A few weeks ago I talked a little about generally feeling like a craptastic mom who was probably driving her kids to Prozac and the psychologist's couch. Well right after posting that I somehow ended up reading a bunch of horrible news stories about toddlers being beaten to death and other unimaginable things. On the one hand, I thought "Geeze, maybe I'm too hard on myself." I mean, even on my worst day, am I really anywhere near being "abusive?" I guess it depends on what definition we're working with. Most people probably think of hitting hard enough to leave marks or telling chidren they're worthless or other such junk, which I've never, ever done or come close to. On the other hand, I've come across people who actually believe that even feeling the urge to yell at your kids (even if you don't actually yell) is abusive. From that angle, I'm definitely screwed. I yell too much and too loud. Sometimes I stomp around and pout like a big baby. Patience isn't my strong point and I get exasperated easily. I'm very high strung and I tend to be dry and sarcastic, which can make me come off as a big jerk-face.
At any rate, what I was mulling this around and thinking about expectations. On the one hand, when we expect perfection of ourselves, it can lead to dejection and complacency because it's impossible to attain. On the other, you get people like my husband, who tends to have this attitude that as long as there's someone worse than him, he's doing okay. That can also lead to complacency and kill our desire to better ourselves.
So, I'm trying to find a balance between expecting too much of myself and seeing everything in the worst light, and shrugging off my faults because "it could be worse." The last few days have actually been pretty good with this approach. The hardest thing is moving on when things go bad. If I blow up and snap or yell I tend to spend the rest of the day moping and bemoaning what a horrible mother I am, which is unproductive. The best thing I've found is to just apologize (yes, kids deserve apologies!) and offer it to God and move on.