My Worst Day As a Parent (okay, maybe not worst…)

During His Bad Boy Years

Okay.  I’m being cheeky.  Worst anything is reserved for death, divorce and…dance offs.  Sorry, those d’s in threes always kill me.

I’m pretty sure I actually wrote about this day already, or at least its aftermath, on this blog. The other day I decided to talk about it with the guy who made it all possible.  The one, the only: my first born.

How difficult it must be for you because I’m not one of those sympathetic mothers.

And it’s true.  Sometimes I even roll my eyes when he cries.  Ok, ok, not all the time, but, look, if you cry because your hummus has touched your quinoa, just as a for instance (not that that actually happened, say, four nights ago or anything), I have a couple of things to say to you.

First, you are eating hummus (homemade!) and quinoa!  How bad can your life be?  Second, you are eight years old and it is no longer acceptable to have issues with your food touching.  Sorry, that ship has sailed.  See? I told you. I’m not very sympathetic.

Take my son’s aversion to swimming.  I just don’t have a lot of patience for it, and that’s where it all began.

Me: Do you remember that day?

Him: What day?

Me: Well, I signed you up for beginning swim lessons and, at age 5, you were one of the oldest kids in class.  So there I am – I had to wear a swimsuit – carrying a giant five year old boy, surrounded by all the other moms and their TWO year olds while chanting Motorboat, Motorboat.  Do you remember?

Him: Nope.  What do you mean you had to wear a swimsuit? You were in the pool.  What else would you wear?

Me: Yes, but I felt fat and didn’t want to be in the pool in a swimsuit.

Him: Why did you feel fat?

Me: That’s not important! YOU refused to jump in the pool.  YOU refused to let me get your head wet.  So, well, I dunked you. I mean, I had to.  It was part of the class.  And then you absolutely lost your mind.  You started hitting me – your MOTHER – with your head. You head butted me!

At which point he giggles. Giggles!

Me: It’s not funny. It hurt.  You lost your mind.  You started hitting me, like,
wailing on me, and yelling and screaming all of this terrible stuff.  So I wanted to leave, but we couldn’t do that because we were both NAKED IN THE LOCKER ROOM and I had to get us both dressed.  And there were parents there from school.  I was absolutely mortified.  It was so terrible.  I have never been so embarrassed in my life (note: this is a slight exaggeration but I felt like it really drove the point home).  So, now do you remember?

E: Nope.

And then he pauses for a moment.

And then he asks what, to him, is clearly the more interesting question.  So. What was the worst day of your whole life?

And there you have it. The worst day of my life as a parent (see disclaimer above) and he does not even remember it.

At the time, it took me about two weeks to get out of the fetal position over that day.  I was just beside myself that my own child, my baby, hit me …REPEATEDLY…IN PUBLIC

So, cue the shame spiral. What did I do wrong? How did I raise a kid who hits?  I’m a terrible mother.  It’s the divorce.  It’s the two houses.  It’s the new school.  It’s a Communist plot.

It’s me.  It’s me.  It’s me.

And then I did what I always do.  I researched the hell out of it.  I found this three step plan for him to use when he felt like hitting: Stop.  Take a deep breath.  Solve the problem.

And then we went over that three step plan about 18 billion times.  I can still hear his little five year old voice saying the words back to me.

And, you know, I don’t regret taking it seriously.  I didn’t want his temper to grow out of control, and it more or less hasn’t.  More or less.  But the mere thought of this day used to trigger a Nancy Kerrigan-like meltdown.  You’d think I killed a few puppies, or fed my son something in a plastic dish that still contains BPA.

I wish I had been a little easier on myself then.  And I wish I could be a little easier
on myself now.  Sometimes your kid fucks up.  Sometimes you fuck up.  And you just have to roll up your sleeves, jump in and fix it.  Hmm, maybe stop, take a deep breath and solve the problem was actually a three step plan intended for me?  Who knew?

Years and another kid later, I am learning not to take everything so personally.  Now, when my daughter snatches toys out of the hands of other unsuspecting toddlers, I know
it’s her, not me.  I mean, if she does it in two years, it will be me and not her, but for now I just shrug and say, wow, she really needs better boundaries.

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About Mamalicious

Playwright, storyteller, producer, blogger & #skeptical mom of 2 living in #HStNE DC. Blogging since 2009 unless you count Livejournal and nobody does.
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