I certainly hope we are not alone in the fact that there are times, as parents, that we say or do something and then immediately think “That was not my best parenting moment.” Exhaustion and other stress factors certainly play a role in the frequency of those moments. In our family we have two that are somewhat infamous.
A couple of years ago Trinity was given a balloon at the grocery store. As we drove home she discovered that if she ran her fingers down the balloon it made a fantastically annoying sound. Okay…she didn’t think it was annoying, I did. She thought it was hilarious. To me, it was worse than fingernails on a chalkboard. It made my skin crawl. I asked her to stop and she did at first but about 5 minutes later started again. What I meant to say next was “Trinity, do you want mommy to take your balloon away?” but I must have had one of those moments where your true subconscious desire takes over because what came out of my mouth was “Trinity, do you want mommy to pop your balloon?”
I immediately felt horrible and got a mental image of a big kid bully popping the balloon of a small child and laughing maniacally while the child stands frozen in horror. That’s pretty much the look Trinity had on her face. As I relayed the story later to Andy he did console me with “Well…at least you didn’t actually pop the balloon and laugh maniacally. Even if you wanted to.”
Andy has his own infamous moment and he said I could share it with you today. I will tell it to you as I heard it going down from another room in the house. Andy had let Trinity play a game on the ipad. I think there are birds and Swiss mountains involved in the scenery. Andy had been working on something for work and was stressed out that it wasn’t coming together the way he wanted it to. In the middle of it Trinity shows him the game and I hear the following conversation:
- Trinity: Look daddy, I can make the birds fly like this!
- Andy: That’s not how you play the game, Trin. You’re supposed to..
- Trinity: (cutting him off) But I like playing like this!
- Andy: (sounding a little stressed out) But that’s not how the game is played.
- Trinity: It’s fun this way.
- Andy: Fine. but you’re not going to get a high score that way.
I had to prevent tea from coming out of my nose as I stifled laughter. I don’t think Trin even knew that there WAS such a thing as keeping score on that game. She just likes seeing the birds fly across the screen over the cute cartoon mountain scenes.
Thankfully our kids don’t seem too scarred and those incidents actually end up helping to prevent further “over-tired/stressed out parenting gems.” If one of us seems to be getting stressed out by the kids, the other inevitably mutters “Do you want mommy to pop your balloon?” or “You’re not going to get a high score.” and we both have a good chuckle, returning perspective to whatever the situation is we’re dealing with.
Unfortunately Andy wasn’t here yesterday morning to restore perspective to this overtired mommy. He had been out of town on business since Sunday, I had been working all week on restoring order to our newly moved-around house, and Lilly had a freak night of waking up several times the night before. I think she was cutting a 2 year molar. SO…I was not particularly the most well rested and rational mommy when this scene unfolded.
Trinity was cranky that I made her stop playing to get ready for school. As I buttoned up the back of her dress I moved her hair over her shoulder so I could get the top buttons. Being cranky, she snottily flicked her hair back over her shoulder in the way of what I was trying to do. My super-mommy response? “If you’re going to use your hair to be disrespectful I’ll cut it off.” In my defense, it wasn’t an empty threat. If she had kept it up I would have marched her little buns down to the hair cutting place and had them give her a very short haircut. However, I did recognize later it might have been an overkill response to the situation.
So if you need to feel better about your parenting, just ask yourself “Did I threaten to pop my kid’s balloon or chop her hair off?” No? Then you’re doing just fine. And if you DID…well…have a good laugh about it and move on. Sometimes it’s all we can do to restore sanity. 🙂