It was hard to write and post. Partially because writing it down made it in some way more real; real in the sense that I am aware of how I am behaving and that I know it is wrong. And partially because it meant putting myself out there to be judged, although I sincerely doubt anyone can judge me more harshly than I already judge myself.
So yes, I let myself become the sort of parent that snaps at my kid, is too tough, and is sometimes downright mean. But I have not been that person for two weeks now.
And I have remained yell-free, calm, and mostly the parent I want to be through a big move, a new puppy, and financial woes.
Last night I had a lesson in being gentle. Bedtime has historically been a tough time for us. Last night was no exception. I could feel the tension rising. But I realized at some point that Aria just needed to talk. So we talked; maybe only 15 minutes and then she was ready to settle. But before she did, she told me how happy she was that I listened to her.
Curious, I asked her if she had noticed a difference in the amount of yelling I had been doing. She gave me one of those huge grins of hers and said that yes, she had and she liked it much better. According to her, I'm almost ready for the BIG challenge. That sounded rather ominous to me so I asked her to explain. Apparently it's another two weeks of being peaceful and gentle; these first two weeks according to Aria have been a practice run. But the best part and an inspiration to continue on my journey to be the mom she deserves is what she told me I would get if I failed. Two kisses and a hug. Aria is clearly far advanced in the art of gentle discipline. I am clearly one lucky mom.