I wake up this morning, the first one up. My stomach is rolling and clenched. I tip toe to the toilet, getting quietly ass-sick. No doubt this is partially due to the 7/8 of a medium pizza I ate entirely by myself last night (which is no doubt due to my feeling like a terrible person after yesterday), but mostly it’s the picture of my sweet, innocent son floating in front of my face that makes me feel so sick, so guilty.

There is no way to say it nicely. Yesterday, while changing his nappy, I smacked him. On his bare bum. Hard enough to leave a red mark.

Committing these words to paper/blog makes me feel a deep shame, but not as deep as the shame I feel because I smacked my child. On bare bum. I have never done this, and so help me god, I will NEVER do it again. I have made a lot of bad decisions. I have lost control and screamed at my children on a few occasions – yesterday I held Snort by his arms and yelled that he was a bad boy. I have smacked tiny hands away from cords or electrical outlets or from ripping each other’s hair out.

I was raised to think it’s okay and normal to be hit. This apparently turned me into the sort of adult that, when really angry, apparently resolves to wanting to hit her own children.

It. Has. To. Stop.

The gift I can try to give my own children is to not learn the things I learned as a child. I don’t want them to feel shamed, or dirty, or like an animal.

I don’t want to be my father. You know, the fun parent, the awesome parent – the scary parent. You never know when he’ll go from being your best buddy to tormenting you, to hitting you, to screaming and shaming you. I am not him. I will not be him.

Please, let me not be my father.

So I sit here, eyes filled with tears. Guilt and shame in my heart, my two beautiful babies loving me anyway.


So: this is me. I am not always the fun parent, the relaxed parent, the loving parent. Sometimes, only sometimes, I am the monster I fear.

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21 Responses to “Guilt.”

  1. impeus Says:

    Not all child smacking is the same. I got my bottom smacked as a kid, and I love my parents to pieces and wouldn’t describe them as violent.

    Yes be mindful of it, but don’t beat yourself up. You are not your father. There are many lines you haven’t crossed, and I’m sure you won’t.

  2. pocket.buddha Says:

    I am sorry that you had those experiences in your childhood. And I am so sorry for the agony you must be feeling right now.

    *hugs* you ARE a good mother, you are a HUMAN mother who makes mistakes, who isn’t always perfect, but you ARE perfect in their eyes, and you’re certainly NOT a monster.

    There is a book I read when Oliver was new born that really helped me to start all of the inner healing that helps me to avoid the mistakes of my mother.

    It’s called ‘everyday blessings, the inner work of mindful parenting’ I can’t remember the authors now, but if you can find it, I hope it can help you to heal & move beyond your experiences & find your center.

  3. Jenny Says:

    I know how you feel as whilst I’ve never hit my son I was also brought up in a house where my parents did smack (though only occasionally). It means I too sometimes see red and have in the past hit out without thinking at my partner. Something he’s never done to me. I feel awful about it and my desperate wish is that I never ever do it to Bub. I’ve no words of advice I’m afraid just that I can see that you are a totally loving mother who is doing her absolute best for her two little ones. I’m sure you’ll find a way through this.

  4. Lyssie Says:

    You are not a bad person, you are a wonderful mother. You did something you regret, and the important thing is you regret it, you recognise that you did something wrong and have promised yourself it won’t happen again. A bad mother wouldn’t recognise it as wrong, or would blame the child – because they deserved it etc. This isn’t you, nobody is perfect. We all have days where the children wind us up, or we just want to punch the boss in the mouth. It’s part of being human.

  5. Sylkozakur Says:

    Proud of you for writing this. I feel the sane way sometimes.

  6. Natasha Says:

    I was just going to tweet you but it was far too long so thought I’d write it here instead, even though I already commented.

    @existere Please stop beating yourself up. You had a bad day, you are over-tired and over-stressed, your little boy pushed the right buttons and you lost your temper. None of that ‘excuses’ smacking, but the fact you recognise it was wrong and feel the way you do, shows you care and are not a bad person.

    Just try to learn from this and move forward. You promised yourself it would never happen again – perhaps it took this one time to give you the resolve you need to NEVER let this happen again. It was a learning experience. You can’t go back and change what happened, but you have learnt from it and that’s what makes you different from people who smack by second nature and think nothing of it. You know it was wrong. The guilt you are feeling is all the proof you need that you are NOT a monster and you are not evil, that you care and that you know right from wrong.

    I’m just sorry you were going through such a tough time yesterday that this could happen. I know you wouldn’t smack for no reason out of the blue, so you must have been feeling really tired and right at the end of your tether, and so I’m sorry for you that you’re in that place. I hope you get some rest soon and feel better.

    Please don’t think this post will allienate you from your friends online. Most of us are probably relating to feeling this way at one time or another, and admiring your honesty and courage in posting this for all to see.

    Anybody who knows you well, will know this one-off moment is not who you are, will know that you are not an all-round angry person with a nasty temper and a hard hand. Anybody who knows you will know the fun, loving mother you are and how blessed your children are to have a mum like you.

    You’re a GOOD mother existere. Please don’t doubt that from this one moment. This moment was an exception from the norm – we know it was because otherwise you’d not have bothered to mention it, or we’d not have been shocked by it. I was shocked by it, because it’s NOT like you.

    If you’re doubting that? Go back and read the rest of your posts here on your blog? Because almost all of them are just full of love and enjoyment at being a mother. Most of them, even those that don’t directly say it, make it evident that you are fun, easy going, relaxed and loving.

    Yesterday was an exception. Learn from it. Move on from it. Don’t let it happen again. Hugs for you x

  7. Nina Says:

    I have been there, and it is awful. The horrible feeling you get AFTER you’ve hit your child out of angry is probably the worst feeling in the entire world. Unfortunately, it happens to a lot of parents. The fact that you are trying to be a better person, a better parents, says a lot. We can only try harder everyday, to love our babies as much as possible, and try to direct our anger somewhere else. It is SO hard. Just know that you are not alone, and know that your babies do still love you. ((hugs to you and your babies))

  8. Gnome Says:

    I’m never sure whether to comment on things like this, as I (sadly) can’t claim any experience in these matters. I can, however, speak as someone who as a child was occasionally smacked, when my parents were driven to breaking point. It did me no harm whatsoever. There is a massive difference between a violent parent who instills fear in their child, and a loving one who occasionally snaps. The only one hurting now is you. Snort is fine and won’t be scarred in any way

  9. Christy Says:

    You are a wonderful Mother who had a bad day. We all have bad days sometimes and we do things we regret. The important thing is to learn from the mistakes and not do them again.

    I was spanked as a child and don’t ever want to spank Lily but I broke one day when she did something for the 40th time. She was fully clothed including a cloth diaper and I doubt felt anything but it really upset me.

    You are human doing the hardest job there is. Don’t beat yourself up anymore. You are a loving wonderful Mother.

  10. jackie Says:

    I’ve done things I regret as a parent as well… Noone is perfect. Huge hugs.

  11. Kate Says:

    I’m so sorry you had such a bad day. We’ve all been there, whether we actually hit or not, and you’ve just got to move on. You’re a basically fab mother, and you know that “basically fab” is as good as it gets. You are not a monster, and your children won’t see you as such. I bet you said you were sorry. I bet you said you knew it was wrong. You are fine. Go forward.

  12. Katie B. Says:

    *hugs* You’re human, not some plastic model of nonviolent perfection. J spanks L sometimes; I’m not comfortable with it, but it’s always for a specific reason, and never angry, and he always talks with her and dries her tears. I’ve seen studies that indicate that that type of spanking can actually be beneficial in the long run. I’m still not comfortable, but…

    This doesn’t make me love you any less. You should see the occasions I’ve yelled at L on recently. >.<

  13. Jennie Says:

    I just wanted to agree with all the fellow commenters. And to emphasise that the best mothers in the world get angry and snap from time to time. You know what your background is, and you’re determined to make sure the same experiences aren’t a part of your children’s lives. One smack doesn’t make you a terrible mother any more than one mince pie makes it Christmas! Snort will have been initially shocked, but I’ll bet he’s not walking round, clutching his bottom and glaring at you now. The fact that you’re so upset with yourself now shows that you’re not a bad mother at all. Let yourself move on. We’re all human, and we can only keep on doing our best. And your best is just fine! xx

  14. Winnie Says:

    You are a wonderful mama. And because you are AWARE of the fact that you have done something you don’t want to repeat, you are already not your father. You are not a monster. You are a human person who has made a mistake and has learned from it. You are lovely and wonderful and imperfect in the best ways. You are trying to make amends, and that is all that matters. love love love

  15. tia Says:

    i love that everyone has supported you & has said everything that i could think of saying (& many things i can’t).

    you’re a wonderful person inside & out. you are a great mommy. everyone makes mistakes & the fact that you can talk about it here & be honest about it makes you even more of a super mom & my hero. love you.

  16. Shilo Says:

    oh hun *hugs* I understand. I was brought up by extremely strict grandparents who were very aggressive people and believed smacking and screaming were the ONLY way to parent. As well as a mother who has bipolar and also parented the way she was parented. I vowed never to hit my kids but I have done when really angry quite a few times. I HATE it and it brings me to tears as well. I feel sick to the stomach when it happens, and not only because of the pain I have just caused them, but all the memories and hurt it drudges up from my childhood. I get so upset because I was never taught how to parent in a calmly, with words and reasoning. So now it’s like I have been left to fend for myself in the disciple area of parenting and it’s fucking hard work. Unbelievably hard and a on going struggle. I believe I have a serious anger problem because of the way I was brought up. 😦
    So please don’t be too hard on yourself. You are an AWESOME mummy x

  17. Jenni Williams Says:

    Oh hun. I have been there. I was abused as a child. The first time I spanked my oldest, I fell into a deep depression. I COULD NOT become my mother. I was sick.
    Three kids and 10 years later, I realize that the occasional spank, yelling, anger does NOT make me her.
    You are a FABULOUS mom. Don’t doubt that for a second.

  18. saralema Says:

    I agree with everyone else. We all have our less than stellar moments in life. What’s important is that we learn and grow from them. You are not a horrible mom. You will never be like your father.

    Wishing I was closer so I could come lend a hand.

  19. Kara Says:

    I once smacked Samara’s hand, as a reflex, when she was throwing things at me. She looked up at me, stroked my face, and said, “Gentle, gentle!” It broke my heart. I resolved at that moment: I will never hit her again. Spanking, hitting, swatting…it’s all the same. It is ineffective, and it is not the kind of parent I want to be. I am reading “Connection Parenting”, and I read something along the lines of…will this parenting method effect our connection positively or negatively? The problem with that regarding hitting is that it is usually a split second decision that we make to do it, so it’s not like we deliberate :-/

    It is so hard to be a parent, and you are doing the best you can. You are a fantastic mum & I’m proud of you for thriving as much as you are with the pain you’ve been in, in addition to having TWO babies instead of one! ((hugs)) mama!

  20. catsandcradles Says:

    So, I apologize for being a little bit behind the times. Anyway.

    I can’t speak from experience yet, but I can speak from observation. I spend a lot of time at work dealing with the general public, and I see a lot of parents and children interacting. It’s usually pretty obvious which parent just snapped at her child because it’s been a long day, and he’s been pushing every one of her buttons repeatedly, and which one just snapped at her child because that’s the way she generally speaks to him. I can tell you right now, you’re the former.

    We all have bad days, we all have moments we do things we regret. And, in the long run, I think it will benefit your kids to see you make mistakes, realize it, and apologize for them. We live, we learn, we try not to make the same mistake twice. That’s the best we can do, but if we can do that? It’s pretty damn good.

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