The day begun like any other Thursday Morning during the school year….at six a.m. The alarm buzzed and I rose from the bed in a far cheerier mood than usual, I figured this was due to the fact that the old man had taken Friday off and this now made Thursday, our Friday. Who couldn’t be cheery when they’re getting two ‘Friday’s’ in their weekend? (It’s impossible, just believe me, I know stuff.)
If my cheery mood wasn’t odd enough, the brat (7) had managed to get ready in a flash, this was huge shocker since she can be a bit of a feet dragger. Then the boy (4) wasn’t eating his breakfast which was strange since he didn’t seem to be sick, if he had a case of anything, it’d be stubbornness. From that point, I should have known that a storm was brewing.
I begged him to eat, I demanded, I pleaded, I let it go…, yes, I let it go. Didn’t matter, all roads would lead to a war. If only I had gotten the memo that morning. First he refused to leave the house, all while stomping his feet in defiance. Then once I got him out the door, he refused to the leave porch, all because I had applied his bug spray, which undoubtable he would have cried over if I had skipped. (Sometimes you’re just screwed either way) After a bit of a battle over that, I managed to get him in the car, were we battled over the seat belt/buckle and yes, we then battled some more.
Why? Because he wanted to eat his breakfast, now of all times…..the kid had gone completely bananas and was quickly driving me there, too. Finally I give in, realizing that there was now not enough time to drop him off and get his sister back in time for the bus. I threw my hands in the air and marched everyone back in, where the kid of course, did not want to eat his breakfast. It was then that I decided we’d turn the bad into good and move his blood work up a day. Mostly because I wanted to get it out the way and partly because I wanted him to suffer just a bit after the war he just declared. (WHAT? I said just a bit! Don’t judge! The only difference between you and myself, is that I’m willing to admit to occasionally experiencing the feeling)
Anyways, seeing as how he refused to eat that morning, needed to fast for his labs and it was now too late for school, we headed off to get the tests done. No better time than the present right? Forty-Five minutes and one GPS fight later, I pulled into the parking lot as a flood of sheer dread washed over me. The lot was beyond packed and I couldn’t imagine how I’d ever find a spot. I knew this would happen! I told myself all the way over there that it was a bad idea and I was going to regret it. That there was no way I could make it through a “doctor” type visit with just me and…..THEM…
In my dismay, I turned in to see that there happened to be a spot right up front, just for us. However, I still feared the wait that I was sure, must be in store for us. All those people had to be somewhere, right? Then thoughts of the boys’ morning antics poured in and had me twice as worried, as I pulled into the spot. I was convinced that at least one, if not both of the boys, would end up having a ‘snickers’ moment. I took a deep breath and questioned myself every step of the way, just as I had done on the ride over.
“Why are you doing this? You planned this for Friday when the old man’s off, just to avoid any hassle. Why’d you think you could do this alone? The mornings already gone badly, you’re just going to make the day worse.” The anxiety sets into high gear and I hold down any impulsive urge to snap my fingers or break out in full panic-attack mode. I take a breath and unload the boys, all the while, still second guessing myself. We made it inside, past the confusing signs and to the check-in station. Signing in was as simple as entering a name and surprisingly, though the waiting room was full, we were called back in minutes. This left no room for the boys to get antsy. No long wait meant there were no tantrums or time for whining. The sit went quick and the boys sat quietly, patiently waiting….strangely patient, considering their previous mood.
The process of getting fully checked in and taking his blood only took a matter of minutes. He climbed in the chair, watched the process and didn’t even shed a tear. He did so well, the nurse actually said ‘He should show other kids how to do it’ and that she ‘Wished more children were like him’. In my opinion, that’s a very high compliment from a nurse. In the moment I entered a small state of shock, I had imagined having to hold him down or at least a fit of ‘I don’t want to’s but there were none to be found. Instead I watched as my little boy passed another one of life’s challenges without a flinch. How could he be four and yet seem so wise to the world at times?
I suppose I really shouldn’t have been all that surprised, in seven years of mommy life, none of my children have ever been one to fuss over getting a shot or visiting the doctor. They’re personalities really are quite the opposite of most the kid nightmare-stories I’ve heard. They’ve even asked for extra shots and they’ll gladly find an excuse to try and see the Doc. (What can I say? They’re a bit weird…we’re all a bit weird but some days that shit just works in our favor. Though now when I think of it, I may need to be a bit worried about drug usage in their future. They do far too well with needles and swallowing pills for small children)
Anyhow, in just an hour, I had gone from almost panicking over what could happen to being amazed, happy and over all, relieved! We bounced back to the car, I had a little renewed mommy spirt and much to the boys surprise we headed off to the park. It was only a short drive from the lab and conveniently on the way home. Though the ride was short, it didn’t stop me from questioning if we should go. ‘Maybe it’d be packed, maybe there’d be a birthday party or maybe the boys would act up and play with the annoying out-door shower they’ve installed’
Through all the doubt, I was surprised to find that the park was empty, I’m talking bone dry. I don’t know about you weirdos but an empty park is my favorite kind of park. Mostly because I can play without wondering who’s judging my jiggly ass as I hop around and partly because if I get stuck in something, there will be no one around to record it for YouTube. (People put everything on YouTube and I don’t need to be the center of that crap show) Empty worked just fine for us and we played like mad people for a solid hour, until others begun to arrive.
By that time, the kids were inquiring to when lunch would be and I decided to take them for a surprise treat, we loaded up and headed off. Along the way I couldn’t help but question my decision again. Just as I did on the ride to the labs and the ride to the park. All I could do was doubt and question myself. ‘Was this going to end up being a battle? Will they have a random flip out because their drinks are on the wrong side or their nuggets aren’t dinosaur shaped?’ I consider hitting the drive-thru but unfortunately it wasn’t quite lunch time yet and we had to wait.
As any parent could likely tell you, once a vehicle is in park, the only thing a child wants is to get out and they want it now! If they can’t get out of the car then they must at least leave the seat. It’s as if the moment you’re vehicle goes in to park, a switch is flipped. Then you’re child’s ass and the car seat become opposing magnets that’s force would sling them from the seat if it weren’t for the straps holding them in place. Thankfully though, the wait was a few short minutes and they managed to press only half the car buttons.
After I pried them away from the buttons, we went in to order our lunch. They listened as I directed them to stand by me, they helped without being prompted and they even showed off their compromising skills when deciding who would sit where at the table. During the trip, the boy (4) asked for a refill on his drink. I thought for a moment and debated it but decided to ask anyways ‘Can you do it yourself? Or do you need me to?’ and I watched as he thought it over for a moment.
I’m not sure, but he looked as if he were weighting the options of possible outcomes, just as I was. He decided he wanted to and I decided to allow him this chance. (Scary, I know!) I had thought it out, I was prepared to face an embarrassing mess but figured we’d cross that bridge when we got there. Plus the place had a total of five other customers and they were all busy enjoying lunch. (Any other situation would just make an asshole)
After politely asking for a reminder of what he was drinking, I watched from across the room as he went off on his refill mission. He approached the counter and in his tiny voice, kindly asking the young lady for another drink. When cued, he promptly removing the lid and handed her his cup. I watched as he then replaced the lid, thanked the lady and carefully walked back to the table. Again he wasn’t aware but I had just watched him fulfill another personal moment of growth. I was witness to a new development of independence, he was proud of himself and it clearly showed on his face.
He sat for a minute, as if the events had been an everyday thing and finished up his lunch before excusing himself to play. His brother followed shortly behind him and I sat just outside the playroom glass, finishing my lunch. This is when I was approached by an older woman that had been eating behind us. She stopped to compliment the boys on how well behaved they were and how it had been so long since she’d seen children act so appropriately. She went on further to share the enjoyment she got out of watching the boy (4) as he got his refill and exerted his independence. All I could do was smile and thank the women for her kind words. This wasn’t the first time I’ve received such compliments but on a day that had started out so rocky, I was so grateful to receive such a kind and encouraging compliment. Though I had already felt better after the labs, I now felt uplifted and couldn’t help but smile to myself as I finished my lunch.
Upon noticing I had finished my lunch, the boy came out and asked if it was now time to go and when told yes…he went back in to get his brother, who promptly followed him out and we headed for home. On the way home, I couldn’t help but think about how the day had gone so far. It had certainly been a roller coaster but the good had easily out weighted the bad. I thought about how much I had doubted myself, how much I had questioned myself. Now I was questioning all the doubting I had done about myself and my boys. Why was I so quick to say it wouldn’t work? Why was I so worried or fearful of going out with them?
I care for my children the majority of the time and we run errands together on a regular basis. I’d say that 95% of the time, they’re the masters of good behavior. Then there’s the other 5% which breaks down to 2%-they’re hungry, 1%-they’re tired and 1%-they’re just kids and errands are extremely boring. In the end, the misbehavior is usually my own fault for not paying attention to my kids’ cues or being too busy to notice. Either way, it’s often more my fault than theirs, when bad behavior arises in public. I’ve been very blessed to have very few melt downs outside the home and the ones we’ve had were most often solved with the ‘mommy eyes’ or in an extreme case, a pop to the butt.
The point is that, I know my children, I can most often predict how a trip is going to go or how they’ll behave in a situation. Yet I still second guess myself all the time, I still dread taking them out, I still worry about what will happen and I get insane anxiety over it. The what-ifs are a never ending plague on my already over-worked, mommy brain. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to breathe a little more and let the constant doubting go.
There isn’t a day where I don’t feel like I’ve got it wrong. I spend way more time feeling as if I’m screwing them all up than I do feeling like I’m getting it right. I believe the real problem stems from the fear of being judged by others when our children act up. We fear the looks, the whispers and the harsh words of childless people and parents who think they know it all. For me, I hide the fear very well in public but inside, I’m a wreck. I hold my head high through the tantrum, I keep shopping through their tears and screams of ‘I wants’, I’ll smile at the nah Sayers as they pass by and in most cases it ends just as quickly as it begins. I see the glares, I hear the remarks and I feel a bit hurt but I would never let you see it.
I guess what I’m trying to get at, is that we all have our days. For children, it can be a bit more often but they’re just learning to put their emotions in order, they’re still practicing. This is why I’d like to challenge you to stomp out the judgement and stomp out the doubt. All I ask is that the next time you’re out and see a parent having a rough day, say something nice. Let them know you’ve been there, tell them how well they’re handling it or just offer a kind smile. Do something that will uplift them in a time where they’re likely, mentally beating themselves up, far worse than you ever could.
On the same note, why not take it a step further and acknowledge when you see a parenting win. Maybe their kids kindly asked you to move or maybe you saw the child throw away some random litter. The point is to pick out something good you’ve seen and complaint that. To take a single minute from your day to uplift other parents and let them know that they must be doing something right. None of us can know how hard someone’s day has been or the struggles they’re going through. A few kind words could mean all the difference to them. When it comes down to it, it could be the one thing that helps hold them together at the end of a long day. Let’s stop crushing our own parent spirt and others. Let’s start uplifting ourselves as well as our parenthood community. We’re all in the same boat, now it’s time to work together through the storms.
Please follow and like us: