Over the next few weeks, Jewish moms all over the world are going to find themselves very busy. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Jewish holidays, but the truth of the matter is that it is a lot of work. There is the food shopping, clothes shopping and shoe shopping plus cooking, cleaning, and managing all the kids home from school.
Many moms, including me, can quickly feel overwhelmed with all there is to do. This can quickly lead to feelings of frustration and then anger. Who do we take it out on? Sadly, this frustration often gets taken out on our husband and our kids. Not only that, moms will often feel guilty that we are angry and frustrated in the first place. Don’t we all know that we should be grateful that we have a spouse and kids, that we are able to celebrate our Jewish holidays with? Isn’t anger a terrible Midah?
Dr. Haim Ginott, was emphatic about allaying a Mom’s fears about her anger. In his book
Between Parent and Child, he says that we need to accept that our children (and spouses) can make us very angry and we should understand that we are entitled to our anger without feeling ashamed. The feelings of anger and frustration that come along with parenting are very normal.
To help manage and curb anger, he suggests that, “Anger should so come out, that it brings relief to the parent, some insight to the child and no harmful side effects to either of them.” Meaning that, Moms need to learn how to let off steam without hurting anyone’s feelings.
How can we do this?
One way is to use the Confrontative “I” statements, talk about how you feel without blaming and accusing others around you. This helps Moms handle their feelings of frustration in a firm, calm manner. It also can help her get the help she needs
“Why isn’t anyone helping me? How many times have I told you to peel the vegetables?”
“When I am cooking in the kitchen I need cooperation. I need you to peel the carrots and you to peel the potatoes.”
“You guys are acting like animals with all this fighting! If you don’t stop we are not going shopping for you new yomtov shoes!”
“When I hear fighting, it is hard for me to get my work done. I won’t have the time that I need to go shopping with you.”
“You are so lazy and selfish! How can you play on the computer when you see how hard I am working!”
“When I am cleaning and I see children sitting on the computer, not helping, I get frustrated and annoyed. I would appreciate it if you started sweeping the floor now.”
Managing the holidays and all it entails can be tough having some great communication techniques, like the “Confrontative, I statement” at your disposal, can make the time go a lot smoother.
Shana Tova to all.
Adina Soclof, MS. CCC-SLP, works as a Parent Educator for Bellefaire Jewish Children’s Bureau facilitating How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk workshops as well as workshops based on Siblings Without Rivalry. Adina also runs parentingsimply.com.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.