One thing I find fascinating about parenting — when I have the time reflect on my life — is how often I vacillate between thinking I’m doing a good job as a parent and being convinced that I suck at the job and am really messing up these poor young souls who have to deal with my “stuff” on a daily basis.
You know what I mean. You just counseled your child on a tough situation at school, you helped them with some homework just to hear an “oh, yeah, now I get it. you should be my teacher!” or you just knew when a cuddle or a kiss on the forehead would be most appreciated. Or, as they get older, you give them a really positive affirmation in front of their friends or your kind words to their friends include them rather than compare them.
That’s the good.
Then there are the times when things don’t flow so smoothly and, in my case, I can get loud and upset. I’m not thrilled when I do this and, of course, I do my damnedest to never get into that situation in the first place, but let’s face it, our children have had years to learn how we tick and they can pluck those strings like a maestro, even when they’re young ‘uns.
This morning was one of those when it just wasn’t pretty to watch. It’s been even more stressful in our little universe than usual in the last few weeks, school problems, peer issues, the impact and skewed schedule of the great flood, and just general mayhem. And I’m not immune, with pressures and anxieties of my own.
This morning, however, my son G- was particularly rude and disrespectful even as I was sharing some positive comments about his friends and was actually putting his friend’s bike on our bike rack prior to us leaving for school. I lost it and swore at him about being ungrateful. Adding to the adventure, I had to leave my 9yo K- on the couch, miserable, sick and unable to go to school because my older daughter A-, 16, had an unbreakable appointment this morning too.
Was I up to (indicates top of forehead) “here” with frustration and my occasionally deep desire to have someone else helping out? Oh heck yeah. But it’s just me, flying solo with my three.
So my little one’s sick, my teen son is in tears telling me how mean I am, and my older girl is driving (which is cool) and telling me that her brother’s right and I shouldn’t yell at them regardless of what the situation (not so cool).
Me? I’m fuming even as I’m also trying to bring the tension down, listening and inviting their feedback as an internal filter in my brain is going through it for any nuggets that might be true. And of course they’re right, there’s never any cause to yell at children or get mad. Except for this one annoying little thing: us parents are humans too, and as such we are fallible, prone to making poor decisions and, while we’re trying our best in often difficult situations, we aren’t always hitting that perfect note with just the right comments and actions.
All I have is my ability to apologize and try to do better next time, and that’s what I ultimately did, but not before he stormed out of the car, forgetting his lunch, and swearing he’s going to just live with his Mom forever. Then A- got upset with me over yet something else as the morning proceeded.
It’s like this morning, I just couldn’t win for trying. Incredible.
Finally, I just said “ah hell. I just want a redo. I just want to get back in bed, get out of bed again, and just redo the entire morning, cause it sure didn’t go well as is.”
Now where’s that “reset” button?