My Nerves Got the Best of me.

490 days of loving more!

Let’s be clear about one thing.

Today, well today the desire to yell had absolutely, positively nothing to do with my boy’s behavior. Nope. It had absolutely, positively, everything to do with my nerves, my fear, my stress. Let me step back in time one year.

At #2’s 4-year well visit last year I expressed concern about his vision, especially after he struggled with the eye exam. It was agreed that a trip to the pediatric eye doctor was a good plan. I went, quite nervous as to what would be said, and left even more nervous than when I went in. It seemed that one eye showed pallor or optic nerve atrophy (damage to the nerve.) This could be nothing, as in just a born with type of thing, or it could mean a big something, like a brain tumor or future Glaucoma. We were to wait three months and then return for another examination. Well, that examination led to the decision that an MRI was necessary to rule out a brain tumor. It is easy to say that I left that doctor’s appointment way more nervous than the appointment three months prior. It is also easy to say that as I waited for the test results from the MRI that I never felt sicker to my stomach in my life.

The MRI came back clear. No brain tumor. Good news. Next steps? Just watch the eye for change; no need to worry unless there is change. Phew. But wait.

Enter last week.

At #2’s 5-year well visit he once again struggled with the eye exam. This time though when we covered the “bad eye” he said,

“Wow. This eye (the good eye) sees so much better than the other one. The other one was kind of funky. It didn’t work so well.”

Ugh. Enter sick to my stomach feeling again, especially since for the last few weeks he had been complaining that his eye hurt.

It was once again agreed that a trip to the pediatric eye doctor was a good plan, as in, a “this has to happen within the next couple of days” plan.


So today was the big day. Today was the day when we would learn if the eye had worsened, if another MRI would be needed, if I would be even sicker to my stomach. My husband and I were nothing short of a bundle of nerves. And my darling five year old? Well, he was just as bad. He HATES the eye doctor. He hates the eye drops that sting. It was a toss up as to which one of us wanted to go the doctor the least today.

As we sat in the waiting room, our nerves fighting against each other, he crawled all over me. He pulled my braid. He kept grabbing my hand while I tried to fill out paperwork. He didn’t stop asking me “would the eye drops sting again?” He didn’t. Stop. Moving.

He didn’t stop wanting my attention.
He didn’t stop needing my attention.
He didn’t stop feeling agitated that I wasn’t giving him more attention.
I didn’t stop feeling agitated that he was giving me so much “attention.”

I just wanted to scream get off of me.
I just wanted to yell stop bothering me.
I just wanted to cry, please don’t let your eye be worse, please don’t let it be a really bad doctor’s appointment, please, oh please, be okay.

“Ah come on mom. Get with the program. I am not the problem here. I am acting normal for my age especially under the circumstances. You are just wanting to yell because of the circumstances!!!”

And then finally, it hit me harder than my son did when he accidentally knocked me in the head when climbing into my lap: My son was just as nervous as me. My son NEEDED MY LOVE and comfort and support so desperately at that moment and I wasn’t giving him nearly enough of it. Sh*t, I wasn’t giving him any. I am normally so good at being strong for my kids when they are scared. I am normally so good at managing my fears so they find comfort in me. Today, I didn’t do such a good job. Today, I almost yelled at my sweet son because he was scared and because, well, I was too.

I don’t know what exactly finally made me realize that “it’s not you…it’s me” that is the problem in that moment but I am so grateful I finally did. I can only imagine how sick to my stomach I would have felt if I had lost it on him; if I had brought him to tears when he was so scared and so very much needing his mommy. I quickly finished the paperwork and held my son in my arms like a baby. I played with his hair; talked to him, told him it would be okay. I forced myself to stay strong and to focus on my behavior so that I could be there for him and help him calm down. And when my son began to twitch in my arms  and I started to twitch with frustration, I reminded myself that he wasn’t the only one struggling, that I was too.

Thankfully, the doctor’s appointment went fine. Fine. We shed a few tears over the eye drops but no tears over the diagnosis. This time we were told to return in a year, not six months. This is good news. Really good news. It is more than good news actually it is “I am so incredibly grateful” news.

It is also really good news that I have The Orange Rhino Community. Yesterday I shared my “it’s not you…it’s me” mantra which really made it top of mind today. In other words, you all really helped me today in a tough situation with my son. Thank you. Thank you one thousand times over for giving me a place to share my journey to yell less and love more. I feel I loved more today because of you and that is more than good news, it is “I am so incredibly grateful” news.

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15 thoughts on “My Nerves Got the Best of me.

  1. we’re in this together! 🙂 this is really nice that you shared this because we can easily put you in the position of “winner” even when you’re still battling. 🙂 thank you!

  2. My sympathies go with you – I have been down that rd with a 6mth old (now 9)
    Except with the outcome of ‘ I’m sorry, your baby is blind!’ He had cataracts and had his lenses removed two days after we found them. We have regular eye specialist on a 3-6 nth basis for the past 9 years! I’m so glad your boy is ok. Your story touched me on a personal level and I congratulate you in your ‘it’s not u it’s me’ moment as I have had to sit in those waiting rooms far to often and couldn’t count on my fingers and toes together the amount of eyes drops tears we have shed!
    I love this group – it’s very inspiring! Keep up the great work!

  3. This is me with my six year old, just a different situation. Usually he’s a turd – pretty sure he fits into the Oppositional Defiance category – so I’m still always shocked that out of my 3 kids (the others are 7 & 4) he’s the one so sensitive about our divorce. He cries for daddy usually, but lately he’s told me he wants me, which is a change. I’ve let him sleep with me the last few nights because I’m remembering he’s upset and just needs me to love him. I can’t imagine having my dad leave me. He’s just a hurting little boy. 🙁

    Reading your blog and your 30 Day Challenge is making such a difference already, and I think he’ll benefit the most from the change. Thank you.

  4. I REALLY needed this tonight. Today was the worst day in a long time. And I know the reason I yelled at my son so much today had absolutely nothing to do with him (well, almost nothing…he was being 3, but today was the worst day for him to do so), and everything to do with my own stress as of late. But I’m going to take what I learned today and use it when I need it in the future. I don’t want to see the hurt on his face like I saw it today. Not ever.

  5. Yay for you…recognizing all this in such a stressful situation. I am facing taking a 7 year old daughter with enormous needle fear to the dentist for 8 baby teeth extractions (her permanent teeth are forming a nice double row…all the better to chew with?) Anyway, your post and your sharing is helping to give me courage to remember to be a comfort to daughter and not stress out about how loud she is going to yell and scream. She is scared but I can be strong for her. Thank you OR!

    • It’s a wonderful image~ a mother comforting her child when he needs it, instead of focusing on her own worries, fears, etc. Congratulations to you, OR, and to everyone else out there (including me) who is finding ways step by step to love more, and yell less.

  6. Thank you! Thank you for being there for your child and holding him and being strong for him. Thank you for sharing this. Thank you for making me realize its all about me. I’m in tears.

  7. So glad the news was good and that you and your son managed to comfort each other in that incredibly stressful situation. I am also trying very hard to remember that it’s not fair to take my stress out on my kids for just being kids. I had a disagreement with my husband the other day and just at that moment my kids started arguing. And amazingly, before I shouted at them, I remembered your article where you said that a lot of the times we yell at our kids for other reasons than what they had done. And managed to stop myself. I don’t know who was more surprised. Me or my kids. So thanks again OR!

  8. I am so proud of you, and so happy your son is okay. I was feeling your roller coaster of emotions as you explained your days leading up to this moment. So glad to know I’m not the only one that can get caught up and forget to be a mommy to my babies when they need it most, glad to know that I’m not the only one who gets the sick stomach, glad to know I’m not the only one who feels ashamed… most of all I’m so glad to know that we are triumphant. We are taking motherhood back… we are standing strong, with one child in each hand (one on the hip, one on the back, and a few to spare!)… we are mothers! HEAR US ROAR (just not at the kids 😉 )

  9. No thank you for setting this program up. It has help me a lot because finally have a place to turn too. I knew I was not alone when yelling because grew up in a house where one of my parents yelled but I did not know how to change my habit. I am going one week without yelling but it has been hard. I had to cover my mouth for sure.

  10. How wonderful to have this outlet to vent about emotions. Years and years ago when I was struggling with my 5yr. old’s son diagnosis of diabetes it was so hard to be strong for my son, my husband, my other children, the grandparents, etc. I never felt like I could express my own fear, worry for the future and anger that this was happening to my child. Thank you for sharing!

  11. Thank you so much for sharing this moving story. First, I’m so glad there’s good news regarding your son’s eye, and second, I’m so happy that you were able to restrain and put yourself in your son’s shoes at that moment when he needed you.
    I have made the promise I won’t yell at my girls. I started 8’days ago, and yesterday (exactly one week later), I yelled at my 3 year old after she threw an empty water bottle at the back of my head while I was driving. I got so Mad at that moment that i scolded her by shouting, and she immediately started welling up in tears and crying loudly. I felt SO awful. I don’t ever want to see that reaction again. It proved to me just how deeply yelling affects my kids – I went one week without yelling at them, and the moment I yelled, she reacted so strongly. My poor baby. But I will keep moving on, keep my head up, and never quit trying to be the best mom I can be to my two little girls.
    Thanks for being here for all of us OR.

  12. Thanks for this post. I soooo appreciate your honesty! I can also really relate. Good work not loosing it! And I especially loved the part where you gave yourself a break for realizing your little one wasn’t the only one upset. I try so much to not be upset so that I can be there for my kids. But that only makes it worse really. Pushing my emotions down only creates bigger drama in the end. It helps me to imagine myself as the little child I am holding!

    I have a question too for you. I have been able to control not raising my voice with my kids, but I find that I still get angry and say things I regret (like cussing…I was a truck driver in a past life =) I am trying now to dedicate myself to silent self talk. A step that seems like a mile.

    Have you had trouble with this? Have any pointers?

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