facebook, and why I don’t care to censor myself anymore

I believe in kindness.  I really do.  I try to choose kindness whenever I have a choice…

But I often fail.  I am human.

Tonight I was a mean parent.

Anna would not take a nap today although she was obviously tired.

I yelled out of frustration and anger and begged God to give me a break.  I couldn’t handle this.  While she cried and kicked and screamed, I felt like I could kick her or run away or scream in her face.  Then I stubbed my toe on a step stool. That was it.  I freaked out and started crying and yelling.  Anna was startled and instantly quieted down.  And I instantly felt terribly for what I had done.

Finally, while nursing one nipple and scratching/pulling/twisting/picking on the other nipple, Anna fell asleep.  Relief washed over me, and I felt in love again.

I learned about “sleep talking” the other day during a phone counseling session with one of my favorite people, Jan Hunt.  I will sleep talk to Anna tonight to apologize for being a mean mom.  I will tell her that I love her, that it is not her fault, and that she deserves better.  I will do better tomorrow.

Yesterday I was thinking about being a seed of change.  Today I am thinking about how a seed of change cannot achieve perfection, even if it wants to.  It can only strive for being its best self.  Nature is flawed and messy.  And I love that.

One of the reasons I quit Facebook a while back was that I became very disturbed by some of the things that people said on there.  I also felt scrutinized for what I said and suddenly felt afraid of revealing myself in such a public forum–to hundreds of people whom I hardly knew and certainly did not trust. I often felt judged and attacked for my unusual beliefs and choices, and that was hard for me.  I don’t do well with criticism.

When I took my break from Facebook, I had a lot of time to center myself and think about things.  During my hiatus, I realized that I didn’t want to lose connections to some of my Facebook friends.  I missed them. So I joined again and chose my friends carefully–this time, just the ones I trusted and felt good about having in my circle. There are still a few in there who would criticize my beliefs and choices, but I care enough about them to keep them…for now, at least.

Unfortunately, now Facebook shows me conversations that occur outside of my “friends” circle.  I can see other conversations, but I cannot comment on them.  I can also be a part of conversations on my friends’ pages that involve people who are not my friends.  This happened the other day, and I again found myself feeling overwhelmed and deeply disturbed by the hostility of some people.

And these particular people are people whom I know.  They are a part of my faith community.  They believe in and defend their meanness with pride. They encourage parents to belittle, punish, and name-call their kids.  In other words, they are bullies.  At the same time, they confess to have the same love and faith in their hearts as I have in mine. It is so confusing to me.  I do not understand them, and I don’t understand how those things can coexist within the same heart.

So I wrote my two cents in the comment thread and left it behind.  I told myself it was not my place to judge, thank goodness, and that I can only take care of what is in my own heart. Then I wrote this post and went to bed.

And then tonight I was a mean parent myself, so I can humbly say that none of us are perfect–and most certainly not me.  And I sort of felt like an idiot for being a spokesperson for kindness.  As if I am qualified for that.

We are all mean sometimes.

I used to feel like I had to be careful about what I wrote on this blog, but as of today I no longer care to do that.  I don’t have the energy for censorship.  Censorship requires such restraint and I am bursting at the seams.

From now on I am posting what pleases me, and nothing less.  It might please whomever reads it and it might not.  From now on, I care mainly about being true to myself and the people I share my house with. This is my blog and I love writing in it.  It lets me remember things that are important to me.  It lets me get thoughts out of my head so that I can sleep.

Goodnight 🙂

6 thoughts on “my night as a mean parent, thoughts on Facebook, and why I don’t care to censor myself anymore

  1. Parenting is an enormous challenge. I don’t claim to be perfect, either. We are imperfect people in an imperfect world, doing the best we can with what we have. One day at a time, we are raising our children as they grow. I take comfort in knowing that at least I set a good example in how to take accountability and apologize for my mistakes. 🙂

  2. I needed to read this today. I had a horrible day with Drew yesterday…and it all started with him not napping, but it didn’t end there and lasted until his little eyes drifted off to sleep 2 hrs late for bedtime. It is hard to keep calm all the time as a parent and all we can do is ask for forgiveness when we let out a side of us that we don’t like. Thanks for letting me know that I am not the only one that struggles at times! And thanks for always sharing your thoughts. I joined facebook because I found someone else that thought like I do, I thought I was alone in my thinking. Thanks Lisa!

  3. I really liked these two posts (this and the seeds of change post). I loved the first one because it was a good reminder that we don’t have to carry on bad habits and cycles. And I like this one because I’ve been in that exact spot that you describe in the beginning (darn step stools! Darn naps! Darn emotions!) and it makes me feel more human and less monster to know that moms I respect have reacted in the same way for the same reasons.

    FB is an interesting beast. I love how connected it allows me to feel to my friends, and even to people I’ve never met but who share the same beliefs. Especially now that I’m the mother of two small children and can’t always make it out into the “real world” on a regular basis; I feel so isolated sometimes. But at the same time, I’m now also connected with some very different people, people I would normally just walk away from if I were to see/hear them IRL. But it’s not so easy to do online. Why is that? Maybe the cloak of anonymity, or not having to see the human eyes react to what is said to them.

    The other day my cousin asked the general public for help in overcoming her sugar addiction. She understands it’s a drug and wants to cut it out, but even knowing how unhealthy it is she’s having difficulty. I suggested eating lacto-fermented foods (bitter turns off sweet) and shared a link to the WAPF page because I was on my way out the door and didn’t have time to find specific articles for her. My cousin is not vegan or vegetarian, but our aunt is, and apparently some of her friends are. One of those friends felt the need to share her thoughts about my link, saying that it “deeply disturbed her.” My way of nourishing myself and my family *deeply disturbs* her. That disturbed me. Somehow I let it go without responding, but believe me that I spent plenty of time going over what I’d like to say in my head. And don’t get me started on the nut job who commented on my “I’m a straight ally on National Coming Out Day” post (I later found out that she’s a friend of my grandma’s, and I HAD responded to her. lol)

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It’s heartening to know that I’m not alone. I’ve been struggling with censorship on my own blog, which is why I rarely post anymore, but this helped.

    Thanks for being a seed of change, and for inspiring the rest of us.

  4. Lisa,

    You are a wonderful mother. You live for your girls and it is clear in every decision you make in life. Getting frustrated is unavoidable at times! What separates you from a truly mean person/parent is that instead of blowing up daily or hourly, you rarely show your frustration to your kids and the few times you do show it, you are overcome with guilt! You are such a sweetheart and your children and all of the people around you know that.

    Love you dear 🙂
    Jolene

  5. I totally agree, Jolene and everybody else, and above all, you, Lisa.

    And when in despair, call Mom, it might work, too, and Mom would love it.

    so much love

    Ma’aa

  6. Okay. Wow. Our lives are so parallel sometimes.

    About being a mean parent – been there.

    About feeling like an idiot for being a spokesperson for kindness and then not living up to it – been there as well.

    Cool that you had an interview with Jan Hunt, BTW!

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