Danielle Slaughter's piece on the Huffington Post blog recently had me nodding in recognition - your toddler calls you the Hulk (ok, not necessarily the Hulk - but in this case) and your first response is - "What? Gentle, sweet, lovable me?" And then you think, "Yeah, you've seen my Hulk moments..." Danielle writes:
I was so caught up in my sadness about him seeing me as angry that I did not think of the bigger picture. Sure, I do not yell at him often, but he does see me yell at the television. He's seen me break down in a rage over the media's portrayal of #BlackLivesMatter and police brutality. He's seen me weeping while listening to the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Tamir Rice, and Michael Brown. I know he's overheard me discussing gun control and mass shootings with my husband because he's asked me about it later...I'm OK with my son knowing that Mommy has emotions and they are not always the happy kind. Hopefully, [he] sees messy emotions in the same way he sees our messy living room -- a place that we clean up after we've let it all out.
Teaching kids a bit about what to do with messy, strong emotions is a far better goal than hiding the fact that they exist - or pretending that they shouldn't. It isn't easy, but it is a lot more empowering.