I had a bad mom day last week. Have you ever had one of those or is it just me?
I was tired and, out of my weariness, I was sarcastic to my twenty-something. Not in a funny sarcastic way but in a “getting in a dig” kind of way. Not my best moment.
Then I was over-the-top unreasonable with my youngest teen. There are rules and there are expectations. Then there are impossible standards to be met. That’s where I was.
The thing is, I enjoy my children, as a rule, during the summer. Early in the Texas summer, we’ve planned fun outdoor things to do. Amusement parks, festivals, hiking in our nearby nature preserve, beach vacations. Then, as the heat begins to sizzle, we’ve gone to movies and other indoor fun places.
Things shift as they get older. They don’t want to hang out with Ma as much anymore! My oldest two, of course, can drive. There are now jobs and other driving friends.
My youngest is a huge video gamer. It’s like birthing a 10 pound baby to get him out of the front door! (And I’m tired – number three gets the leftovers of my parenting skills, I’m sorry to say.)
Apologies, of course, were in order. And accepted – my kids are very gracious to their imperfect mom!
I’ve had to remind myself that I don’t remember arguments with my mom. I didn’t end up on the therapist’s couch because of her “bad days”, although she tells me that she had them. I do remember days where she had “headaches” and retreated to her room. (Were they really, or was she just sick of our attitudes?!)
The only huge blowup I remember is coming home at 1 AM from Six Flags. I had told them I would stay until it closed, which they were cool with. However, they thought it closed at 10, but it closed at midnight! Then we had a 45 minute drive to get home! Yeah, that was ugly…
So, is mom-guilt a waste of time and energy? I’m thinking it is, now that I’m close to the end of the day-to-day parenting. There’s a difference between learning and growing as a parent and beating yourself up over every little article and book you read about the “best way” to do it.
Generation X was the generation of helicopter parents – we seem to be a lot of neurotic perfectionists who are sure we are getting it all wrong. Hopefully the pendulum will swing the other way.
In the meantime, my two youngest are back in school this week, and my oldest is heading back to his university this afternoon. Yay!
Uh-oh. Here comes the mom-guilt for being really excited about that…
Kristen Welch has written a bittersweet post about being in the tail end of raising our kids. It’s sometimes messy and hard, but the moments of connection are beautiful.