“This weekend I planned a fun day with my family.
We would go to the museum, take a stroll, and have lunch.
I dressed them in coordinating clothes. Picture. Perfect.
It was going to be an awesome day filled with laughter and good times.
These are the times we will remember forever.
Just an hour into our outing, my son had a nasty diaper blow out that literally reached his head.
WHY IS TODDLER POOP SO GROSS?
If they are small and cute, shouldn’t their poop be a bit more manageable?
AND WHY DO I NEVER HAVE A SEASONALLY APPROPRIATE CHANGE OF CLOTHES?
On our downtown stroll, my daughter didn’t want to walk, be carried, or ride in the stroller. I couldn’t think of a fourth option in time, so she had an epic meltdown.
Hello, good townsfolk! Look away, lest you consider a ban of small children on your public streets.
Mid-meltdown, my older son got in trouble for sticking his new rubber snake down his pants and yelling, ‘LOOK! MY PENIS HAS MUUUUTTTTAAAATTTEEED!’
I scream-whispered in my most ‘I mean business’ mom voice, ‘Stop it right now, or no screen time for a week!’
Oh, ok Judge Moody. Who are you punishing here? ‘Cause without a 30-minute window of the kids engrossed in The Disney Channel or iPad time, good luck finding time to brush your teeth. I knew instantly that threat was null and void, but I sure hoped my kids didn’t.
Breathe. Everything is fine.
We are making memories, dang it!
The restaurant didn’t have mac and cheese, which sent my child into hysterics, because what is the point in living if we can’t pay $6 for the same meal we could eat for .33 cents at home?
My son spilled his water. My other son covered his face in ketchup.
My daughter refused to sit in her seat and bounced around on the floor until I had to walk away with her to give our fellow restaurant patrons a break from the squealing.
When we got in the car, I went postal on my sweet little terrorists.
I find that when people aren’t around to witness my crazy, I can really practice my most authentic parenting style-yelling like a lunatic.
I know, I know. Parents shouldn’t raise their voice. I am working on it, but for now – Macho Man Randy Savage possess me when I’m at my angriest.
Add me to your prayer list, I need some work.
I told my kids this is why we never leave the house.
They ruin everything fun.
Why can’t they just be grateful and behave?
Then, I noticed a silent tear trickle down my son’s cheek.
In that rare moment of silence, I thought about them.
Obviously, they didn’t set out to ruin the day.
They are kids. They do dumb stuff.
Novelty trumps routine.
Fun wins out over calm.
Feelings are hard to hide.
They aren’t little robots.
And when I really think about it, what am I so mad about?
That they were loud? Annoying?
That they embarrassed me in public?
Apart from the DIY blue jean snake habitat, their behavior wouldn’t even be a big deal at home.
I was parenting out of convenience.
Out of pride.
I wasn’t worried about shaping their character or teaching them some life lesson, I was trying to make things easier on me.
I was embarrassed that I didn’t have control of my children and that there were so many around to witness it.
When we got home, I apologized.
I told them that mommy was sorry she yelled.
I went outside with them and played in our backyard where we can yell, spill things, and nobody has to sit still.
I hoped this was not one of the days etched in their little memories forever.
I hoped that when they look back, mom losing it in the van wouldn’t be one of the life clips that ran over and over in their heads.
Try as I may, I will never be the cool mom who lets things roll off her shoulders. I will never be the one who laughs at the huge mess. I am the one who loses her temper, and then immediately regrets it.
Maybe one day, I will get it right. And if not, that’s okay, too.
I want my kids to remember a mom who falls down and gets back up.
One who fails miserably, but keeps trying.
I want them to remember a house full of grace and second chances.
It’s okay if they remember me completely losing my cool, as long as they remember my sincere apology that came in the morning, followed by me trying my best to do better. To be better.
It’s okay if they remember a messy mom who doesn’t have it all together, as long as they remember a mom who loved them with all she had.”
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