From the trenches of the Bad Mom

(I originally wasn’t going to put this on my blog. But, when I thought about it, I realized that I promised that I would be honest in my writing here. Parenting isn’t all rosy-huggy-snuggy moments, but raw, emotional moments, too. This was written last night after a very emotional day.)

It has been one heck of a full week of school with the boys. Our weekly schedule looks like the following. On Monday nights, DH has band practice. On Tuesdays after school, we drive down to Grand Rapids for Casey’s OT at Easter Seals. On Wednesdays, I have my class at night, and the boys have catechism at church.  Usually we don’t have anything on Thursdays or Fridays, but I do have school board meetings on the second Thursday night of the month, and at least one Thursday a month, DH has a band gig with a jazz band he’s in. One weekend a month, I’m in class up in Traverse City.

So, tonight was our usual drive to Grand Rapids for Casey’s OT at Easter Seals. OT was great, Casey loves it, and Kerry and I get some one-on-one time that he has been craving so much of lately (more on that later). I’ll sometimes take them to a store afterwards to get a little treat at the dollar store, or get a snack somewhere before we make the trek home. This way, too, we miss the rush hour drive with all the traffic. Well, tonight, I wanted to go to Jo Ann Fabrics. Yes, you know the store… the  craft store. The store that Momma never gets to go to when she wants, and she usually has to leave with two misbehaving boys who have been told several times before going into the store what kind of behavior Momma expects IN the store.

Tonight was no exception. The boys whined about going to Jo Ann Fabrics. They complained. They started their tomfoolery the minute we walked into the store. I tried to be patient. I told them several times to stop horsing around. When we got to the flannel aisle, they were in a full-blown chasing-each-other, slapping-each-other mode, and I had had enough. I started walking away, and told the boys it was time to leave.

I was so upset and embarrassed. I told the boys how disappointed I was in their behavior. I was downright angry. I got the boys into the car, slammed the door, and got in on my side. I started yelling at them, telling them how upset I was, and how unfair it was that I don’t get to go to a store that I want to go to, but it’s okay for me to take them to a place where they want to go.

Then the tears started. They were crying so hard. They told me I was the worst momma in the world. They said that I didn’t love them.

That comment ripped me to the core. I love these boys more than I love myself. Especially considering how I feel about my own relationship with my mother (non-existent), I was devastated to hear the same words come out of my sons’ mouths: “You don’t love me”.

Granted, I know that my own mother didn’t care squat about me, and if she did, she had a horrible way of showing it. She and I still have not spoken to each other, and it is going on 6 years this coming Christmas. 

So, on the way home, I was reflecting about the chain of events that happened that night: the yelling, the crying, and the horrible feeling I felt when saw the sadness in my sons’ eyes. I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw that Kerry was asleep. Casey was quietly listening to the music, looking out the window.

I said to Casey, “I feel really bad for getting angry at you and your brother tonight”.

Then the tears started up again. Casey started crying, saying, “You shouldn’t feel bad…”

I asked Casey what he would do if he had kids and his kids were acting up in the store. He said “I’d tell them ‘stop it please’, then I’d take them to do something fun”.

So I asked, “But Casey, they were acting up in the store. You’d take them to do something fun after they were acting poorly?”

“Yeah, Momma, I’d do that.”

The logic of a six year old… maybe I should have taken them to do something they wanted to do first before I dragged them into the store I wanted to go to. But, wait, aren’t I the parent, and I make the decisions?  Shouldn’t the boys know that sometimes that they have to go some places and do some things that they don’t really want to do, but they have to behave anyway?

So chalk one up for me- worst parent of the year.

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10 responses

  1. I’m going to repeat here what I said when we talked about this last night.

    1. You’re not a bad mom.
    2. Kids say things to push buttons, especially when they’re in trouble.
    3. You’re not a bad mom.
    4. A family is a team effort, and all members have to contribute something for the betterment of others. Including the little ones.
    5. You’re not a bad mom.
    6. It’s completely acceptable to expect boys to behave like gentlemen for a short amount of time, even when they don’t want to.
    7. You’re not a bad mom.
    8. If it were me, I’d tell the boys that we’re staying in the store and will leave only after I’ve finished shopping (I’m figuring 5-10 minutes is appropriate for that age) AND they’ve been behaving like gentlemen. If they do not control their mouths and actions, we stay and practice until they do.
    9. By the way, did I mention that you’re not a bad mom?

  2. There is this saying that I repeat to myself often, “If you question your sanity, then you are not insane.”

    That must fit into parenting: “If you question your parenting, then you are not a bad parent.”

  3. I think you did well, it’s really hard not to vent when the emotions are right at the surface like that. Isn’t there a sitdown area somewhere, like the place you look at catalogs? Maybe you can make them sit there for a short time, like a time out, or next time perhaps you could bring some colouring books for them to do while they’re sitting there? Or you could make up bingo-style cards (if you’re feeling ambitious) before you go and have them mark off if they find different colour fabrics or types of prints, if they get a certain number they get an extra treat at the next stop, which would be somewhere they want to go. And don’t forget, you can easily lose track of time at these wonderful places, it happens to my mom all the time and I get bored out of my mind waiting for her! Make sure you keep an eye on the time, or have the boys do it for you (if you “trust” them! LOL).

    And remember, YOU ARE NOT A BAD MOM! 😀

    God Bless!

  4. I replied onlist, but another thought occured to me. I just wanted to validate your desire to go SOMEWHERE to do SOMETHING by yourself / for yourself. It is extremely hard, as a mother, not to isolate yourself into the goals & desires of your children… but you do them, and especially YOURSELF, a disservice if you let them realign the planets so they orbit around them!!

  5. I’m really in this case I think being the “mean/bad mom” is ok… to reward bad behavior or to rely on blackmail (if I take you to have fun then please act like a human being rather then a wild animal in public for 20 minutes) would be WRONG! You are doing well… and I think its ok to express (sometimes even loudly) your dissappointment is ok!

  6. All of my worst moments come when I’m expecting something for myself … five minutes to check e-mail, five minutes to read a magazine, a trip to a store for the heck of it …

    So, I’ve realized this about myself. I’ve also realized that my worse moments come along when they both end up crying at the same time.

    Now, I just have to figure out how to handle these situations with an calm head. Very hard to do.

    I think you do the best you could do. I recall some of the things I said to my mother as a kid … not nice at all, but it didn’t mean I didn’t love her. Things between her and I are very strained and have been for the last 20 months (since my girls were born, basically). I have a clear mind for what I’m doing that I know is good … and, see above, for what I know I need to be better at.

    That’s the best any of us can do.

  7. Shawn, good point on when the hard moments happen is when we want something for ourselves. I noticed that, too. You’re right- the key is to try to handle the situation with a calm head. Easier said than done unfortunately on most days around here. 😉

    earnestparent and PandaBean- Thanks for the votes of confidence that I’m not a bad mom. 🙂 It helps to know that others are cheering for me.

    FXSmom- Excellent point on questioning our parenting! I’ll have to remember that.

    Michelle O.- Yup- I do have to find time to do things for *me*. DH does, but we know what happens when I try to do the same thing… (sigh).

  8. Kelly- thanks for the validation on what I’m doing. Sometimes I question myself a lot on what I’m doing with the boys. Sanity has left the building a LONG time ago. 😉

  9. Oh gosh.. the teen years!! Ack! I don’t know if I’m ready for that. I’m a former high school/middle school teacher, and I remember what fun that was…. (shudder). Granted, I did love teaching that age range, but I got to go home at the end of the day with no kids! LOL

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