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Tag Archives: bad mommy moments

Burnt pans, burst bubbles and a visit to the dark side

I am hunched over the sink, applying heavy pressure on my dishwashing brush to rub the burnt remains from the skillet; yet no matter how much or hard I scrub the dark coal like coating refuses to budge. 

Frustrated, I search impatiently under the sink for scouring pads, hoping the extra abrasion will do the trick. All the while, I’m cursing myself for forgetting about the chicken stir fry on the burner when I ran to bring my middle son a cup of milk, and got distracted by the toy explosion on the carpet when my bare foot met the wrath of Lego Luke Skywalker.

My middle and oldest sons staring blankly at the television screen don’t even bat an eye in my direction as I yelp like a cat whose tail just got stepped on and hop carefully to the couch, avoiding the Lego Storm Troopers strategically scattered for optimal injury. As I plop down and clutch my foot tenderly, I hear my youngest cry accusingly, “You stepped on Luke!”

I’m raising such compassionate children.

Hobbling back toward the kitchen, my crushed tail between my legs, I heard my oldest son yell “Hungry” and smelled before I saw the dinner that would never be. And so I scrub, my hair falling in my face which I brush away unconsciously with hands I forget are wet.

Sighing heavily to myself, I push on, attacking the char with a vengeance while contemplating whether I should just give up and order a pizza or make it a breakfast for dinner night.

Of course I decide to make eggs; not allowing myself the comfort of easily solving a problem with a phone call.  That would be weak and doesn’t work with the martyred status I have going on in my own head.

A thought bubbles to the surface as it does sometimes when I’m folding endless laundry, or negotiating with my children to do their homework, or scrubbing a pan, and I wonder, is this really me?

How did I get to be 40 something? Where did these children come from? Wait, I’m married? It wasn’t so long ago that I fluttered through my days carefree and open. There was youthful insecurity of course, and uncertainty, but my face glowed with freshness and my eyes twinkled with possibility.

I didn’t know exactly who I was back then, but I knew I could be somebody. Somebody smart, successful, important…something.

Yet, here I am.

I realize I’ve tainted the picture with my negative tone; that if I just cast a rainbow filter on the scene, I could make it look comical or at the very least just an average mom day. The right lighting shows off the best side of things. With good lighting you don’t see all the wrinkles.

It would help if one of my boys came in right now to give me a hug, just because. It happens sometimes.

But not today.

So it seems that besides the scrubbing, I’ve also got some ironing to do.

I will not go to the dark side.

Shut Up. Yep, that’s what I said.

I see the moment so clearly; all of us walking into the restaurant, my friend bickering back and forth with her snarky, then 11 year-old son, her, ultimately, telling him to shut up.

I remember how totally and completely horrified I was. I had babies at the time; sweet little yum yums. I could never imagine speaking to them that way, and I’m sure my judgment showed.

My friend shot me a stern look of reproach. “Just wait.” She warned. “You’ll do it too.”

I nodded, embarrassed for all of us, but I didn’t believe her. We were different, I told myself. I would never. And I didn’t, until the day I did.

I was past the point of frustration and on to exasperation when I snapped at my squabbling 8 and 10 year-old. It just came out. I don’t know how, and my hand quickly flew to my mouth in shame.

They looked at me, momentarily confused, all speech halted.

“Mommy, you said, shut up.” They both giggled.

“I know, I know. I shouldn’t have. I’m sorry.” Bad mommy. Bad, bad mommy.

“You always tell us never to say that.” More giggling.

It’s true. I think saying ‘shut up’ is worse than cursing. My kids regularly amuse themselves by dropping something and loudly exclaiming, “Damn it!” The expression of frustration doesn’t really bother me.  Of course, I don’t encourage it, but it’s those words and phrases with intention to hurt that make me cringe. Words like, “I don’t like you.” Or “You’re stupid.”

Or, “Shut up.”

How did I just say that?

Well, they were obviously driving me insane and I wanted them to shut up. Sigh.

Back at the beginning of my mommy career, I sat quietly on my horse with my perfect child, looking down at the moms of children running wild through the playground, or climbing on top of carts in the supermarket, or manipulating a second or third oreo. Tsk Tsk.

Until all of a sudden, I did things I swore I’d never do like: let my child sleep in my bed, reduce me to tears in Target, make me want to throw them out a window, bribe them with sugar and TV so I could talk on the phone, make three different meals each night, or just give up and give a bowl of cereal, hide in the bathroom, buy expensive gadgets or iPhones…

Well, ha ha ha on me. Because it’s easy to judge, when it’s not your life in the midst of mental meltdown.

While I do my best to exhibit respectful behavior and make the right choices, sometimes I don’t do as I intend, and I learned long ago, never to say never.

Telling them to shut up is certainly not on my highlight reel, but I guess, it happens. Or, it happened. Hopefully, it won’t again. But it might.

I can just hear my friend saying, I told you so. And while I’d like to tell her to shut up, I try not to say those kind of things.

Damn it.

Clearly not winning any parenting awards over here.

Clearly not winning any parenting awards over here.