Low Moments of Parenthood

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.


The Cracked Commode

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.

9 responses to “Low Moments of Parenthood

  1. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Love all your comments and honest stories. I’ll keep admitting mine if you keep admitting yours!

  2. What’s more disturbing is that you’re in a house with 4 boys and you don’t have slow-close toilet seats!

  3. Well, you know mine not-so-proud parenting moment when Mr. E. was trailing along behind me and he called out “Wait for me asshole!” I was shocked and told him calmly that isn’t a very nice word and we shouldn’t really call people by that name. “What that mean?” he asked innocently. 45 minutes later, frustrated at being stuck in traffic and late to drop him off at preschool, I heard myself calling an uncooperative driver in front of me the same thing. Oh well, we can’t be perfect all of the time–right?!!

  4. Been there, too. My two boys apparently can’t hear me when they are fighting, which, sadly, is much of the time. One day, as I lost patience with incessantly taunting/hitting/kicking/screaming kids, my volume rose to the Megaphone Mom level. I was frustrated at not being able to keep them from hurting each other and trying to be heard above their noise. But somewhere in my mind I was aware that I had become unhinged as I bellowed at them to stop it and be nice to each other.

    The next day, I thought I was getting sick because my throat was sore. I realized later in the day I wasn’t sick. I had yelled loud enough to hurt my throat.

    Way to teach the kids how to be polite and nice to each other!

  5. I think we can all relate to those moments. Every time I have one (which is, sadly, more often than I’d like to admit), I try and think of a time my mother had the same type of outburst. I can’t remember any…but I’m sure she did. I’m hoping that all of the wonderful times I have with my kids outshine the times when I’m a big, unreasonable baby in their memories, too. Oh, and sorry about the toilet! Ouch!

  6. Who can’t relate? I was not so nice this morning when Annabel was complaining about only having the choice of Elmo underwear (that’s for little kids!) and princess underwear (not so pristine and white anymore). I called her a name I’m not proud of and I’ve been beating myself up about it all day. The poor kid learns all about how bad bullying is at school and then has to deal with a bully at home!

  7. Kristen Grode

    This is why I love you Brooke! I can totally see myself doing this! So funny and honest! I wish all moms would collectively agree to be truthful about their families’ imperfections and we could comfort each other. Rather, there’s this competitive vibe between moms that drives me nuts! Thank you for sharing!

  8. At least some good came out of it – the boys and I have a new game of trying to see who can pee through the new opening in the toilet!


  9. Erica Schon Pollak

    Too funny Brooke……we’ve all been there…….not to worry……and, most likely, it won’t be the last time either !!!