Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Adult Temper Tantrum

If you look at the anatomy of a temper tantrum, it follows some very basic requirements: failure to comply, bodily resisting, loss of temper, irrational tirade and tears.  I see it in my kids time and again. Emotions out of control.  And I hate having to deal with a toddler at this level because the toddler doesn't understand something about mom.  Mom wants to have a temper tantrum too, and it takes every ounce of carefully cultivated sense of responsibility to not just lose it right back.  And I don't.  Typically.

I am in the middle of one right now. Yes, I had to pay this model to look like me, because its really super hard to photograph yourself losing it and simultaneously not lose the steam of the temper tantrum turning into pathetic self-loathing,  "I look like the Bride of Chucky there... no, this one makes me look insane - fat and insane, I'm not using that one...WOW - I wasn't even TRYING to make my eyes pop out,  look at that..."

My temper tantrum started with the Failure to Comply element AND bodily resisting.  On snowy mornings that are overcast, it is just the hugest motivation sucker.  I don wanna get up- or articula senences, everything about today says, "Go back to bed."  So I obey that feeling, and resist doing what I know I OUGHT to do.  But time marches on, kids get up no matter what nature is telling me, and it gets later.  Hubby is not a morning person either, and upon discovering that mommy is not marshaling the troops, he comes out to see if... if I'm dead, I guess.  Nope.  Just failing to comply and bodily resisting.

He looks at me and says, "Uh... its late."  Yep.  "We gotta get going..."  Well. I don't WANNA get up.  I don't WANNA hustle everyone around.  I don't WANNA start wiping off a sticky counter or the endless baby bums that have been producing acid waste poo lately!  I don't WANNA see if everyone got their homework done, or valentines written out! I WANNA sit right here, with my eyes shut and pretend that its all not there!

And then, like a storm gathering, it hits; emotions out of control. All of the frustrations and unrealistic expectations come pouring forth in a tirade against poo, laundry, grocery shopping and little projects that have become the fodder of your small, non-award winning, insignificant little fiefdom of a life; the irrational tirade:

"You said we could have adorable obedient children in perpetual new clothes romping over green grass hills carrying balloons to an impossibly thin me! We were supposed to be gazillionaires by now, with a nanny and facials not vacuuming up pasta from the food storage and changing a hundred disgusting diapers while the kids wiggle their poopy bums onto our gross carpet.  I am supposed to wear white pants, crips collard shirts and wipe up 4 x 4" messes with paper towels, not entire jars of peanut butter spread around while other kids are flushing my brand new expensive bath gel down the drain in the bathroom and the other ones coloring on the computer monitor screen! I went to college so I could appreciate architecture not wipe off a booger collection off the wall and, once upon a time, I WAS NICE! not an army sergent to a bunch of disobedient munchkins!!" *breathe sob breathe sob sob sob*  Let us quietly shut the door on the rest of this tantrum.  Tears are flowing, tempers are burning hot, and they just need a quiet spot, and a little time, to burn themselves out.  As my mother would say, "Go to bed.  Tomorrow will be a better day."  And that is what Mother Nature is telling me to do now.

Toddlers do get to take that time out, but mom's do not. Now I remember why it is not prudent for mom's to throw a temper tantrum so early in the day.  Cuz now I am up, showered, and dialing the school attendance line, "Hi, I am the irresponsible mom who had a temper tantrum instead of getting my children ready on time with a nutritious, well balanced breakfast - but will be sending them off late, hair all askew, clutching a chocolate coated granola bar.  They will not be arriving to school in matching clean clothes with backpacks full of carefully reviewed homework - but rather they will be the ones looking like an unmade bed today and partially filled out homework.  They will be there though, and I will be put on your list of volatile/irresponsible parents."  I just hope that I'm not the only one.  Mother Nature called you this morning too, right? *tears*


Sarah E. said...

When I was a teenager I found this little sign and agave it to my mom. I thought it was soooo funny! It said..
I will remain calm.
I will not slam doors.
I will not raise my voice.
I will not break things.
I will not throw tantrums!
I will not act like a child!!!
I am the mother!
Well, it hung on my our wall for as long as I was in the house and I pretty much forgot about it. Until a few years ago my mom came out to visit us. Guess what she brought??? That very same little sign. Only this time I cried when she gave it to me. I never knew back when I gave it to her that it was more than a funny joke. I was blind to my parents pain and trials in raising us. But as she handed it back to me I knew that that was a real montra. That sometimes I would need to repeat those words under my breath again and again while trying with every ounce of strength I had to do them. And then when my strength failed and I could no longer remain calm, keep from slamming the doors, yelling, breaking things and throwing a mighty tantrum that I would long for that time out. I would want to be grounded, but no one would say the words and I would have to come back to adult life even though I wanted to be a child.
I will be better in the morning, but sometimes getting to the morning really sucks. And that's when I for one, am glad that sometimes my children aren't the only ones who look homeless at school that day, and I am not the only one who won't answer the door because I don't want to subject anyone to the view on the other side of it.
Hang in there!

Danika said...

Ice cream. It helps, really.

Anonymous said...

Take one CAN of Hershey's Chocolate Syrup, put a hole in the top and insert a straw and consume. Repeat until troubles go away.