Tuesday, February 10, 2009

That mom...

After my last post, where some of you became mistakenly convinced that I've got things together, I figured that today provides a good counter-balance.

This afternoon I was that mom. You know the one. The one that we all roll our eyes at, step around, and talk about over coffee with a friend. The one with the out-of-control child.

I was in front of our public library with a three-and-a-half year old laying on the ground screaming, "NOOOOOOOO! CARRY ME, MOMMY! NOW!" I'm using my best stern-but-soothing voice, "Max, you need I cannot carry you right now. You need to get up right now and walk to the car."


But really, I couldn't. You see, I had a bag of library books over the shoulder, a bag of new construction paper and my purse in one hand, and a screaming one year old in the other. And our car was still 30 feet away. And as the seconds ticked by (feeling like interminable hours) my Irish cheeks burned more and more red, and I prayed with all my might,

"Please, Earth, just swallow me now."

No such luck. The screaming continues. He takes a couple steps, and flops back down. A couple more. Flop. A few more and we are in view of the car. And the shouting continues. Five steps. Two more. We're next to the car. I go to open his door, and look up just in time to see him sit in a puddle in the parking lot.

"Get in the car. RIGHT NOW." And to be honest, the urgency in my voice carries every ounce of threat I can muster.

"But I wanna go back to the train store........" he whines. But as he whines, he's actually moving into the back seat, dripping pants and all. I go around, put the baby into his car seat, hand him a snack trap of organic cheerios, and shut the door. I walk back to the other side, pick up the crying child, put him in his seat, and buckle him up. As I get in my seat, he begins to scream again. This time I'm not even sure what he's saying. I've stopped listening. I've started crying.

You see, my big one, he has his moments. Those strong outbursts of passion and pain and anger that rival Mt. Vesuvius. I've read "Raising Your Spirited Child", and yup, I've got one. And for a mama like me, who would rather die than have people stare at me in public, this is a tough pill to swallow. And it hurts.

It hurts, because in those moments, I am embarrassed. I worry too much about what other people think. What judgments they are making about me and my parenting abilities and my son who is the light of my life. And I'm aware enough to realize that what I should be worrying about is my son. And why he is so upset. And calming myself down enough so I can get through to him. And to hell with those other people.

And you can sure as heck bet that the next time I see that mom, I'm offering her a hug, a hand, or at least a positive word that she's doing the toughest job there is.


Beth said...

At some point in time, everyone is "that" mom (or in my case, aunt). I've been there as it has happened to my sister, I've been there as it's happened to a stranger, and I've been there as it has happened to me. Max is small and learning boundaries. Whether he's "spirited" or not, outbursts are bound to happen.

Sorry your trip to the lil old library was so bad, but some day you'll look back at it and laugh... and share with his wife what a stinker he used to be.

Stay strong mama... and stop worrying what other people think. They might surprise you with some sympathy. Most have been in that same place or will be in the near future.

Melanie said...

Honestly, I can already tell that Nolan will be one of those "spirited" kids. . . and it makes me so nervous. But you did the right thing. . . And anyone that is all judgy has NO IDEA what it's like.

All we can do is do our best. Max is going to grow out of his tantrums. . . and his spirited nature will turn into something that will make him STRONG when he gets older! And that's the kind of man you want to raise.

Genevieve said...

Megan - you are also THAT MOM that all the other moms are in awe of! You have so much grace, patience and humor (and the cutest boys ever, to boot). Keep writing, so I have these little nuggets of joy to read, OK?

Stefanie said...

You may be 'THAT MOM' at times, but more often than that, you are THAT mom, the one that many people look up to and admire. I know I do!

*jess* said...

i agree...we're all "that mom" at some point. you're amazing...so keep your head up. :)