Of course a breakdown would happen on the day my husband was out of town. It’s not to say that breakdowns never happen otherwise, it’s just that of course they are inevitable when you think you have it all under control. Something to do with a kid’s version of Murphy’s law. And of course I am that independent, I can do it all mom. I have it all under control. I’m not supermom, I am just in control mom. At all times and over all things, right? Don’t answer that. The truth is I like to go it alone mostly because I don’t always know how to work as a team. I enjoy this time because I need it in many ways to balance out my learning to play on a team. I know, it probably means I’m self-absorbed and narcissistic, but I blame it on all my years of playing tennis, nothing at all to do with other influencing factors – just tennis. Such an individual sport. HIGHLIGHT THIS PARENTS: Be sure your kids play a team sport as well as an individual sport. It will come in handy someday.
I should have known based on the fitful night of sleep that was only emphasized the following morning when I woke Lola up and she said, “Mommy quit bothering me, I need more rest” that yesterday would go less than planned. Perfect. Of course you need more rest, my child. You just expended more energy kicking me and tossing and turning in one night than you do during the course of a day. But this would be the typical morning wake up scene regardless of which bed she slept in the night before.
To say that mornings at our house are a picture of parental and child relationship perfection would be a bold-faced lie. Typically, lots of loud grunts emanate from our 4-year old as we try to joyfully wake her up. Or evasive tactics such a quick cover up maneuvers ensue. All of which are mostly funny and cute, until you actually look at a clock and realize that someone is going to be late at which point patience goes to live at someone else’s house down the street. The main issue that induces stress overload, however, is the pace at which anything is accomplished in the morning. We don’t fight about what to wear, we just take our sweet time deciding. And she will eat a hearty breakfast but only after she has tried to get you to read 10 books, rebuild a Lego set up to include a never before seen horse barn, or urgently needs to draw you a picture because of course she loves you dearly and the drawing reflects that love. We resort to racing her or setting a timer in the morning just to get her moving faster than a snail’s pace.
Yesterday morning included a long over due breakdown over watching part of a movie prior to leaving the house. What kind of fool does she think I am? Hasn’t she heard the saying, “Give an inch, they take a mile.” Sure you want to watch only 5 minutes of a movie. Go sell that story to someone else, sister. We settled for a quick make over of a Star Wars Lego air craft. But it’s amazing how you can give in and still she will persist with the original request. Did she forget about the Lego air craft?
Breakdown’s of course involve the usual cast of characters, loud screaming (sometimes from both of us), threats, folded arms, telling me she wants a new mommy, new family, etc. and then a retreat to her room with lots of loud crying. Luckily we’ve moved past the “let’s mark a path of destruction on the way to our room” stage, but I’m always watchful should that stage rear its ugly head.
The problem that usually occurs at this point for me is two-fold – my initial reaction is that of anger and frustration and then the crazy parent thought process that follows. The initial reaction of anger and frustration is knowing that this will not be resolved on my timeline. This is of course a problem because I am not in control of this 4-year old’s thoughts and emotions and as such will have to step away while she sorts it out. Usually this seems like an eternity, but in reality it takes a little less than 5 minutes. The second issue involves the thoughts that follow known as parent guilt. Parent guilt always hits below the belt.
My child wants to stay home from school. That, unfortunately, is not an option so I proceed with the guilt of the working mom. I work and am therefore not available for my child when she needs me. Have I picked the wrong daycare, I think? Now she’s going to hate school because of this. She associates school with mommy’s unavailability. What have I done? Then I think, wait a second, does she think that if we stay home that we will hang out and watch tv all day? She must be crazy if she thinks that is how things work around here. The parent guilt is back again. Is this the message I am sending to my child, that all we do is sit around and watch tv together? I’m such a failure.
To Do: Sign up my child up for more weekend activities, doesn’t matter what, so long as it doesn’t involve a tv. That should fix it right?
What a way to start the morning. As soon as I get to work I grab an ice-cold sugary drink and find a nice dark room where I can cry for a bit.
How do you even begin to resolve this? We went to the park after school and sang We Built This City by Starship before bed as a starting point. It seemed to help.