Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I hated myself …

“Can we watch cartoon?” my two children asked. “Five more minutes, after I’ve finished,“ I replied. Most of the time, I would just let them take over the remote control and go read my newspaper. But I’d been trying to catch the ending of this show for quite some time, and it happened to be on after dinner that day. Obediently, they sat on the sofa, handling the remote control playfully. Just about when the show was to end, the channel changed.

“HEY!” I shouted, frustrated, stood up, went over to my six-years old boy, gave him a slap on the leg, stared at him angrily for two seconds and snatched the remote control from him.

My little boy was stunned. Not from the pain of my slap (it wasn’t the hardest slap that I’ve given him, neither was it painless), but from my sudden and unexpected violent outburst. As I sat there watching the rest of the show, my heartbeat started to hasten. Hatred grew within me. The boy sat quietly, and uncomfortably. He kept shifting his hands and stared blankly at the TV, not knowing how to react. Sensing his fear, uneasiness, helplessness and being at a loss, my hatred grew even stronger, and anger was starting to rise. Being a parent, I had a very strong urge to give him a hug and tell him it’s okay. But I did not. Frustration emerged.

After the show finished, I threw the remote control toward them. They yelled happily, and watched their cartoons, as though nothing had happened. I went into my room and read my newspaper. My heart was still beating fast.

My snapping at the moment the TV channel changed, was what gave rise to the hatred and anger within me, towards myself. So were the ease with which I let rage blind me, and the eruption that followed. Why did I snap? Was it the eagerness to finish the show? Was it their disobedience? Was it the disappointment that they fail to respect my simple request, yet again? Maybe there are better way to react under this circumstance?

As much as I’m vague about the reason behind the outburst, I’m also uncertain as to why I refrained myself from giving him a hug. Ego? Was it that I want him to learn the lesson? Was it this time round, it was me being agitated, better to be on the receiving end from me than others? Should I have comforted him then and explain things to him, again?

Not sure.

As rare as I would use violence, or show the violent side of me to the children, I doubt that will be the last time. And mind you, it’s not the first time either. For facts, I know they’ll always be playful, disobedient at times, and testing boundaries most of the times, and I’ll have things that I wanted to do which needed their understanding and following my instruction. These being facts of life, the occurrence of another agitation and another outburst are very probable indeed.

But, perhaps, at times I could be more than “just human” for my kids?

But at that point of time, I hated myself.


Sweet Jasmine said...

This is just a natural emotional outburst which is in us humans when face with opposing factors like this...so just don't hate yourself. If you feel guilty just explain to them it is part of their fault too in not listening to instructions...

The Fearless Blog said...

I don't know if we can be "more than just human." Let's face it...we "are" just human. Your story mirrors something that occurred to me today with my older son. Lightning struck right outside my home and I guess it traveled to my house and set the alarm off or should I say disabled it for almost two hours until my husband arrived and fixed the fuse. With the alarm blaring loudly and indicating there was a fire, the three kids in a panic, the dog confused and me on the phone...well just picture the scene for yourself. I admit it...in frustration I smacked my son as he attempted to interfere in my phone conversation with the alarm company official. I was anything but humane at that point. Yes, I probably over reacted in my own small panic and frustration and I felt awful knowing I had hit him in front of his friend who was visiting.

I demand and expect respect at all times, especially from a 13 year old who thinks he knows it all. I give my life for my boys without a second thought; I have sacrificed and dedicated my life to them. I live and breathe for them. They are my life, but I too exist. I am an imperfect person with many faults. I don't except to be perfect, all knowing and always in control. There is an ugly side to all of us, and I worry about those individuals who claim or appear to be "perfect parents." There is no manual, for no child or parent is the same.

When I "lose it" as I did today, I usually apologize to the boys, explain why I reacted the way I did and remind them that I "do" make mistakes. Mistakes "make me" human. It's what happens after that we should worry about most.

Lian said...

I've come to learn that motherhood is about balances - we know we must give of ourselves but we cannot lose ourselves, we know we must discipline and teach but we must also love etc.... Keeping these balances is tricky business. And when the scales are tipped too much one way, our emotions go crazy. Well, that's my take on things anyway.

eastcoastlife said...

I tend to get angry with my son and hubby over little things. Due to stress and frustrations. I regret every outbursts but it still happens until today. I have very poor anger management.

My hubby and son are luckily very gentle and easy-going people.... they have never been angry with me over these. But some people don't take kindly to such temperaments. hehe...

Johnny Ong said...

its good to let them later why u were angry earlier. do not create fear in theirs hearts toward u otherwise in time to come, they won't dare to share intimate situations with seeing that u cld be angry if u knew abt it.

be a friend to them (i'm working hard on this)

Buzzing J said...

Sweet Jasmine:
You're right. It's probable that sometimes I'd expect a little bit more from myself. But then again, that's probably over-estimating me as a human?

Fearless Blog:
You're so right about the importance of our action after the incident. Probably it's another opportunity for us to preach, err... teach them about life and respect too.

I think you're spot on on the balancing part.

You're so lucky, and blessed, to have such loving husband and son. Envy you.

Johnny Ong:
It's easy to be a friend to them. It's also easy to be their disciplinary teacher. But, it's damn hard to be a friend who is also a disciplinary teacher and vice versa.

BK said...

It's only human to make mistake. However, we are fortunate that we have the chance to learn from our mistake. I do agree with the fearless blog's comment about apologizing when we did make mistake. And I think it is also important that we learn from our mistake and not make similar one in the future.


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