One of those weeks...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

It has just been one of those parenting weeks over here.  In exasperated sobs last night I recounted all of the ways in which I feel like I've failed this week as a Mum to B.  Each day, at least one child has had what we call over here "A Hard Day:" the kind of day that is just ceaseless whining and unhappiness, no matter what happens.

One of the kids' favorite read alouds is My No No No Day by Rebecca Patterson because it so honestly recounts what a 'Hard Day' looks like.  We love at the end the poor Mom (who looks so exhausted as soon early as breakfast) explains to Bella that everyone gets hard days sometimes but perhaps tomorrow she'll be more cheerful.  Spoiler alert:  tomorrow she is!

The thing is, this week, when one child has a more cheerful tomorrow, the other is having a 'Hard Day.'  Yesterday was this poor, exhausted (23 week pregnant!) Mum's tipping point.  We were on our way to the playground when a battle of epic screaming erupted in the backseat that Gem wanted her window down and Grey wanted all the windows up.  We talk a lot about compromises so Gem and I got to keep our windows down (as it was 80 degrees outside) and Grey would get Daddy's jacket to cover up with.  Oh Hell No.  That was just not going to fly with my normally very sweet, mature for his age, blessed son.

As he furiously belt out scream after scream of "Gemmi's window up!" I pulled over to the side of the road and told him I would wait to go to the playground until he calmed down.  Calm down, he did not.  And after about five minutes of honestly contemplating what kind of crap mother has a child who endlessly screams about something so ridiculous, I broke.  We TURNED AROUND AND WENT HOME.  I was not having that shit, my friends.

Grey screamed more and louder upon realizing we were no longer going to the playground while Gem asked confused, 'playground, mumma?'  I got them both in the house, Grey threw himself on the floor in a total tantrum in the dining room while I held Gem and told her she was being such a good girl and that maybe we could go to the playground later after we all try our best.

Gem got the ipad and I took Grey up to his bed and laid down beside him and rubbed his back while he continued to scream, and then cry, and then whine, and then looked up and said, "Happy now."

This did not make me feel better.  As we continued our day post meltdown at 10:30am - a WHOLE DAY LEFT TO GO (!) my mind wheeled with possible reasons of why my kids were having such hard days this week.

that's peanut butter all over them.
Why I was such a poor excuse for a mother, apparently, as my kids were having so much trouble behaving like anything other than rabid, feral animals.

Maybe I'm too lenient?
Maybe I'm too harsh?

Maybe I don't play enough with them?
Maybe they don't play enough independently?

Maybe I'm yelling too much?
Maybe they need to be more afraid of me; yell more!  louder!?

Maybe I'm not meeting their needs for attention?  love?  holding them?  alone time?
Maybe I'm not taking good enough care of myself and I'm overly tired?  stressed?

Maybe they need more stimulation; toys?  trips out of the house?
Maybe they are too spoiled and expect to just get everything.  Go outside & play in the dirt like I did, children?!

When recounting all of this to Brandon he responded, "You're a great Mom.  Why can't you just chalk it up to a shit week instead of second guessing everything you do?"

Well, wouldn't that be a concept...but tis not the ways of Mommas, amirite?

I read an article yesterday too that contributed to my mom guilt spiral of despair about a woman who left her child in the car to run into the store for 5 minutes.  I read it first because I related, I've done that; left my kids in the car to run into the post office or the local deli for milk.  I know that it's wrong (even though I myself was left in the car many times, once even my sister and I put the car in reverse and we drifted down the parking lot a ways until popping it back into park; trying to pretend like the car hadn't moved at all when our Mom came out and gave us a good talking to - sorry Mum!  Kayla did it!), but I've still left them in the car because of a trillion contributing factors of the day that led up to that moment.  Just like every single bad or great decision I make as a Mum, it comes down to assessing the risk/benefit and deciding how to get our entire family through any one thing as best as possible at any given time.

The thing that struck a nerve about this article was not that she made an bad impulse choice as a mom in the heat of the moment...but because a bystander videotaped the scene from the parking lot. If the bystander thought the child was in danger - you'd think they would have spoken to the mom, certainly embarrassed her and everyone's day would have moved on.  But the bystander called the police.  long story short, the mom was arrested, taken to court for endangering a minor and received 100 hours of community service and parenting classes.  She was told to confess that she had a "lapse in judgement" and it was 'not worth losing her kid over' to fight it.

'A lapse in judgement' basically describes most of my entire day parenting two little humans:  my kids play outside by themselves, they buzz each other's hair with clippers unsupervised, and sit on countertops regularly.  I'm just trying to do my best and figure it out over here - as I imagine most moms are.  I understand that people want children to be safe, but shouldn't the first response be to speak to the adult?  I'm pretty sure that no one is constantly beating themselves up about every single parenting choices more than Mom.  Socially shaming on facebook or involving the legal system seem like the least effective ways to help Moms make better choices.

So I spent part of the day yesterday also stressing about the fact that not only do I have to worry about things like natural disasters, car accidents, disease, bullies, and strangers that want to kidnap or harm my children - I now need to add to the list, "good Samaritans' who call the cops on me behind my back for what they deem poor parenting choices that could potentially land me in jail or lose my kids.

--sorry if this sounds like a rant.  It's not.  It's more like a 'why do we do this to each other' question out into the world of parents.  why can't we try to support each other instead of making parenting a full contact competition?

If you want to help kids, here are some great sites that can help you do that today:
Feeding America
Adopt US Kids
Starbright Foundation
Children of Fallen Soldiers
Boys & Girls Club of America
Save the Children/Syria
Nothing But Nets
Global Giving - The Girl Effect

Anyway, the good news is that today appears to have at least started better.  Kids are already outside, attempting to entice bunnies with carrots tied to string and we have a playdate with our best friends this afternoon, followed by dinner & a meeting with The Hunting Daddies crew.  Plus, this weekend is our annual Grandmas & Kids to NYC trip.  I mean, we really only have up to go from here, right?


  1. So happy to read that you, too have whiny days where 10:30 feels like it should be 5:30 and whyisntitbedtime??? :) I guess it's true... misery loves company!
    Wyatt's transition to Washington has looked like one big, two-week-long tantrum. Pretty awesome. (not that awesome!) Each day, I'm just trying to love him through it and survive the day.
    I hope your trip to NYC is super fun!!!
    PS- I want to know what names you're considering for Baby #3... Genevieve? Gretchen? Gillian? :) I'm a name person.

    1. thanks Shelly! I hope your wyatt is doing better now with transitioning. we seem to be getting back on track here, thank goodness. so glad that No No No WEEK is over! hahha.

      In terms of baby names:) :) :) the G names were an accidental coincedence with Grey and Gem (!) and although I love many of the G names you suggested - we seem to be leaning towards a J name for our new babe. Shares a sound though with G - hahha. so random. it's not really a secret, but we're not really saying it outright either. You have full permission to speculate :)

  2. I read that article too, and sat here with the same feelings of how "that could have been me." Although I haven't left him the in the car, I've thought about it while running quickly into the convenience store. PS - My kid screamed for an entire 20 minutes because I wouldn't let him eat mud. You're not alone. :) XOXO

    1. hahha, the things they scream and cry about. honestly.
      thank you xxoxx

  3. My Mom (who has Alzheimer's) reminded me that other day of the time my son threw himself down in the middle of Riverside and screamed and cried. We couldn't even pick him up because, every time we tried, he'd go limp. He and Grey were probably about the same age. He survived, I survived, and we have a memory that we will never forget!! You are a good Momma. The only difference between us and children is that they have no filters and can express themselves. It isn't appropriate for us... so we get ulcers!!


  4. Oh bless your (our) hearts. Can I just say it's been tiring over here. Oliver is not sleeping well at night and I have moments (many) of questioning what the heck I'm doing and you've actually popped into my head of like, "she's got it going on." So, take that and I'll take that you have hard days too. Solidarity, mamas!!!

  5. I read a quote that said "Be Kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle". Mamas fight the hardest of all everyday and yet are meant to feel guilty for admitting it. I, myself, find it comforting to know that other Mamas are feeling the same as me. :)

  6. Tabitha, I think I had the same week just recently! Except our meltdown happened while leaving the playground (nothing like a group of parents listening to you tell your 3 year old that she could get in the car or stay at the playground by herself to make yourself ask all those questions!) it ended with crying to my husband that everyone would be happier if I went back to work. His response was similar to your husband's.

    It helps when we share the bad stories, too :)

    1. thanks for sharing, Emily. meltdowns in public are the worst. seriously. there's just no good way to get out of those. Sending love your way. You are right that sharing the bad stories help too. no good comes from pretending like everything is perfect all the time xxox