Today was one of those days. The kind where you’re left wishing for a redo. Truth? Things have been tough with Branden lately. He’s hating school this year and getting him up and out the door has been the ultimate challenge everyday (seriously, dealing with a whiny babe has been a piece of cake compared to this eight year old stuff lately). Third grade has been so focused on testing that teachers (despite conversation with them) are only focusing on testing materials. Translation: everyday is really boring for the kids. So I feel for him, but that doesn’t mean that he gets to skip school.
His hatred for school has resulted in poor behavior, like really bad behavior in school and on the bus and I know the poor boy needs a release but he’s out the door from 6:50am- 5:15pm Monday-Friday making that difficult. So we’re left with evening and weekends with our little guy and trying to figure out a common ground between punishing him and then rewarding him for good behavior and allowing him to burn off steam with activities. It’s been an exhausting cycle.
And of course there’s the pit that’s in my stomach everyday, worrying about getting calls from school. You know the ones I’m talking about. What did he do now? What not nice thing did he say this time? It’s been rough to say the least. Things have gotten better, though, the past couple of weeks and it’s starting to feel like we have finally kicked the bad behavior bug to the curb – and then this morning happened.
Upon waking up, I already knew that Branden had had a case of the Mondays and sorta played hooky to get picked up from school early. Chris picked him up almost right at the end of the school day, so it wasn’t too big of a deal. But today started that lovely testing and he was already complaining of a sore throat. And I could feel myself starting to get mad. Not mad that he didn’t feel good, I as sympathetic to that, but lecturing vomit started pouring out of my throat and I completely couldn’t get past the fact that he needed to understand that we needed to make it through the week without anymore calls home. I went a little too hard with it and he cried and I got even more angry just because the everything we had been dealing with was like a snowball effect and felt heavy.
Everything was feeling heavy and I let my frustration get the best of me.
I wasn’t nice, I was a mean mom in that moment. I repeated myself over and over and I just got so angry about everything. We had been so understanding with all of his issues and have been doing the best we can to make daily changes to correct all of the behavior problems and even just came back from a pretty fun trip to Gettysburg with his cousins. I was feeling like he really didn’t appreciate any of that, in that moment.
I hugged him as he ran to catch the bus and told him to have a great day, but as I returned home and went about my day, I couldn’t help but feel bad. The mom guilt filled me up and now I’m sitting here typing away and sharing this with you all, because I know you feel me. There are always moments when we feel like we did the wrong thing as a parent and it sucks. It’s a horrible feeling to carry with you throughout the day.
So all day I kept telling myself that I would talk to him when he gets home from school, apologize and tell him how I was wrong for being too hard on him, that it’s just because I worry so much and we want him to understand that he has to get through school to get to the fun stuff. I want him to grow to be understanding and compassionate and kind, and all of that starts with me. (And his dad of course, too.)
And he walked through the door, smiling and happy, and of course – a bit drained from testing all day. He didn’t even remember our little spat or the way I got so angry. He had completely forgotten all about it. And he hugged me and loved me just the same.
And I realized that everything would be just fine. I wasn’t a bad mom. I had a bad moment. And just like we love our kids when they have a bad moment, they love us just the same.