Tuesday, January 14, 2014

25% Bad Parent

I'm just going to put this out there for all the others who sometimes feel this way.

Some days, I'm just a lousy mum and wife.

I woke up this morning to my too-early alarm and instantly had a fight with my husband. I rolled out of bed, despite wanting to snooze, because my eighteen-month-old son was in his room crying, my almost seven-year-old was already bright-eyed and bushy-tailed waiting for breakfast and my cat was scratching and meowing at the door for his breakfast. I plunked the baby in his high chair, poured a large bowl of Fruit Loops out for the first-grader/teenager and dumped some cat food into the cat dish, all with unnecessary humphing.

I nipped at Fifi to hurry up and get ready for school. I nagged at her about always losing her backpack. I shouted at her to go find her coat, it was still in the car from last night, and yeah, it's cold outside, that's why you need your coat, now go get it!

Scott took Fifi to school, and I still in pajamas collapsed onto the arm chair with a second cup of tea and grumbled when Lolly woke up and wanted breakfast. As she ate only the marshmallows out of her Magic Stars (I'm not paying that price for name-brand Lucky Charms!), I turned on her favourite - and the most inane - TV program imaginable, Winx Club, and dozed in and out on the chair. Then I remembered that her home school tutor was dropping by in half an hour, so I threw some clothes on and picked up the mess in the living room and the kitchen table. I then realized I hadn't changed the baby's diaper since he woke up, so I changed and dressed him.

I perked up a little after that and played with the kids for awhile. I put Jaguar down for a nap and did some school work with Lolly. I did manage to control my urge to snap at her when she wouldn't pay attention, and we got through it pretty easily. I turned the TV back on for the remainder of Jaguar's nap even though the sofa was covered in laundry needing to be folded and the sink had a load of dirty dishes waiting to be cleaned. After Jaguar woke up, we went into town to hang out with my friend Devon. I'm always in a better mood with the kids when I'm with a friend. It takes the stress off.

We picked up Fifi from school, and for the first half hour at home, she was great. Then I asked her to take her toys to her room, and she went into whiny melt-down mode. I lost it. I shouted at her to stop being so whiny and just do it. She drooped her shoulders as she took her two small toys out of the living room like I was inflicting some kind of heavy labour on her. I threatened to turn off the TV (I'd put it back on for them so I could clean out the ridiculous mess the kids had made of the minivan) if she didn't change her stinky attitude right then. (Hey, Pot, it's Kettle. You are black.) Jaguar was running around wild trying to throw everything in the trash and open every cupboard door and drawer in the kitchen, and each time I said no, he threw himself on the ground screaming. I was trying to cook dinner and was getting really frustrated with him too. I plunked him back into his high chair with jelly beans to keep him quiet, blood sugar and tooth decay be damned. I repeatedly kicked the girls out of the kitchen and yelled at them to stop fighting with each other.

Scott walked in just as I finished dinner. As I set the table, Scott and I managed to fight again over trying to set the barbecue sauce where the burgers were about to go. We shot each other snarky little comments back and forth in front of the kids until we both went silent. I seethed inside about him being so grumpy when he gets home from work and about no one thanking me for making them dinner. At least the children ate it without complaining for once.

Scott playfully teased the kids while I tried to put on a smile. Scott was teasing Fifi, so I whispered a good comeback to Fifi to use on her dad, and cut my eyes over at him to watch his reaction.

Then something wonderful happened.

When I looked at him, my stony, grumpy attitude melted away. I was swept away by his handsome face, the way his work shirt looked paired with the jeans he'd just changed into, and the amused look in his eye at Fifi's comeback. I couldn't stay angry or annoyed any more. I was twitterpated.

I couldn't help smiling and telling Scott how handsome he was. His frustration with me melted too, and he gave me a kiss. Usually Fifi screams, "Ew disgusting!" when we kiss, but this time she just smiled and said, "I didn't even look away that time!" Lolly then told us she never wanted to kiss a boy, but she really wanted to lose a tooth. We all cracked up; it's a Scottish thing to say to a kid who's just lost a tooth, "You been kissing the boys/girls?!" Fifi whispered in her ear that the kissing boys to lose a tooth thing was just pretend. Scott and I smiled at each other.

After dinner, the kids played, and without too much drama, we put all the kids in bed.

Some days I'm just not good at being a mum or a wife; some days I'm great at it. Today I was pretty rubbish, but I certainly wasn't my worst!  It's okay though, because I'm going to try harder tomorrow. That's the thing. We all have days where we totally blow it. That doesn't mean we can't change our stinky attitudes and start over again the next day. I'd like to give myself enough credit to believe that my kids won't be damaged for life because of the days I've been impatient, nippy and sour; I'm pretty sure that all the other days when I'm NOT a lousy parent are the ones they'll remember. I'd like to think I'm a good parent at least 75% of the time (maybe 70%). I'm also pretty sure that while I might be a caustic wife on some days, I'm a great wife on others. Luckily my husband believes this fallacy as well.

We screw up a lot, and, well, that's just all there is to it.

Been there before? Don't beat yourself up over it, we've all been there.

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