I'm having one of those parenting moments where I feel truly selfish. And yet, I feel justified,
I have a child who is challenging. And then half of the time he's really challenging, and about five percent of the time he's oh-my-gosh-I'm-going-to-tear-my-hair-out-I-don't-know-how-to-parent-or-survive-this-Lord-help-me-breathe challenging. Right now is one of those moments. Ok, that's probably exaggeration. Maybe it's just a "really" challenging one, but in the thick of it, even those plain old challenging ones have a desperate quality to them.
My selfishness comes in not wanting to give him a hug. (gasp!) Not hug him. As a lesson, that you don't get to say unkind things and then expect that it doesn't effect others. As payback, for saying unkind things, or things you don't mean just to hurt someone (me). And, because who wants to hug someone that just said something mean to you?
Yes, I am the adult; he is the child. At least technically. But should I "reward" unacceptable behavior with a hug? No. Is a hug a "reward"? uh.... Probably not. Should I offer grace and forgiveness? Yes. Should I love him even when he's "unloveable"? I'm going to step out of my selfish shoes and say, yes, especially then. But those other thoughts are still swirling around in my head. Giving him a hug is not topping the list of things I "want" to do right now.
And so he's blubbering away. Causing a real commotion, keeping siblings awake, spurring them to beg forgiveness and mercy on his part. I am unmoved. He comes downstairs, following me. I try to talk to him about it. Try to reason, to help him see, to understand, to empathize with others. To apologize and mean it. He doesn't, clearly. He says it again. And then is upset when I, again, state that I won't give him a hug, good night go to bed.
Yes, it's true. I'm a mean, awful mom not worthy of the title.
Sometimes this job sucks. It's very pushy-pully with the flesh, and working one's "kinks" out. MY kinks. Ugh.
I text a friend. Sure she'll back me in my unloving behavior. She doesn't. Whaaaa????
Damn. I really am being "the worst mom ever."
He stands here. Crying. Complaining. That he's cold. That his feet are getting tired. So would I just give him a hug already?
But you don't like me. Why don't you go get a hug from someone you like?
Because I want one from you.
But I don't want to hug you after you say mean things to me.
We argue like this for a while.
Finally, I suck it up. And give him the lamest, most half-assed hug ever.
It is enough for him and he goes to bed. Satisfied.
Satisfied that he got a hug/love? Satisfied that he won? Satisfied that his nightly routine was completed? What?
I can't let it go. I feel defeated. frustrated. angry.
What did I just teach him? Anything? Selfishness? That words hurt? That there are consequences? That we need to think about what we say or do? That if he just pesters mom she'll eventually give in? That I really am mean?
I think I've just proved to the world how completely imperfect and awful I am. I'm sure you feel much better about your own mothering or humanism. You're welcome.
Join me tomorrow for another installment of encouragement in the form of "at least I don't suck as much as that mom." (Oh, you know you have those thoughts sometimes. It's ok. Go ahead and admit it. I won't tell. ;)
Truth: parenting is hard.
Another truth: it really pushes you as a person and forces you to grow, uncomfortably. Much like marriage. *cough cough*
Point to consider before becoming a parent: If you like being comfortable, stable, and not pushed, do NOT become a parent.
Another point to consider: there is no such thing as a supermom, as a perfect parent, as this idyllic mom who does everything well (or at all) all the time. No one can juggle that many balls, or have all the answers, and never have one fall, or make a mistake, or lose your
voice from yelling so much cool. Seriously. It's a fantasy. A fallacy. NOT REALITY. And no one likes the mom who pretends she is that. Because it's a tough standard by which to compare oneself and no one likes to feel inferior. Personally, I all for transparency. So just lay it all out there for the world to see, scabs, bruises and all. And hopefully no one will call Child Protective Services on you. :D