Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Confessions of a Bad Mama

One of the great things about the Lutheran church is that, while you CAN do private confession of your sins to your pastor or elder, it's not expected. You're free to confess privately to God to receive forgiveness. But why confess privately or semi-privately when you can confess your transgressions to the WHOLE ENTIRE INTERNET FOR ETERNITY?! So here I go...

I'm a Bad Mama. 

1. I publicly shamed my dogs. I was incredibly amused by Dogshaming on Tumblr, and took my own dogshaming photo. I couldn't get it to post to the site, because I'm Tumblr illiterate. So I posted it to Facebook. For those of you who think your dogs are special because they do gross stuff, they're not. Our dogs do gross stuff, too. Unspeakably gross. Well, we'll let them speak of it:

That's just hair-curlingly gross. Ugh. 

2. I let my 2 year old tantrum in the grocery store yesterday. Well, I didn't let her. She just did it anyway. I just needed to pick up 2 items for dinner. She said she really wanted to go with me, and we left her sister at home. And I wasn't going home empty-handed just because she had parked herself under a table near the checkout aisle and was wailing her head off because I didn't get her cookies. I paid for those 2 items. I worked hard to get them through the angry screaming and kicking about not getting the last "car-cart" as I carried her through the aisles. I wasn't leaving without them. The stares of other people in line informed me that I was a Bad Mama for doing so. 

3. I upset the firemen today. We joined the girls' preschool this morning for a field trip to the local fire house. We were allowed to get in the fire engines, and they turned on the lights. We took pictures. I sat my 2 year old on the front bumper of a fire engine so that they could take a class picture. She started crying and screaming. I asked her what the problem was and asked her to use her words. She just screamed more. I eventually took her down to avoid ruining the class picture. She screamed more. I decided that her trip to the fire house was over. I left HeyMama with her classmates and put MeToo in the car. I turned it on to get the AC blowing, and went back to the front of the firehouse to talk to the preschool teachers about what was happening. No sooner did I exit the parking lot and reach the teachers than a fireman came running up and yelled, "There's a car running with a child alone inside!" I explained that it was my child in timeout, and I had just placed her there less than a minute before. And the AC was running to keep her cool. "But that's a violation! Someone could drive away with her in the car!" The parking lot was up against the side of the fire house. I could see if anyone tried to drive my car away. I did not honestly think that it was a reasonable risk. But apparently I was "in violation". Of something. I'm a Bad Mama. So I made HeyMama leave the field trip early, and we cancelled our trip to the sprinkler park. I'm definitely a Bad Mama.

Ok, so I'm not really feeling so bad for any of those things. Those are things that other people tell me I"m doing wrong.

What I really confessed tonight was my lack of sense of humor. My inability to cherish what should have been cherished today. Losing my sense of fun. Losing the desire to demonstrate grace, joy, and thanksgiving throughout my day. Distancing myself from my children because I was annoyed and desperately trying to preserve every shred of patience I had throughout the day. Feeling that they were an imposition to my plans. My actions were actually all correct. I set boundaries. I warned of consequences. I enforced the consequences. I provided second chances. I worked to change the day for the better. We had fun. We went to the Square to run an errand and went out for ice cream later in the day. But my attitude wasn't right. And that's what really made me a Bad Mama today. 

I gave thanks for the Patience Angel that sat on my shoulder today. I didn't lose my cool, not even once. But I prayed desperately for a new day tomorrow and the days after - days where I find joy in my children, even in their more challenging moments. I prayed that I could see my children as God sees them:  gifts. Gifts that need care, love, and discipline. Gifts that deserve patience, grace, and joy. 

I know I'm not alone in my struggle. But today I FELT the struggle more than I usually do. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. Is feeling it a sign that I'm more aware of how my children need me - an improvement on my baseline? Or is feeling it a sign that I was doing a worse job than usual? 


  1. Good to know that the struggles I have with my two are not unique. "Cherish these days, they'll go by too quickly" is what I hear. But why do I struggle so hard to get through some of these cherishable days? I think it is because children have to pull away... Before school starts, before adolescence, before adulthood. They are separate from us, as much as we feel that they are physically a part of us. Don't rue that separation because it prepares for the precious times of true dissent... that powerful day that they no longer grip quite so tightly to your pursestrings.

    1. I feel like I enjoy seeing their independence, just not the conflict. I guess I just have to keep reminding myself that conflict is necessary for independence.

  2. My oldest sister told me that one day these tough days will end and I wouldn't be dealing with unreasonable temper tantrums and the constant physical nature of raising toddlers. I didn't know what she meant but hoped she was right. One day it did end and we blew right past that day to the point that I only remember the tough times as funny... like one morning when I was so exhausted and Nate pulled off the table cloth dumping milk, juice, food, mail, and clean laundry on the floor. I put him in the living room so I could clean it up and immediately dump over a plant and broke the pot (my last non-plastic flower pot). So, I put him in the basement where he found my coffee cup from days(?) weeks(?) prior and dumped it out onto the board games. Holy moly! I gave up and just left everything, took both kids outside and played in the water sprinkler and whatever else we did. My husband came home hours later to the huge mess. It was all I could do to keep from crying. He was great, though, and took the kids so I could clean up. (Yes, I chose to clean over watching the kids!) It is one of my best memories of my kids being little and unpredictable and physically demanding! When I read your posts like this I think of my sister's comment and hope that you know that one day these days will end. You're a wonderful mom!

    1. Julie, I hope you're right. And I hope I don't have any days like yours! Holy cow!