- (Earlier this week)…
- This morning after I kissed my children as they ran for the bus, I called after them, “make good choices”!
- I ran upstairs to watch them cross the street. Safely climbing aboard the bus I still watched, perched from my window, as the blinking lights of the school bus stopped and it slowly drove away.
- Finally, exhausted from all the morning madness, I plopped back down on my bed to take a few deep breaths…when I heard something awful.
There was screaming coming from the park. Jumping out of bed to look out the window, I notice other children were waiting for the next bus for a different school, and I see none of them in a scuffle, all in a huddle with their other teen friends, and younger ones lined up waiting patiently. Where was that noise I had heard coming from? Then, out of the park came a young mother pushing a stroller, hair stuck to her face and her body tight with anger. She screamed again, very upset at her young child who was dragging his feet towards her. “C’mon, I’ve had it with you!”. He started crying. She stamped one foot and meanly with teeth gritted said, “and stop crying already!”. She started crossing the street and he chased after her whimpering, “waaait!”, and she whipped her head back at him and says way too loudly, “SHUT UP!”.
Oh man. I was so sad for that child. That poor crying child whose mother had lost all patience and control.
Who knows what happened before I came on to the scene perched there in my window?
Suddenly, my heart ached not for the child but for the mother. That poor, poor mother. Stressed and angry at her possibly willful child.
How many times have I raised my voice at a child for jelly-legs or whining for no apparent reason? Many. I wonder how many voyeurs tsk-tsked as I passed them in the market or out of the playground. Sure, there are lots of excuses, and this is probable the 300 millionth blogger-mom writing in to say, exhaustion is the main cause of irritability.
- we don’t eat proper meals
- we don’t sleep enough
- we worry ALL the time
- some of us “exercise”
It’s a problem, we acknowledge it and ignore it because there are life-hacks and we try to cut corners. How do we deal? Mostly by complaining in what used to be called a chat room, but has recently turned into a Facebook group entitled “Tired Angry Mamas” or “My Kids Are Killing Me” or something less obnoxious like “Under-appreciated Mom Thread”.
What are we doing? Why turn to social media and complain about our “rotten-behaving toddler”? Why scream out in the middle of a public area, in front of other children? No one cares about feelings or reputation anymore. It’s sad. We need positive role models for behaving like good parents so that our children will learn how to behave from us.
I’m not belittling any one and the issues that they are dealing with, you’re right. I don’t know you. I don’t what you’re going through. What I do know is that I have been that frustrated, exhausted mom. I have been so angry at the lack of money or time or sleep or patience that has led me to act like a moron. However, we need to change.
We can’t all pay for weekly therapy sessions and while misery loves company these groups on social media are a band-aid on the real issues. But we can take stock of what are the core issues we suffer from and finding out ways to really make a change. Honestly, your 6-year-old will still freak out if you take him/her though the candy aisle even if you preface, mommy NEEDS her 5 lb bag of M&M’s, and no, they may not choose just.one.thing. Because unless its absolutely necessary, never take your kids food shopping with you. Problem solved. Its money well-spent to get a sitter rather than fight the fight of a child who whines through every aisle but the fruit and veg section.
Think of every situation through their eyes. It’s okay to say no. It hurts to have to say I’m sorry. Let’s be better than that poor woman or sad child of yesterday. I want to leave for work every day feeling like my children were happy to go off to school. (Well, as happy as anyone is really, I mean, seriously – it’s school)!
I want my children to reflect on their childhood and NOT have hated me as a teenagers. I want them to already see that I was generous with my time, and paid attention to their needs and didn’t look like a dish-rag at the end of a day. I want them to see that even though they may upset me, I chose my words carefully. Without bitterness. With love.
Aah, yes, reading the same paragraph over and over. I really hate that and yet – it happens way too often, but such is the plight of mothers the world over.
As much as I am truly enjoying the book I am currently attempting to read – it never fails that someone or something needs my attention and I am forever going back over the same paragraph and sometimes even the same sentence. Generally I am a fan of repetition. I think it provides a better understanding of whatever needs repeating. The only way to get better at anything is to go over it again and again.
Everyone knows that practice makes perfect. That’s why I don’t get upset when I am on a ‘diet’ and I eat a cookie or some french fries when there is a perfectly good peach or almond nearby. No matter how many times I begin my ‘diet’ I know myself better – but I also know I am willing to make a change, I am willing to try again and again and NOT beat myself up over it.
When Chubby was a young girl she was forced to take piano lessons. She hated practicing her scales and even though she knew it sounded lovely when all the right notes were hit, it pained her to practice. Until one day, her fingers flew over the notes so quickly that she was very pleased with the sounds she could make. The notes would reach the second floor of the house, smooth and melodious. Today Chubby knows that the reason she can type ‘fast’ is because her fingers glide over the keyboard as they once did over the ivories.
We need to take lessons from our past and be able to apply them to our future.
There are a few times in my life (so far) that I can point to and have that a-ha moment. I used to get upset at my mother if she gave me the finger – no not that one – the other one. The one that says, I know you are so impatient but you must wait until I am ready. Knowing that what I had to tell her was infinitesimally more important than whatever she was reading it would be excruciatingly painful to wait as I watched her eyes go from left to right over the pages of her book with the sad lady on the cover. You know the one, the lady with luxurious long fire-y red hair, her dress semi-exposing her ample bosom and a muscular looking male staring intently in her direction. What I failed to realize was that it was HER time, she was lost in another world and she KNEW, just always knew, that whatever I had to absolutely tell her immediately before my head exploded, could actually wait.
It was true most of the time.
I needed a pack of tissues. I couldn’t find my watch. I wanted to go to my friend’s house. I was hungry. I was itchy. I was tired. I needed her to test me on my spelling words…and so on and so on.
Now, as a mother – though I crave those few seconds I get to read – I always put the book down and never give my kids the finger. I may ask them to wait a minute – but in their world, I know how hard that is to do. Did I learn a lesson in patience ? Not then, no way no how. I learned adults can be mean (as seen from a 10-year-old’s perspective). What I really walked away with? I learned that not everything I say is as important to everyone that can hear me, I learned restraint.
Some of my Facebook friends may disagree with me, but then if you were not interested in reading what I had to say – why are we friends to begin with? At least half of those times, I walked away saying, “never mind, it doesn’t matter”. It did matter to me but clearly I got over it, *cough.
So even though it pains me to read the same paragraph over and over it would pain me more to think that my children thought I didn’t put them above everything else.