17 October 2007


I'm having a bad mother day.

It's like this: I've been writing notes back and forth with my oldest son's teacher, figuring out what happened with a particular assignment. We (meaning I) thought he did it correctly, but she meant for something different to occur. She's been generous enough to still award him the credit, and I am incredibly thankful for that.


It hit me about an hour ago that none of this would have happened if I would just listen to my son, credit him with a little more competence, consider his reckoning over my own every once in a while.

Last week, he had started to say that he didn't think what I told him about the assignment was right, but I cut him off like I tend to do, in that impatient, condescending tone that I'm rarely even conscious of. "Yes," I said to him, "it's right here on the list. This is one of the books."

And he nailed his role, the dutiful, obedient, unquestioning son who believes I know what I'm talking about. Who assumes that if we disagree, he must be the one who's wrong. Or maybe even worse--who, even when he suspects he's right, goes along with my way because he withers under my disapproval.

I feel wretched.

It's true that what I told him to do was exactly what the assignment stated, but he'd suspected that it wasn't what his teacher actually meant. So he read the wrong book, completed the wrong quiz. And here we are. Sigh.

And if that weren't enough, Elle has a gash on the back of her head that I'm hoping doesn't need stitches. She was balancing on a mountain of couch cushions piled too close to the cement slab of our fireplace hearth. One moment she's giggling, the next there's this alarming red soaking the back of her shirt in large splotches, this fluid warm and wet on my arms as I'm holding her and she's screaming and I can't figure out where all the blood is coming from.

She's fine now; she was actually back to bouncing on her toes and talking to her dolls in that sing-songy voice within fifteen minutes or so. But I'm still shaken, thinking why wasn't I paying closer attention, and why do I even let them pile those cushions up, and what kind of mother am I anyway?

So I'm having a bad mother day. I'm very thankful that children are so resilient, and that mine have survived thus far in spite of my inadequacies. But it's unnerving, isn't it?--to be humming along, thinking I'm a good parent, only to realize just how flagrant my failures can be.


Kindra said...

Wanna know what a HUGE fear of mine was when we found out we were expecting? "My sister-in-law is quite possibly the most creative & patient mother out there...I'm going to pale in comparison!". I swear on a stack of Bibles, that thought has gone through my head a hundred times! Anyone who's met your kids can see what a testiment they are to your parenting abilites!
Now I won't feel so bad next time I see you & Brandt has 4 bumps on his face ;)

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

Don't confuse a bad day with a bad mother day.

A bad mother day is when you intentionally hurt your child, or call them nasty names, or lock them in a closet for several hours because they were being too noisy while you were watching your soaps.

You love your kids. You want the best for them. Therefore, you are a fabulous mother.

Melissa said...

I think we all have times like this... but, can I say that I think you are a good mom? And if children falling and getting hurt makes a person a bad parent... well, then I'd say everyone who has kids is probably a bad parent. :) Don't be so hard on yourself. Accidents happen. A few years ago we were at a Christmas party and Red was running around with the other kids. I didn't stop him. He ran into a door jam and split his head wide open. Stitches were needed... but it was okay. What's childhood without a stitch or two, eh? ;)

Katy said...

oh gosh...i have TOTALLY been in your situation and understand what you mean! *hugs* don't worry...we have all been there and us moms can only do the best we can...and when we mess up...just learn from it and move on! :) Just being aware like you are proves you are a great mother! have a great thursday!

Momo Fali said...

I just did the same thing with my daughter on a spelling assignment. She was right, I was wrong. But, we're not bad parents! At least we were concerned enough to LOOK at the homework and TRY to help!

erin said...

We all have those days!!! Your kids are so blessed to have a Mom that cares so much!

bella*tessa said...

Been there, done that! Just the fact that you can step back and look at yourself like this shows how great of a mother you truly are!

kris said...

I can't sympathize exactly, but I do know that you are fabulous with your kids! You are also one of the most patient and creative mothers I know! Besides I have all sorts of bumps on my head and I turned out great!