I don’t do smacking. That’s just the way I roll.
But today I crumbled. I’ve done it before and it tears my insides out, sending me into a spin of self-punishment via caffeine, fat, sugar and salt.
I’m tired, sure. I’m a little preoccupied with the ocean of things I want to do vs the teaspoon of things I get to, sure. But that is no excuse, is it?
There’s just some days that I can’t stop the reflex. Little Lion pushes his sister so she smashes her head on the wall, I respond with comfort for her, a short and stern expression of my disapproval to him and I walk away to focus on Blossom. No attention for attention-seeking behaviour. No focus on inappropriate actions coupled with praise and lavishing attention on the good stuff, right?
But he shoves her twice. I’m tired. I don’t have what it takes today, so when he stares at me, opens his mouth wide and buries his teeth into Blossom’s head, I snap. I smack him. His eyes flood with tears and he screams, fire spitting from his eyes.
“Oooooowww! Mummy NO hit LL! Why you hit LL?! NO HIT LL!” and he smacks me back.
I am instantly sick to my stomach. He’s right. Why did I hit him? I shouldn’t hit him. He’s small and frustrated and lashing out in the only way he knows how. He’s asking for help, not for punishment. But I can’t give it. Not today.
So the drama fades. The moment passes and I eat half a pack of Allen’s Chews to camouflage the knot in my gut. He starts drilling Blossom’s back. I divert attention, create a game, do the good mother thing. It lasts 5 minutes.
He’s restless. So we go to the shops. He’s happy… For a while.
We’re in Woolworths. The pasta aisle. He “cuddles” Blossom when I am not looking for the third time, choking her until she cries. I hiss a warning with the finger pointed at him. He roars, pure fury, and again buries his fangs into Blossom’s head. Again, I snap and crack him on the arm.
He sends up a wail that shakes the sauce jars on their shelves. Other shoppers scurry from the aisle. They avert their gaze. It’s too embarrassing to look at the mother who has lost control – of herself and her children. I am determined not to scamper away in shame. I am determined to finish my shopping, screaming duo or not.
And I do. And I stalk calmly to the car, denying LL a ride on Thomas, chocolate milk, ice blocks or treats of any kind. I don’t want to feel guilty for being weak, but smacking my poor little boy just because it’s the easier option, just because it releases the fury in me is no better than him releasing his fury on his little sister, is it? So I gorge on McDonalds for lunch, coke and chocolate through the afternoon, drinks at night, not enjoying any of it, feeling toxic and yet shoving more and more and more down my throat.
Because I should feel bad. Really bad.
(OK, so maybe there is one damaged woman in this story!)