Today, I failed.
Not a gigantic, earth-shaking, end-it-all failure, but still…I failed.
At least, that’s what keeps ringing in my head, & I need to get it off my chest.
My beautiful toddler & I were having some rowdy fun before dinner, & she bit me, HARD, on my chest, after multiple times of being told not to bite. The kind of bite that pinches the smallest amount of skin possible & leaves a painful stinging long afterward. And I reacted by smacking her well-diapered backside.
I’m sure that parents who spank would see this as appropriate, but since we have moved away from spanking (or trying, obviously), it’s been weighing heavily on my mind even so many hours later.
I guess what I find more upsetting than the fact that I swatted her is that I did it so easily. She hurt me, & my immediate reaction was to hurt her back. I’m swamped with guilt.
Even though I immediately apologized to her as she sat on the floor at my feet, holding her bottom, silently staring at me, eyes filled with accusing betrayal, the guilt remains. Even though she willingly wrapped her arms around me after & said that, yes, she forgave me, I am nagged by my sense of failure.
It was too easy to spank her. Why was it so easy???
When the issue of discipline first arose, we spanked. Our parents did it. Everyone else does it (so we thought). Why shouldn’t we?
But then, every time my little girl sensed even the slightest hint of displeasure directed toward her, she would frantically cover her bottom & plead, with tears in her eyes, “Don’t hurt me!” What??? Why would she think I would hurt her???
Of course, getting hit as punishment hurts. I know this. I was spanked. Then & there, I swore I’d never do anything again to make my daughter fear my anger. I do not want hands that hurt.
But today, I failed. I struck her, even though her diaper covered her, even though my hand barely noted the sting. I hit her. And I’m so ashamed of myself.
It took months after deciding to stop spanking before the little light of my life stopped cowering in fear when she required discipline. Months to rebuild the trust between us. The truth that I will never harm her, even temporarily.
I fear how today may have set us back. I can only hope that my immediate apology & love is enough to negate any damage I’ve done.
For many people, my concern seems silly, I know. But for me, it is paramount. I remember being so young & fearing being struck. I remember hiding innocent, silly things in attempts to avoid spankings that, now as an adult, I realize would never have been given. The young mind doesn’t focus on WHY they’re being spanked, it only focuses on the fact that it is being hurt. The child only knows that they have displeased their beloved parent & is being hit. She only knows that she is sad & crying.
I know. I was spanked. And today, after so many months of controlling myself, I spanked my daughter.
And I’m sad & angry & disappointed in myself.
I failed today…& I’m so sorry.
I promise, I will try harder. I will do better. I will not spank again.