I want to share a recent situation that is still sitting heavy on my heart and is what brought me to my first public mommy meltdown and this post. Normally, I can keep my cool and always try to remain calm, but for some reason on this day I just lost it. I had taken my boys to an indoor gym for a one hour “free play” session. Everyone was having a great time. My boys were nicely playing together building a “fort” using fold out tumbling mats. Construction was about done when another little boy (around 3 yrs old) tried to enter the fort and of course Troy (my oldest) did not want his masterpiece messed with. Overhearing the commotion, I looked over as Troy was trying to pry the other boys death grip off of the “entrance”. As I was walking over the boy’s mom just glared at me like Troy was being completely unreasonable. Granted, being in a public place he did need to share and shouldn’t have been so aggressively trying to get him away, but she looked at me like he was crazy. Still keeping my cool I very calmly knelt down and looked into Troy’s eyes and tried to explain to him why he needed to share and let him in. By this point, he was already getting worked up, so I had to pretty much force him to back off. Meanwhile, the other mom is just sitting there watching in disbelief like she had never seen two kids bicker before. To top off the exchange Troy kicked the boy in the shin as he entered the fort. The mom looked at me in disgust and said, “Wow, you guys need to leave.” In the heat of the moment (and not looking at both sides of the situation) I grabbed Troy and told him we were leaving. Of course he ran off screaming as my 5 foot self can not always wrangle in my almost 46 pound 4 year old, especially when he’s resisting. So I go to grab Drew (my two year old) and as I do I witness him going after the same kid trying to protect his brother’s hard work at building his fort. ARGH! Could it get any worse?
Why, yes it can. The whole place could be watching you while you do all this. And the other mother could not get her chin off her chest from the shock of my children’s behavior. Really?! So I finally get both kids and storm out of the place dragging one and trying with all my might to not drop the other kicking and screaming child under my arm. Oh and did I mention the tears streaming down my face? Yeah, that was me. The mom who just got asked to take her kids and leave. The frazzled, shamed, horrible mother who cannot contain her own children and who has obviously made her kids behave in such ways. At least that’s how I felt at the time. I couldn’t figure out what bothered me more, that look of disgust that the other mom had given me and the judgement I felt was coming in at me in every direction or the disappointment in Troy and his behavior. All I knew was that it hurt. In all my 4 years as a parent I had never felt such a shameful low. I had felt like a failure, and being a mom is what I live for. I just didn’t know what to do. I was hysterical for the rest of the day (and I’m not normally a crier) and in a funk for the couple of days following. Nothing anyone said to me made me feel any better. Definitely my worst Mommy day ever!
Flash forward a few days. Looking back at the situation and thinking about how Troy must have felt when his hard work was getting interrupted I can understand why he was so upset. He later told me that he just wanted the other boy to go in the “front door.” So, here we are a few weeks later really practicing (more than ever) using our words rather than our limbs to express how we are feeling. I am more cautious about taking them to places at certain times (like no where close to nap or bedtime) and not pushing them to do so much in one day. I often try to jam pack our days because it seems like they just get along better when we are out and I get antsy being at home, but really they need down time just like we adults do.
I realize that even though my kids should not behave that way (and I’m not excusing it), it is completely normal for them to do so and they will (eventually) learn right from wrong. Yes, some may do it more then others (just as with anything in life), but all we can do as parents is to be patient, consistent, and to try to teach them how to better handle their emotions. They are kids. They are testing their ground, learning about their environment, and just trying to figure out their place in this crazy ride we call life.
And to that mom who thinks I’m the world’s worst mom with the worst behaved kids, maybe you should have been a little more understanding. Have you really not been witness to this before? Do you kick out every kid that you come across that may be a little more aggressive then your son (who may soon get there himself) and just sit there in judgement? Maybe you don’t get out enough? Ha. Maybe your kid should toughen up (totally kidding!). I know Troy was in the wrong, but they are kids and everyone has some bad moments. Cut me (and my kids) some slack Lady!