Read this if you snapped at your child today and you feel bad about it

I hear the baby phone coming alive as I am settling down to write about patience. ‘Not again!’ I hear myself mumbling. I feel my patience slowly evaporating. I created a little plan for myself for the evening. Now I see it all going up in smoke.

That’s life with a baby. Make plans, so babies can laugh at you. Pretend to be a serene zen master, so toddlers can see straight through your laughable little act. They mercilessly show us, where we can still grow. I don’t think there is a more humbling spiritual path than being a mother. I tried it. Nothing comes even close.

In Karam Kriya Numerology number 9 signifies patience. Funnily 9 is also the number of mastery.

Why do I snap at my kids?

Let me translate this question into the wisdom of number 9:

Why haven’t I achieved the mastery yet to withstand the pressure of modern parenting?

Expectations on parents are higher than ever. The support network of an average family is smaller than ever.

I’m not pretending mastery. As you could probably guess, there was an incident that triggered me to write about patience. I was spending the whole day alone with our baby and toddler at home. We were about to go to sleep in the afternoon. I was hungry. They were both tired. Toddler needed to potty. He ended up reading on the potty for 20 minutes. Baby ended up cranky and crying inconsolably, while I still had to take care of all the potty business. I went into survival mode and snapped at my toddler: ‘Why do you have to sit on the damn potty for 20 minutes?’ What is foolish of course. All I had to do was to set proper boundaries and sweep everyone off to bed before things inevitably escalated. But I was hungry, tired and frustrated because I had grand plans for the day that didn’t go through, because everyone was tired after a pretty bad night.

Number 1 and 9 in Karam Kriya Numerology

In Karam Kriya Numerology numbers go in pairs that create the sum of 10.

9 is the magic of the unknown. The subtle, boundless universal wisdom. It’s tolerance, endurance and patience. On the flip side it is a dogmatic and tyrannical – my way or the highway – attitude. Number 1 is your essence, your soul. It is simple and centered. On the flip side number 1 can be heavy and stuck. It’s poking and provoking.

1-9 is also the domain of your home. Rest and sleep. Survival. Focus or dispersion. Master or fool. Pressure and endurance. Do you have it in you to make the last couple of steps to the finish line? It is also the tyranny of perfectionism; wanting to do it perfect or not at all.

Can you see, what made me snap that morning, when we translate it into the language of numbers? I was at home alone. We all needed to rest and sleep. I lost my focus and failed to set proper boundaries, time dispersed. It all happened just before we were about to reach our finish line – our midday sleep that gives me some quality time with myself. My crying baby triggered me. The perfectionist in me felt like I was letting him down. I was hungry (the stomach is also number 1) that set my nervous system sharp. I went into survival mode and poked my finger at my toddler.

Authoritarian parenting vs. authoritative parenting

In these moments of implosion I fall back on the conditioning of my authoritarian upbringing. I want to shout: ‘Why can’t you just do as you are told?’ I desperately crave some authoritarian parenting tools and the obedience of my child… It’s not how we roll. The defiance of my child is the best proof of this. He looks at me like I’m gone insane and I love him for that. I love myself for that, because it shows me that we are doing a good job most of the time. He is not yielding to my tyrannical approach.

Researchers group parenting styles into 4-5 different categories. There are two categories that stand out for me when we are talking about the number 9: authoritarian and authoritative parenting styles.1 The names sounds similar, but in their approach they are completely different. One represents the tyranny of number 9. The other represents its patient wisdom.

Research shows that authoritarian parenting creates seemingly well-behaved children, but causes problems in the long-run. Authoritative parenting has the healthiest long-term outcome with regards to emotional healt, social outcomes, school performance etc.1

In authoritarian parenting there is mostly a one-way communication from parent to child. It often lacks clear explanations. It’s the ‘do as you are told’ and ‘because I said so’ approach to parenting. It demands obedience or enforces its will with punishment. Children raised with an authoritarian parenting style often struggle with low self-esteem. They (or should I say us?) can be socially inept, have difficulty with making decisions and managing emotions such as anger as there were never taught how.1 Shaming a child for his or her sensitivity, making emotions feel like an inconvenience and telling them to shut up, when they are expressing emotions is not helpful. It doesn’t teach a child, what the different emotions are or how to deal with them.

I like to think that we are mostly parenting in an authoritative way in our home. We make clear statements about what we want, we say a firm NO, when it is needed, we set clear boundaries and we encourage our children to do the same. There is space for negotiation and most importantly open communication. I love parenting this way, because our family feels like a little community. Me and my husband bear of course the main responsibility, but we are all equal. We respect the natural needs of our children and we can all be ourselves.

Research says that authoritative parenting requires lots of patience and effort from both parties. It does require lots of patience and awareness for sure to be present and centered, but playing the role of a know-it-all, perfect mother would be way more exhausting for me. Parenting this way is fun. I allow the natural flow of life. I do what I enjoy and try to involve my children in it as much as I can and as much it feels appropriate. It feels like the most natural way to do things.

There is one problem though… The whole set-up of modern parenting in a nuclear family is unnatural. I love my children and I love hanging out with them, but I also need regular breaks. We were never meant to do this alone. Wanting to have some rest and time alone doesn’t make me a bad mom. It makes me a well-functioning human being. Lack of alone time and connection with myself tend to bring the tyrant out in me.

You lost your temper. Now what?

An authoritarian parenting approach makes the child walk on a tightrope. There is no room for mistakes or explanations. This is what I still struggle the most with. The daunting feeling that I make one mistake and I’m out. The connection is broken, everything is destroyed. Young children live in the present moment. When a child is punished, her whole world collapses.

As adults we can learn from the past, be aware of the present moment and anticipate the future. We are making hundreds of tiny decisions every day based on what we believe to be true. It is like building a house. Step by step. Stone by stone. We are building the reality that we experience.

Sometimes we make a mistake. Sometimes we missed our self-care time. Sometimes we didn’t have enough sleep. Sometimes we thought we could do it, when we should have asked for help. Sometimes we are going through those days of our cycle, when everything feels too much and all we want is some alone-time.

If I snapped, I apologize and I explain.

I explain about emotions and how they feel in my body. I explain, why it happened and what I want to do differently next time. I explain that it is never their fault. My emotions are my responsibility and I’m still learning how to best handle them. I explain that I am grateful that I can learn with them. I dare to be vulnerable. I forgive. I reflect. I am patient with myself.

How we treat ourselves, how we behave teaches much more to our children than anything we can ever say.

We are humans and we are here to learn from our human experience. I rather want to pass this message on to my children than the pressure of trying to live an impossibly perfect existence.

Much love,

Orsi


References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK568743/

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