Raising kids is the best job in the world, right? How about the parts that aren’t so rosy? I had a rock bottom behavior incident with my kids recently that brought out all my worst traits.
I’m risking humiliation and scorn in sharing it with you to open a dialogue and maybe even laugh about those inevitable low moments in parenting, when you’re glad you can’t get fired from the job.
I’m not—and have never been—a morning person, so the school prep routine is always a challenging time for our family. Wilson gets up and does his thing and walks 8-year-old Aden to school most mornings. But the bulk of the grooming, feeding, cleaning, and lunch-making duties for my boys (ages 6, 8 and 12) are up to me.
As you may have noticed, I watch a load of TV. But keeping up with the bountiful shows in our repertoire often keeps us up late. It’s not unusual for me to slip into REM on the couch and instead of going to bed, pushing through to my third wind to sneak in another episode of “Mad Men” or “How I Met Your Mother.”
But my passion for programs bites me in the ass when I have to get up at 7am to get the kids off to school. Although I know better, I don’t make lunches the night before, nor do I go through the backpacks as thoroughly as I should when the kids get home. So our mornings are always chaotic, rushed, and loud.
On one recent morning when 12-year-old picky Jacob was making sassy complaints about the lack of lunch options at Carpool Candy Café, I started to lose patience. The next 20 minutes before I pushed them out the door with my ranting and raving is a bit of a blur. I’m pretty sure someone spilled juice, two of them avoiding taking their vitamins, and one asked me to sign a permission slip without time to read the fine print.
What I do remember is being blindingly angry. The potential for bad behavior was as high as my blood pressure, so I stomped dramatically upstairs and into my room to try to breathe through the aggravation. Poor Wilson was caught on my warpath as I started screaming at him about the unmitigated gall of our ungrateful and smart-mouthed children. Not knowing the first thing to do to calm me down when I’m in this state, he stared at me wide-eyed as I blew past him into the bathroom.
At that moment I needed to show the world how furious I was about the injustice of a spurned salami sandwich. With gleaming eyes and heaving breath, I looked frantically around for a place to sit and brood, and spied the toilet. All my rage and frustration came to a head (so to speak) as I slammed the toilet lid down with all my mommy strength.
Imagine my horror when it broke in half! I burst into tears as I realized my ironically childish lack of control caused me to damage the toilet. It was not only embarrassing, but created an annoying and expensive errand to fix.
How’s that for low?
Wilson– either understanding and forgiving or too scared to make it worse– told me it was all ok. The kids had already moved on and when I saw them after school, they had no memory of the crime.
I, however, am reminded of how quickly and easily I can lose it over inconsequential things… every time I have to pee.
This is only one in a series of low moments in my parenting journey. Can you top a cracked can? Please share your embarrassing stories in the comments.