This is a hard job I’ve taken on. Some days it’s damn near impossible. Monday was one of the worst. I was awful to the kids, I yelled, they cried, they yelled, they fought… I descended to that horrible place that will (I hope) sound familiar to most parents where I argued with a three-year-old child and I really, really wanted to win. It’s easy to see how ridiculous that seems now but in the moment, when we’re both mad, and I’m forgetting my deep breaths and big-picture thinking, it’s all too easy to be mean and scary.
In a fit of three-way frustration, Malli let out an angry yell and I echoed it right back. His eyes widened. His face fell. His mouth turned down at the corners and opened into a frightened, sad cry. He looked down and leaned forward and bumped his forehead against my chest. This poor little guy had to seek comfort from the person who had just scared him. I suddenly saw how hard it is to be a kid, too. I can’t stand that I yelled at him; that I scared him. I hope I’ll remember this the next time I get so mad I could scream.
Mother’s guilt is like no other. I’ve been petting them and kissing them in their sleep for two days to try to make up for it.
Things I need to keep in mind:
- If they only want cookies for lunch it really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t happen every day.
- If, after I’ve given in and decided to let them watch a movie, they complain and want a different movie, it doesn’t matter. Switch the movie and move on. This is not the time to try to teach them to be grateful.
- If Akka really really wants to add water to the uncooked rice and uncooked lentils that she’s “cooking,” just let her. It doesn’t make the clean-up any worse (or any better).
- It’s ok if they want to have a tea party with real (herbal) tea. It’s ok if they get wet. They have lots of dry clothes upstairs.
- The pens that don’t wash out should always be out of reach.
- If we set out for the park in the snow but we don’t make it to the park and we have to return home in tears with cold hands and feet it doesn’t mean I’m a bad mother or they’re rotten kids. It just means that’s how we spent the morning.
- Poo on the carpet is never ok. I’m not going to try to sugar-coat that one. Pee accidents when you’re on the way to the toilet are not a big deal. Again, we have lots of dry clothes upstairs.
- Some days are like that.
Sigh. Today was much better. The sun was out. Sun helps. We bundled up and successfully walked to the nearest tree lot to buy a wee tree and wheeled it back home to be decorated: