Lest you think I’m some perfect cook-from-scratch, play-with-the-kids, happy-all-the-time freak, I thought I’d share a less-than-perfect Mommy moment. I’m not proud of it.
We all have “Bad Mommy” moments. Like the moment you realize that the baby isn’t actually buckled into the carseat… after being on the road for 30 minutes. Or when you finally get to bed after a really hectic day and suddenly realize that your kids not only ate nothing but junk food all day, but didn’t have baths before they went to bed.
But sometimes, the “Bad Mommy” moments are not things you can look back on and laugh at yourself. Sometimes, they really make you stop and think.
Yesterday, while Jeffrey was at VBS, I put Bennett in the stroller and we went for a walk in our neighborhood. Three miles. Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It’s been years since I pushed a stroller through our neighborhood. It’s VERY hilly. Not fun with a 35-pound kid and another few pounds of stroller. About mid-afternoon, though, I was ready to fall asleep. I wasn’t sore, just really tired. So after we ate supper, I tried to take a nap. Did I mention I have two boys? I never could get to sleep. I couldn’t even relax enough to fell a little rested.
By the time their bedtime rolled around, I was tired, grumpy and ready for everyone to get settled so I could go to sleep. Of course, they couldn’t just go to bed. It started when I was in the bathroom. If you’re a mom, you know that’s the last place you can expect any privacy. Jeffrey’s old enough to stay out, but Bennett flings the door open. I can’t lock the door because I had to disable the lock so he wouldn’t accidentally lock the door – from either side. (It has one of those push-button locks, so it’s easy to lock it without meaning to.) So, of course, last night, he flung open the door. I told him to go back out and close the door. “I have to tell you something important, Mama. Peeeezzzzz.”
*Sigh* “Okay. What?”
“Jeppy my big brudder.”
This is not news, not only for the obvious reason, but because about four times a day, Bennett says, “Know what, Mama?”
“Jeppy my big brudder.”
I’m not really sure why he feels the need to tell me that several times a day or why it was urgent last night. Does he think we’re going to make Jeffrey move out if we can’t figure out how he’s related to us?
Then the boys wanted to brush their teeth together. I let Jeffrey help Bennett because it makes him feel very big-brothery and it also ensures that he remembers to brush his own teeth every night. However, this exercise usually takes about 30 minutes and I really wasn’t up for that last night. So I brushed Bennett’s teeth and hauled him off to bed. Where he immediately started crying. He wanted to watch TV while he went to sleep. In bed with Daddy. Most nights, we just read 10 or 20 dinosaur books in his bed, but sometimes we let him snuggle with Daddy while I stay up and read a non-dinosaur book. But not last night. I wanted to go to bed and I didn’t want to have to get up later and put him back in his bed. I was TIRED.
We don’t teach the boys that boys can’t cry, but we do try to teach them not to cry about everything.
“Not getting to watch TV is NOT something to cry about!”
“I know that.”
“Then why are you crying?”
“Well, stop!” (Because that makes just as much sense as saying, “If you don’t stop crying, I’m going to give you a reason to cry,” which I have, thankfully, never said to my kids.)
“I don’t know how!”
Now imagine this little two-year-old lying on the bed, crying, while I’m yelling at him to stop crying. It finally hit me and I just melted. I laid down on the bed, picked him up and laid his head on my chest. “I’m sorry. I love you.” He was asleep in two minutes. Oh. Maybe I wasn’t the only one who was tired.