By Sara Fitzgerald
I’m not a crier. Before I had children, the only place where I would surely cry is at movies. It took me a long while to cry about the death of my grandparents. I didn’t cry at my wedding, or when my children were born, or even when my newborn son was having heart surgery. Crying is just not my thing – until I realized how necessary it is.
Many women are known to cry at the drop of a hat. Me, I can get angry at the drop of a hat. Children bring out the best and the worst in us. Parenting is an emotional roller coaster. They push us to our limits in every way. I know that every parent experiences anger in parenting, but I try my best to manage my anger and aim to be calm and happy with my children.
Of course, life is not always happy and cheery and there are still lots of times when I get stressed and my anger rears it’s ugly head. It swallows me up. I yell, I stomp, I slam doors and throw things (though never at the children!). Usually the reason I’ve gotten angry has nothing to do with them. They’re just being kids. It’s just something else going on that I haven’t dealt with. Afterward, once I have calmed down, I am filled with remorse, which inevitably leads to guilt – guilt that can completely shatter my confidence as a parent and send me into a downward spiral of self-loathing.
Tears and anger, they are both a manifestation of emotion, something inside of us that needs to be released. Anger is the uglier of the two. Anger is unproductive. It doesn’t release emotion but merely builds it into something bigger and more difficult to deal with. So I am learning to be a crier. Crying is a gift. There is something in the tears. The more there are, the better I feel. It amazes me that I can sob about something and feel like I might never stop or know how it will every get better. But eventually I do stop. Even though the problem might still be there, somehow it seems smaller.
I choose to be a crier. Crying makes me a better parent and makes me a healthier person. It’s still not something that comes naturally to me, but I’m getting there.