Monday, November 12, 2007

Brand Spanking New Goal


The other day I spanked my kid. I'm not proud of it, but I did it. I was exhausted physically and just lashed out. Nothing life alterating - one quick pat - but emotionally it sucked. For both of us.

I wrote about it at my Babycenter blog. Thank you Maggie, for commenting so soon. I'm bracing for the backlash from moms who not only never spank their kids, but cook everything from scratch and never let them watch tv. How do they do it?
My mother would kill me. Not about the spanking, but about talking about it. Hailing from Boston and, in being in her 70's, she's of the conservative ilk that, "Some things are just private!" But here's the deal. I know I'm not a child abuser. I just lost my cool. And if it can happen to me, I'll bet O.J.'s soon-to-be-guilt-free trial that it's happened to most of you. If you say you've never done it, I don't believe you. But if you really haven't done it, please go to my Babycenter post and let me know how.

Anyway, despite hardly ever spanking my kids, I've instituted a no-spanking policy. It's too easy to lash out in anger. I never want to have to worry about crossing the line. So it's about more scheduled breaks for me. More time with my husband, like Sunday night, when just the two of us sat at dinner together and chilled out. In fact, we did that on Saturday night, too. Which leads me back again to the point of sometimes, no matter what kind of support we get, we still lose it.
I don't ever want to be pushed to that emotional frustration again. Stink is only 4, for Godsake. What will I do if he knocks up a girl at 15? Throw them in the river? Time to get a handle on my emotions and take the advice I throw to the kids, "Control my body. Control my language!"

In closing, I want to give a shout out to Rex. Someone at a party on Saturday night asked me where Rex was. I was honest. He was home taking it easy. I used to feel bad about that... take in everyone's pitied looks (and sometimes comments) of "ooh, that must be so hard." You know what? It used to be. But it's not now. I love that I'm confident enough that I can do stuff without my husband and come home to a lovely, warm environment. I'm social and he's a homebody. It's that simple. And guess what? He's not losing it emotionally on the kids. He's not screaming and yelling. He knows his limits, and in knowing them, he is the most accessible for me for when I need it most: at home, during the quiet hours after dinner and pre-bed, when the kids want stories and loving Papa to wrap their arms around them. Thanks, Rex, you grumpy old man.
More of my writing can be found on Babycenter.com. I write under the name Andrea Frazer and can be found in the Momformation Section.

17 comments:

Jamie Willow said...

you are obviously a good mom! married to a good man. thanks for sharing!

meno said...

I have done it. I feel badly about it for weeks.

It's a good time to show your kids how to do a sincere apology.

Chris said...

Ditto, ditto, ditto to everything in your post. Even the part about Rex. Hey, are we twins?? lol.

His Girl said...

This is one of my favorites among your posts! I understand that feeling of how easy it is to lash out and spank- and how scary that is. I can honestly say that I think spanking is for the younger years- while they're cute enough that you're sorry after you do it. The good news is, I can't remember the last time my kids even needed a spanking... spanking was for the days when language was a barrier for us. Now that we all have a firm command, it's better to talk things out like reasonable people.
Don't get me wrong, I still lose it from time to time... but like you, I have an incredible antisocial husband who is loving to my kids and supportive to me even when I have gone off the deep end.
Thanks for reminding me of what a blessing it is to have that.
I'm linking you on my blog now... you're officially an addiction :)

hamiam said...

Oh Mama P....

Yes, I get this. And yes, I've done it. I'm not anti-spanking, but I am "anti-spanking out of anger" and I'm ashamed to say that I've done it...more than once. :wince: See, it still hurts.

Lucky for me, my daughter likes deep pressure, so I can just squeeze the bejesus out of her...oh, no, that's not what that's for? oopsie ;-)

Kristy said...

I totally understand this post.I am not anti-spanking but have rarely needed too.Just lately Josie my youngest has been driving me completely do-lally! Last week I smacked her legs I was so frustrated and regretted it so much.We are both working on controlling out tempers.She won't learn if I don't teach her.

cd&m said...

One quick pat hardly amounts to a spanking! Of course I don't agree with smacking children, in theory no one would, but occasionally even in no smacking households it happens. Sometimes a guess a quick sharp shock stops little ones from endangering themselves. I'm not talking hurting here.
Gosh this is a minefield isn't it? Actually I think maybe I'm glad my children are teenagers!

Liza's Eyeview said...

Oh, I understand...

I do not like spanking my kids, but there were one or two (or maybe 4?) that I had spanked them. No, it was not abusive, it was to make a point and discipline them; spank was in the behind where the fats and muscles are. Right after the spanking (ok, maybe not right after, but a little bit after), we hugged, I told them hoe much I really didn't want to do it and explained why I did - gave them more hugs. the kids knows you love them - one spanking would not let them hate you. It's the making up at the end that would count...

I'm glad you and Rex found a way to compromise. I usually let my hubby go out and party with friends while I stay at home and relax. I like it that way - he gets his needs met (bewith friends), I get my needs met (have my quiet time).

Maggie said...

I was just so relieved to know that I was not alone and not the evil mother I thought I was. Practicing breathing, asking for help more often, and taking breaks even if it means turning on a movie for the kids has helped me a lot. And having ready discipline options such as the naughty chair handy so if I start to lose my cool, I don't have to wonder what I should do. We'll get there. We just gotta stick together and help each other.

Dapoppins said...

We do spank in our house, but there is a difference from out of control spanking, and discipline spanking. That out-of control thing is somthing I would have issues with even if we NEVER spanked. Which is why, until my kids are older, I will take the magic zoloft pill. It gives me the edge I need for self control, becase I know my limits, and really, I went over them as soon as I decided to share my life with another person.

Love honesty among the moms. Good stuff.

Gretchen said...

Cracking up at hamiam's comment! We do deep pressure here, too, and I could see the benefits to a mom's peace of mind...hmmm :)

Mama P, you are an amazing woman and mother. Period. Your kids are fed, clothed, loved, and worried over. That's what counts. I invite anyone to stand in line re: not only losing one's cool but any other parenting faux pas. We are not perfect. They are resilient. It works.

much love, gretchen

ms chica said...

Nice. Both posts.

Em said...

I swore I would never. But I have. We all have those moments and we hate ourselves afterward. But it doesn't make us bad parents. We're just human.

liv said...

I have done it. I did it today in fact. AND I think it was warranted. I did not enjoy it, but there are some behaviors that cannot be tolerated. I do not want to do it again.

Jenster said...

The fact that you feel bad about it means you're a good mom. But I'm here to tell you, a spanking now and then will NOT ruin your child.

Sugarplum's Mom said...

Sugarplum went through a biting and hitting phase when she had more to say than she knew how to. She's much better now that she has more words to use. For a while we tried a smack on the hand but it didn't really get her attention.
I've come very close to losing my cool enough to spank her a couple times but I feel lucky that I've been able to catch myself so far. I look in her eyes and it's enough to make me realize that she's acting up because she's tired or not feeling well (most of the time) and I realize that she's having just as hard a time with me at that moment as I am with her.
Then I flash to how hurt she would be, and how hurt I would be, and what would we really get out of it?
I'm not anti-spanking. Everyone is different and everyone has different methods that will get through to their kids, spanking included. It's not a method I've needed yet, but maybe I will someday. I just try to take it day by day.

Single Mom Seeking said...

Just want to add, off Babycenter, that I applaud you for your honesty and openness. Thank you, thank you. You've put down here what many of us are afraid to say, let alone write down. Thanks for being you.