Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Ooops, I Did it Again

Okay, now I am not defending the car-seatless driving of Britney Spears or the diaper-changing-on-a-restaurant-table that I read about on another mother's blog, but I am defending some of her stuff. For example, when she almost fell carrying Sean Preston (no, I didn't know that name off the top of my head, I had to Google it). First of all, she was actually carrying him, a novel thing for some celebrity moms.

I remember once carrying Phillip to the car when he was just a few months old. I had stopped carrying the infant seat in the house and had started just carrying him to the car instead. I was walking along the tiny cement strip in between the car and the brick side of our old house and fell, twisted my ankle and nearly dropped him on the driveway. I miraculously fell on top of him, but with the arm that was holding him offering enough cushion between his body and the concrete that he didn't even cry--but I did.

I make a lot of mistakes as a parent. Some big, some small. But last night I was once again not the parent I want to be to Samuel. He frustrates me so much some times. I am watching my behavior, begging myself to get it together, and I just cannot snap out of my frustration. He was crying and crying, and not listening as I was trying to explain why he was in trouble--he just would not listen and his fit got bigger and bigger and more out of control.

I was as nice as could be and then when all the tricks I knew were not working, I got frustrated, yelled and increased the punishment. Now, instead of just having to go to bed early, I revoked bedtime stories. He screamed more. Then, I said I would close the door because Andrew was trying to sleep (was sleeping until the screaming started) next door. He screamed some more. I closed the door. He screamed even more.

I yelled instead of talked, reacted instead of listened, and put more distance between us instead of holding him. I hate that. And, I am so hard on myself when I screw up. Only my mom makes me feel okay about it. She reminds me that everyone screws up as a parent. Oh, I am sorry...everyone except for you, I am sure you are a perfect parent all the time. She reminds me that she lost it sometimes too--overwhelmed, tired, at her wit's end with a stubborn child (me, maybe?) and asks me if I remember or if I now think she doesn't love me. I don't remember and I know she loves me.

But, Dr. Phil and others always talk about how you "change who your children are" with episodes like that. My inability to control my emotions changed who my child is. Now that is a lot of pressure--and guilt. And other mothers always seem to share stories of how together they are, rarely does anyone confess to their parenting short-comings. I hold on to those tiny glimpses of those moments some have been brave enough to share.

Like my friend, who I think is the most wonderful parent and who has taught me so much about parenting. I sometimes hear her voice when she responded to a complement I gave her about what a wonderful parent she is and she said some days she threatens to throw all O's baby dolls in the trash even before noon. Ahhhhh. Not that I am happy for her frustration or loss of control, and not that I am happy that she had a moment of being the parent she doesn't want to be (wait, I am a tiny bit happy about that), but she validated my feelings of frustration. She probably doesn't even ever remember saying that, but I save it for when I need it most.

I have to remember it is okay to screw up and be mindful and thankful that God gives me another day to start over. I screwed up. I apologized this morning for yelling and not handling the situation better. He apologized too for the big fit. I will try again today and remind myself that I can be the parent I want to be and the parent that Samuel needs. I love those guys like nothing else in the world.


Anonymous said...

I think your the best MOM anyone could ask for. Thanks GP

bstab said...

Um, you got an apology from him for his behavior? So he's learned it's ok to be sorry for how he acts sometimes?
So that's some damn good parenting...

I think the boo boos we make show our kids that mistakes are okay and make them better people.

Anonymous said...

Most parents probably would not even think twice about what you did. The fact that you understand the impact of your interaction with your kids is miles ahead of most. I think you are a terrific parent. There is just some internal button that gets pushed by our kids and it is so difficult to not get fed up and frustrated. I have been frustrated more times than I can count and have felt exactly as you did!