You know when you have those days that make you want to down an entire bottle of wine at night? This week, for us, has not been those kind, it has been pretty great. Or maybe that was just yesterday and my mind is creating temporary amnesia for survival. In all seriousness, raising kids can be exhausting but there is always at least one moment in a day that makes up for anything that was stressful or not so fun. For example, last week my son, L, punched his friend in the face. For no reason. It was not a hard punch, but that is not the point. He had no idea why he did it, but I can tell you, he was in big trouble and felt terrible. I never thought my son would do such a thing, and I was livid. It took me about a week to calm down about it. Then I tried to give him a tiny, minuscule, break because he is 5 and a good kid and I am sure he did not want to hurt his friend. Too many superhero games? I cannot figure it out, but for a brief second I wondered if I was raising a psychopath. Who hits someone for no reason? Oh yeah, kids. That was an I needed to own a liquor store kind of night, except that it wasn’t. I was too emotional to have any wine. That morning though, started off great, and he came out of school with a big smile an a hug. Unfortunately, the day ended on a sour note, but it happens.
I can sum up a good day versus a wine day by whether my kids are repeatedly throwing out the random I love you’s or the but why mommy’s. Only the but why mommy’s are more like “b-b-b-but why-y-y-y-y mommmmmmmy”. A person can only take so many whines in a lifetime. Being a kid is tough. There are so many rules and there are so many kids that do not follow those rules. Parenting styles can be very different and it is hard, for instance, for my boys to see a friend climbing up the school fence and running around throwing rocks when they are not allowed to do that. Or for my daughter to see friends with cool gadgets and more freedom, playing on the street without supervision, when she is not allowed to do that. I am not judging (mostly) but I have my own rules that make me feel comfortable. Unfortunately, kids do not understand that I make rules out of love and for their own safety. I do tell them this, especially on those occasions when the whines emerge, and I am hopeful that one day they will get it. Maybe it won’t be until they have kids of their own, but maybe it will be when they start babysitting. I am all about giving it to them straight, or the guilt trip if they deserve it. I love them, and everything I do is for them whether they like it or not. I have used the phrase “is your name so and so? No you are F/L/A, and this is what we do/have”, or the “I love you so much, why would you act like that and make me sad when I was just trying to take you to the park?”.
So, before you throw yourself another pity party (some are totally acceptable and healing, but try saying it out loud so someone else can kick your ass into gear), remember how hard being a kid can be. My goal is for them to have a happy and long childhood, and sometimes I need to change my grumpy “I am tired of this” attitude and remember to laugh more and that making a joke or distraction can end a kid’s moment of despair instead of falling into the despair with them. Also, I could now really use a glass of wine.