Today has been one of those dark days of the mommy soul. It’s the kind of day that makes me wonder whether I have any ability to parent whatsoever. I see the huge number of mistakes I made just during the daylight hours of this calendar square, and also feel like I’m on a steep downward trajectory overall.
Sabrina is going to be 3 next week, and I know a lot of her behavior is simply a manifestation of the nasty side of that age. It’s normal. But today included almost an hour of non-stop tantrum over being asked to try using the potty, pretty please. Not even the Mommy Voice of God did anything to dissuade her in the least. In fact, I think she’s actively developing her tantrum flair, going for as many style points as possible. She even pulled out the slam-lock of the bathroom door maneuver that’s impressive for a teenager, let alone a toddler. She’s gifted. And I am useless. It was only the power of her stomach that ended the theatrics, ad she never did use the potty. And did I mention she’s in a hitting phase? Yeah, that’s precious.
Sammy came home with a less than stellar behavior report today (he avoided doing his classwork and subsequently had to finish it while his class went on to another lesson, which we then had to do at home). I know deep down it bothers him when he has bad days, and it typically comes out as anger and ranting and trying to hide the evidence from me. No exception today, other than he added the twist that he simply tried to ignore it at first and wouldn’t acknowledge me when I asked him about it. I tried and tried to talk to him about it, to get across the idea that he has to do his work in school and get the job done and follow the directions he’s given, but he fidgeted and wiggled and wouldn’t look me in the eye for more than half a second (another example that it does bother him, I know), and I have no idea if anything I said, or ever say, has sunk in.
At 6 ½ and almost 3, my kids have no fear, for lack of a better word, of their parents. No discipline tactic I try gets them to stop, at least not before 97 attempts . More often than I can accept, I get so frustrated that I don’t, ahem, handle it so well. They don’t react if their behavior makes Mommy sad. They don’t react if their behavior makes Mommy upset. In fact, they can be quite vocal about how I make them feel by trying to stop whatever their doing. They especially like to turn it back and discipline me.
And so I question what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, what I’m neglecting to do, what words I use, everything. I just don’t feel very effective as a parent. I constantly wonder what other people are thinking, and most of my conclusions are that I look like I’ve really dropped the ball and I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. I fear my parenting performance review would be Needs Improvement. A LOT of improvement.
Maybe tomorrow will be better, maybe not. I’ll keep trying because, goodness know, I love my kids like crazy and I’ll never stop trying to help them be better every day, and trying to be what they need. What they deserve.