The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Monday, October 01, 2007



My husband and I will celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary this Tuesday.

“What do you want to do?” he’s been asking for the last few weeks.

Dinner at a nice restaurant, followed by a movie in which the star isn’t an animated rat or a gentle-green ogre, seemed like a plan. Then this morning, while sneaking a half-hour to read the Style section of the Sunday Chronicle, I came up with a better idea.

“I know what I want to do for our anniversary,” I announced to my husband, pointing to the article I’d been reading. It was about Hal Runkel, author of a new book, “ScreamFree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool.” He happens to be speaking in the cvity on our special day.

Glancing up from the Sports page, my husband looked less than thrilled by this news.

I don't think it's a coincidence that Runkel will be in town on our anniversary. I almost bought his book last week. The title stopped me in my tracks as I was cruising past the parenting section at Book Passage. I began flipping through the pages, but ended up putting it back on the shelf because I was in a hurry and I’m too cheap to buy hardbacks.

Throughout the week, though, bits and pieces of what I’d read kept floating back to me. Like the heading, “Growing up is hard to do--especially when you’re an adult.”

I felt as if Runkel was talking directly to me. For a while now, I’ve been struggling with the realization that, in addition to our daughter, there are two reactive, frequently immature “children” in their late forties in our family. I hate them for acting the way they do. And I hate seeing the mounting evidence that they are teaching a precious little girl to emulate their behavior.

I know every parent loses it at times. But too often, lately, I feel like I fall far short of the patient and loving mom I want to be. I hiss. I snap. I shout. Not all the time, but more than I should. My husband, the product of a large, Irish Catholic family where yelling was the preferred method of maintaining order, isn’t any better. He erupts in anger when he's stressed or our strong-willed five-year-old tests his limits.

Some days that seems to be every second.

Going to hear a parenting expert talk may not be a romantic way to mark our anniversary. Nor do I think that Runkel has the magical solution to fix our family. But maybe listening to what he has to say will be a first step toward helping my husband and I learn how to manage our emotions so we can be the parents our daughter deserves.

I can’t think of a more loving gift to give her -- or each other.

By Dorothy O’Donnell


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