Momservation for the day: It seems only fair to teach children about PMS at a young age so they know when to steer clear of Mommy.
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I wasn’t a very good mommy this morning.
I was having a horrible, no good, very bad day thanks to my “monthly friend” being in town, and my poor son became the emotional equivalent of getting mowed down while trying to safely cross in the crosswalk. My daughter at least had the good sense to try not to cross PMS Mommy St. and in fact took a whole ‘nother route by hiding out in the bathroom until I was done running over unsuspecting pedestrians.
All my 9 year-old son wanted to do was make his lunch, eat his breakfast and get himself to school in time for his morning recess and favorite activity, soccer. He was proceeding in that direction right on time when along came the 7:37 a.m. Mean Mommy Express.
It all began when I started going through his Friday Folder, all the work he had done the previous week, so I could sign-off on it and he could return it to his teacher.
It was not his fault that I waited until the last minute to do this. And if I am being a reflective mother and am practicing what I preach (in this case it was yelling at him, “How are you going to get better if you don’t learn from your mistakes!”), I probably should have reviewed this material with him sometime during the weekend when I would’ve had his full attention and not when he was in a rush to get himself responsibly ready and to school on time.
So when I came across some tests with wrong answers even though I was sure he knew the material, I tried to go over it with him. I thought I saw a teachable moment. I thought I was being very helpful and supplementing his learning process. I enjoyed being able to use my teaching skills from my previous career to help my own child. And even when he got huffy and defensive about it, I thought I was doing a good job being patient, explaining why it’s important to review your work and correct your mistakes.
But then he hit me with his patronizing 3rd grade know-it-all standard reply I’m getting so sick of: “I know Mom.” It flipped my PMS switch.
“No, you don’t know!” I yelled at him. “If you did know, then you wouldn’t have made these mistakes!”
And then it went down hill from there. I went on an overemotional rant about learning from our mistakes, taking constructive criticism, and knowing when to listen and learn from people with the wisdom and experience.
And then I had one of those moments where I knew I was about to spew something hurtful out of my mouth, but I just could not stop myself. In my head I was saying, Don’t say it, don’t you say it!
“Logan! You are too smart to be so stupid!”
Sh**. I said it.
Plus, in our house, my kids think The “S” Word is “stupid” – one of those bad words that will get your mouth washed out with soap. So the horrified look on my son’s face wasn’t just because I yelled something mean and hurtful at him (which was a totally uncalled for and a blatant overreaction), but I used foul language in the commission of this crime, doubling my sentence of shame.
I should’ve apologized right away, but I was still worked up and mad at what I perceived to be his ambivalence and stubbornness. Instead, I kept driving like a crazy, out-of-control fool, looking to run over someone else’s self-esteem.
“Whitney! Where are you? Why haven’t you gotten in here and eaten this breakfast yet?”
Poking her head from the safety of the bathroom, she darted to the table, inhaled her breakfast, then scooped up her school bag and zipped outside to grab her bike.
Logan dragged his wounded soul outside, grudgingly accepting my kiss on his cheek and routine wish to have a good day.
Instead of taking that opportunity to apologize I continued to blame him and his thick-headedness for the ugly turn of events.
It wouldn’t be until my mom called and I began to vent to her before the scenario unclouded in my thick-headed skull and I could see error of my ways and the emotional destruction I left behind.
So now here I sit waiting for Logan to get home, stewing in my own self-loathing, knowing I have taken myself out of the running for Mother of the Year. I am desperately hoping with an apology I can repair the tear in my son’s self-confidence and trust that his own mother wouldn’t intentionally hurt him.
I hope he understands you’re never too old to learn from your mistakes.