There are times, as a parent, when I feel like I’m doing a good job, and I happily give myself an A.
Great Work, Laura
Child spills milk all over the table when I am about to finally sit down. “It’s OK. Here is a rag.”
Mind says: You stayed calm. No big deal. Good. See, you are even teaching him to be self-sufficient. I smile beneficently at the child, who is mostly wiping the milk into a larger mess, and patiently think that I will wipe it again when he’s not looking.
At a friend’s house, child throws a Hot Wheel, yelling, “No! Buses can’t be in races!” Cringing with embarrassment, I call him over and quietly say, “You cannot throw toys and yell at your friend. It is OK to say you feel angry, or to decide not to play together.”
Mind says: Look, he is listening and has calmed down. It must be because you handled that right. I watch with satisfaction as the child changes tack and picks up a different toy to join his friend.
But then…then there are just times when it doesn’t go right, and it’s like I am watching myself act totally irrational from some external space. Or when I find myself mystified by my children’s inability to follow directions or take responsibility for finding their possessions. And there are these specific times when it’s practically guaranteed that things are not going to go down well:
- Getting ready for school
- Getting ready for the gym
- Getting ready for a trip
- Getting ready for church
- Getting ready to go to out-of-home work events
- Getting ready to go to a social event
- Getting ready to go anywhere else
- Driving in the car to or from anywhere
- Arriving home from anywhere
- Any time I am trying to accomplish a task that does not involve my children but which they are present for
Apparently I am the best parent ever when I am not trying to go anywhere or do anything. However, as a chronic multitasker who also must live in reality, that’s just not most of the time.
I must try to appreciate those As I gave myself, to make up for all of the times I have been trying to mop on my hands and knees, followed around by a toddler with dirty feet who won’t stop falling down on the wet floor and crying, and so I ended up barking a bad word as he hit the tile for the fourth time. Is this one of those weighted GPA scenarios, where the patient milk spill incident actually weighed more than the time I yelled, “Why won’t you listen??”
Live for the As. Live for the As. Hope that the kids remember those moments too. They will remember those moments too, right?