Wednesday, March 28, 2007

As real as it gets...

Since Melissa opted to tag whoever wanted to be tagged, I'm choosing to take the tag and run.


Sometimes, real moms freak the hell out.

It can happen when the kids are loudly bickering over nothingness - Mom, he's TALKING to me - in the back of the car while you're rushing to get to a job that you don't really want to have but need to have and are already running later than you should be for the schedule you are supposed to keep, and you just snap, shouting the dreaded and forbidden "shut up" at the windshield. This incident usually follows a lack of sleep, too, usually many nights lacking in sleep, in fact. You then quickly take some deep breaths and calmly explain the need for some semblance of peace within the confines of the car while driving so that momma won't test her ability to become the Gravedigger of paved roads.

Often, real moms doubt how good a mother they really are.

When you get a report from daycare that he's telling others, kids and teachers, to "shut up", you immediately remember the guilt from those infrequent yet emotionally-charged outbursts. What have you taught him? And, now they've written him up for hitting one teacher and kicking another. Why is he so angry? You don't know, but you haven't hidden your emotions from him, so he's seen you happy, sad, frustrated, excited, concerned, worried, scared...those times of frustration could have been viewed as angry. But, hitting and kicking? Maybe. It doesn't help that the director is speaking to you as if he's a virus. "We often see this type of behavior spread from one kid to the next to the next." Or when she insists that this defiant attitude has become increasingly common for him, even though you haven't heard but of that one other "shut up" incident a month ago. Then you leave, nearly in tears because you don't know why he's acting out like this at school but can't help but feel blamed. He's not perfect, you can admit that, but he isn't by any means vicious or frequently disobedient at home. They have no information for you. No pattern for the behavior, no suggestions as to what you can do to help them, just a tone of your kid being so awful they sometimes can't handle him. But, you know he's not awful. You are his mom and remember all the other times anything has been written about him. You identify a likely trigger. Back when he was biting other kids, every incident resulted from a scuffle over a toy. The "shut up" back talk from last month? That began with the desire for a specific toy, too. This one as well, although no one bothered to document that aspect on the report. Going only by the information written on the report, he's just a little, mean bully. You only know why he got so upset because you asked. So, you go back the next day and let the director know that it seems that his frustration stems from toy-sharing and describe how sharing is approached at home, by counting to have a turn with the toy. They'll think about doing something like that, maybe with a timer. You're now also finding it a bit odd that these last three - because there was another incident yesterday - "aggressive behavior" reports all came from the afternoon teachers. Hopefully the consistent lectures about being respectful to others will encourage him enough that you'll never have to question whether or not some of his teachers a part of the problem. The constant nagging to be a better mother will remain regardless, but that is good. You can always be better.

Always, real moms need to accept that while they are not and can never be perfect, they are great moms.

You may freak the hell out sometimes and doubt how good a mother you really are often, but the proof you're doing okay comes when complete strangers approach your table at Panera and comment on what a pleasure those boys are, when the people in line with you at the grocery store remark how they have never seen such well-behaved children, when the lady at FedEx says frankly, "You're a great mom," supposedly because you managed to convince two toddlers to stop climbing on top of the table to destroy the blinds without yelling or crying or sitting on top of them despite the fact it is almost 7 o'clock at night on a weekday and none of us have had dinner yet. Even with all the onlookers expressing their awe and envy for both you and your children, it's the laughter, the hugs, the kisses, the hand-holding, the pictures specially drawn and colored, the treats shared, and most simply the smiles with sparkles in their eyes as they look into your eyes, dousing you with a wash of greatness and immediately calming your stresses while squashing your fears of inadequacy with a lead foot, that allow you to accept the imperfections of being a real mom.

11 comments:

heather said...

yep, the secret to being a good mom is to use those outbursts wisely, it's called putting the fear of mom in them! lol i know what you mean though. i've had a few of those moments. i've managed to train myself to 'yell you need to be quiet for 5 freaking minutes so i can chill, do you understand me?' this sounds great at the top of your lungs and allows for the release of a lot of pent up frustrations lol :-)

Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

heather - I figure as long as the outbursts aren't the norm, then they'll realize that those times when they do occur are when they really need to pay attention. That little bit of shock and fear combined with follow-through on threats of timeouts and taking away toys should go a long way;>

k8 said...

MY kids are perfect! HA!! that's a good one. they got sent home from Christian school twice in the first week.

Emily Snipes said...

Outbursts happen. Even in the most well-behaved kids. I loose it occasionally. And it seems to get my son's attention. I threaten too much though...if you don't...I'm going to take away...they are almost useless now.

fringes said...

You're not perfect, either? My world, my world...is getting better all the time!

Great post.

Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

k8 - At least we can conceive of the possibity that our children aren't actually perfect angels. My vow is to never be one of the parents that give teachers a hard time because that just couldn't be my child doing whatever ill-advised behavior they've been accused of. But, then sometimes kids do get mistreated by teachers, so it's all a major judgement call that makes me want to cry;>

emily snipes - That is one thing I've taken away from nearly every piece of literature on disciplining effectively, never make a threat you can't or won't fulfill, so I try very hard to stick to it. Sometimes it will take a few times of my threatening to do something before I have the heart to do it (like take away the toy), but I do. I hope that part will just get easier, but I'm almost certain it won't. Good luck to us all;>

Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

fringes - Welcome to the real world of imperfection in motherhood;> I just read your superhero post...I'll be by shortly to comment.

Melissa said...

Hey, I'm not perfect, too! Thank goodness.

Sometimes three-year-olds will be three-year-olds, even at school. :)

Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

melissa - Exactly. Being not perfect is what makes us great;>

Dixie said...

Who doesn't have outursts??

I'm *ahem* 29 *ahem* and I still have them!

Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

dixie - You're human, too?!? Awesome;>