Wednesday, January 29, 2014

When Mom Loses It




Met my new nephew Parker for this first time.  He sat so peacefully in the arms of his mama, my sister-in-law Heather.


Love, love the cheeks!


Have to explain this photo!  Salmon was served for dinner the other night.  Caleb made his displeasure known.  Chris finally offered him a deal: he didn't have to eat his salmon if he ran out to get the mail (mailbox is not very far) in the outfit he wore to dinner.  (Yes folk, he was shirtless, clad in shorts for dinner....in freezing temps.)  Caleb took Door #2 and ran outside to get the mail in his barely-there attire.  Although it was juvenile and a stunt worthy of a fraternity house, it was very funny for the whole family (even Caleb)!  We all stood by the door and cheered him on.  Connor decided to capture the moment with this (blurry) cell phone shot.

I loathe those breakfast cereal commercials.  The ones where a crew of perfectly coiffed, finely dressed children sit in a bright kitchen.  A nutritious breakfast spread garnishes the dining room table.  Nicely assembled backpacks sit in the ready by the door.  The parents, clad in sporty attire, seem chirpy and relaxed.  They appear to roll through the morning without a hitch, easy peasy.

My mornings look little like those commercials.  

Many mornings, I'm lighting a fire under my children's backsides to move out the door...dressed, cleaned, fed, and prepared.  And my one and only goal in the morning is to look less like the before picture on a makeover magazine spread.

It really takes just one child to spiral a morning from perfect to poor.  This morning it was my five year old's turn.    He's usually a doll, a pleaser by nature.  But this morning, he rolled off the wrong side of his Batman bed.  Everything was wrong, nothing was right, and he wasn't afraid to let me know.

It started with a squabble over appropriate school attire for frigid weather.  He leaned towards a beachy short-sleeve shirt; I pushed for a long-sleeve, insulated one.  We compromised; he wore both.  Although he looked a bit like the Michelin man, he was happy (and warm).

Then came hair drama.  I combed and styled his hair in the most adorable do.  He took one look at his reflection and fell into hysterics.  What had I done to his hair?, he wailed. What on Earth was wrong with his just-rolled-out-of-bed, don't-own-a-comb look?, he sobbed (not exact words, but identical meaning!).  He pulled on a hat and refused to take it off.  I was starting to lose steam and agreed to the hat (let the preschool teacher tackle that one!).

I ushered the boys into the minivan and my five year old howled.  Another brother was in his seat.  HIS SEAT.  He immediately started his one boy "stand-in" crusade.  He refused to sit down anywhere else but HIS SEAT.

I lost it.  I shrieked, "Find a seat, now!"  (Raised voice.  Mean mom look.  Exclamation point.  Exclamation point.)  The car fell into a hush.  Five year old burst into tears.  I felt like crying too.

That's when Cooper, my fiery, spirited son, jumped into action.  He hopped out of his seat and offered his little brother his spot.  As sweet as his gesture was, it perhaps made me feel all the worse.  When Cooper is the level-headed, voice of reason in the vehicle, warning bells should be ringing.

Five year old entered his preschool classroom just fine, clad in his hat and two shirts.  I walked back to the car a bit dejected pondering how our morning derailed so greatly.

Raising my voice worked, but surely there was a better way to encourage morning harmony and efficiency.  I thought about all the times I preached to my children the merits of self-control and kind words (regardless of how anyone else acts) and here I was doing the complete and utter opposite.

Although my son needed direction and discipline, I didn't do it the right way.  I've been teaching my kids that they only have control over their own actions and when wrong, make it right.  Why haven't I mastered those concepts?

Tonight I will apologize for my harsh tone and fiery words.  Then, like I encourage my boys, I will try not to do it again.


















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