I’ve got a lot of mommy moments I’m not exactly proud of. In fact, I’ve got my fair share of pre-K (pre-Kid) moments I’m not especially proud of either. One of them involved a ski weekend and a late night in a house with no heat, a lot of beer and a karaoke machine. The result: me, channeling my best Britney Spears as I gyrated in front of the fireplace to “Oops, I did it again!” While the memory conjures up some good chuckles and it’s a story told time and again among a certain circle of friends, it is not necessarily what I want to be remembered by. The same could be said of some recent manic mama moments that I suspect just might sound familiar to you.
Consider one recent evening… the kids are all hollering, whining, or moaning and the noise is truly intolerable. My two oldest are arguing over who has more grapes while the triplets are having a heated tug-of-war over their favorite “Buzzy Bee” toy… of which, unfortunately, we have only one. I just walked in from work, my husband isn’t home yet and I’m trying to cook dinner in the midst of the din while still wearing my too-tight skirt. When I finally can’t stand it anymore, I scream at the top of my lungs “STOP YELLING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! STOP, STOP STOP YELLING!!!!!!” There is then a moment of silence while the big kids look suddenly scared of the freak they call Mom and the little ones lips start quivering as they sit stunned, wondering whatever came over their Mama. This is just pathetic, I think to myself. This is downright wrong! How will I ever lead by example when, in a heated moment, I instantly regress to the level of a five year old… or a three year old… or a trio of 18 month olds! I must do better, I tell myself as I try to regain control by whispering “Sorry about that kids. Please could we all try to just take it down a notch?”
Not surprisingly, only a few minutes pass before it’s on to the next event – the “big kids” grabbing some blocks away from the little ones… which, of course, results in a whole lot more yelling. Since I’m newly committed to quiet reprimands (for the rest of the evening at least), I try my best pre-school teacher imitation and sweetly sing “No grabbing, please… no grabbing , no grabbing, no grabbing, please.” When this kinder, gentler approach is blatantly ignored, well, what’s a mom to do? Naturally, I GRABBED the blocks from the big kids and returned them to the little ones! That’s right, in less than ten minutes, I’ve now screamed at five kids to STOP YELLING and literally swiped blocks out of their little hands while reminding them that there is NO GRABBING allowed.
Huh. I just never thought it would end up this way… with that old “do what I say, not what I do” routine played out with perfection by yours truly. But, I guess that’s part of this whole parenting thing. Try as we might, there is no perfection and fortunately, for all the times we repeat the same mistakes, there’s a snappy theme song to remind us that we’re not alone… “Oops, I did it again… “ Thanks Britney.
Note: This post first appeared at www.parentsask.com on April 19, 2010... this is a great site for all parents... as they put it, "raising kids raises questions"... and they've got a lot of answers!