I didn’t realize I had any problem with anger until Little E was born. Mr. C happened to be a fairly easy baby. He was never really easy to feed, but I could usually figure out some way to get him to eat what I wanted him to eat. He was a great sleeper, and he was happy. I was able to become a stay-at-home mom with him after he was three months old, which I loved. I remember thinking, If this this the way babies are, let’s have some more!
Then Little E was born. Even her arrival was dramatic–it was one hour and 45 minutes from the time my water broke (my first sign I was in labor) to the time she was born. I had had an epidural with Mr. C, but there was no time for one of those with Little E (although I hadn’t planned to have one anyway–the needle scared me more than the labor pain). Since the labor was so short, the contractions were intense with no rest between. I remember being in a bit of shock when I held my beautiful Little E for the first time.
As a baby, Little E had acid reflux. She spat up continuously through the day. She was loud. She would only stop crying if I were holding her (or if she were in my Baby Bjorn) AND if my pinky finger were in her mouth (yes, we tried a pacifier). She woke up multiple times in the night until about seven months of age when I finally cut off her night time feedings (since her weight was very healthy). On top of all that, Mr. C was knocked into his terrible two stage, probably as a result of Little E’s birth. He became moody, stubborn, and jealous. He started fighting us over food, eating so little with his weight dropping so much that his doctor recommended him to a specialist. I was still coaching cross country when Little E was a newborn, so thankfully, my mom stayed for a while to help. I remember crying when she left. I don’t know if it was just because of all I mentioned, but I believe I went through some level of baby blues after Little E’s birth.
Please don’t get me wrong. Since before her birth, I have always loved my little E. She was beautiful and precious and still is. She had a wonderful smile, and because I held her so much of the time, we were very close. As she’s grown, her extreme emotions have been challenging for us, spurring more anger, but I adore her creative, generous spirit. If she has some major down swings, her up swings are fun for everyone around her.
However, no matter how much I love my Little E, I have to say that after her birth my nicely ordered world spun completely out of control. That made me angry. I never went past the line in my anger with my children, but I struggled hard in a way I never had before.
Control. I want to believe I’m in control in my everyday life. This is my third major reason for getting angry. I want my world ordered around me, and everyone and everything under my jurisdiction to generally behave the way I plan. If I want my daughter to stop throwing a tantrum, I believe she should stop immediately, even though she might not be developmentally able to put on the brakes that quickly. I want to read a book or three about parenting, follow some formulas and have my child respond properly. It doesn’t always work that way. Some children resist the best formulas. Some children really will starve themselves if they are consistently offered healthy food at designated times. Some children won’t sleep even when you sleep train them by the book. Some children do not respond to time-out, sticker charts, taking toys away, etc. What worked with the first child might not work for the second or third. Parenting is not cut and dry, and for someone who wants to be in control, that’s a hard pill to swallow.
But was I ever really in control of my life in the first place? I really think God put me in this place to let me know I never was, even though I had deluded myself into thinking I was. God is the only one in control; when I started to recognize this fact and go to Him with my problems with the children, He started giving me and my husband the wisdom for how to handle the problems.
When I give Him control, He puts my life under better control than I ever could. When I recognize He is in control and not me, my anger doesn’t rise up to choke me. He leaves me in peace.