Yesterday was not a stellar parenting moment. After school drop-off, this was my text to a few close friends:
[My daughter (let’s call her Jessie) is 13 and my son (Luke) is 4.]
Jessie, Luke and I left the apartment at the same time. Jessie had a big test today so she was rushing to get to school and hit the elevator button. “I wanted to hit the button,” said Luke. I had to run back for his lunchbox, so Jessie left. “I wanted to hit the button,” said Luke again. “Hit the button now,” I said. “No,” said Luke. So of course, I hit it and ushered him inside. He proceeded to wail in the hallway of my lobby for 10 minutes on the floor, lying limp as a bag of bones, impossible for me to pick up. We arrived 20 minutes late for school (despite our perfectly timed departure) with me profusely sweating after carrying him, 2 umbrellas and his lunchbox, while he screamed, “You’re STUPID,” the whole way. I thought someone was going to call the police on me. If it weren’t 10:15 now, I’d be drinking after that one. OK, I feel better that I vented… oh, and I forgot to mention he threw up from all the hysteria at the front door of his classroom. Thankfully, his teacher, an angel, appeared, scooped him up, distracted him and carried him away.
Later, after Luke’s pickup, it was warm so we went to the playground across from the school. (He hugged me eagerly at his classroom door, as if the morning had never happened. I, on the other hand, was still holding a grudge.) A mom of a boy in Luke’s class approached.
“Is Luke okay? I saw him this morning having some, uh, issues,” the mom said.
“Yes, he’s clearly fine now.” I watched as our two boys scaled higher on the rope spider net thing.
“You know,” she said smiling, “I have to admit – and I really shouldn’t say this –I enjoy seeing other children melt down like Luke did. It’s not that I’m not sympathetic to you, but it’s almost a relief seeing it.”
“I understand what you mean. It makes you feel like you’re not the only one. You just don’t want to be THAT one,” I said.
“Actually, it makes me feel like my child is NORMAL,” she said. “Isn’t that what we all want for our children?”
It IS liberating to see others having a hardcore, chaotic parenting moment… So, I guess my morning wasn’t quite as bad as I thought…My misery helped this mom, and she in turn helped me, by putting the experience in perspective.
Still, I hope it doesn’t happen again – tomorrow or ever!