Snot, sneezing and yelling. That would be the title of the past week for me. Really. After reading about my sister’s horrible day and trying to deal with all that with a huge COLD, I thought, I haven’t written about my lovely Friday the 13th, so maybe I’ll do that.
I had this horrible cold all week. I just wanted to lay down and have all the noise go away so I could sleep. For a long, long time. Unfortunately, the kids are out of school, and they have certain demands, like “feed me”, “there’s no bread”,”take me to band camp, pretty please” (only nobody ever says ‘pretty please’), and “why don’t I have any clean clothes?” So, while I tried to ignore their fighting and requests as much as I could, I still pretty much had to get up and do my job, haphazard as it may be. I also have rehearsal three nights a week and Saturday, so I’ve been really dragging. I didn’t even have the energy or the gumption to go shop at Kohl’s, even though I had a coupon for 30% off MY ENTIRE PURCHASE! Now if you know me, you’ll understand that I must have really been wiped out to let that one expire.
By Friday, I was feeling a bit better, and wanted to do something fun with the kids. So, I took them to Thanksgiving point for Dairy Days. They had fun ice cream cone samples, make your own butter and make your own ice cream displays, pony rides, and all the animals. The kids and I were especially intrigued by a Bingo Game where you write your name and phone number in a square, and hope that the cow poops in that square of the grid. It was called Dolly Bingo or something like that. They kept asking to go back and “check the poop bingo!” The kids were well behaved (partially because we brought a friend with us and that seems to make ALL the kids better behaved), and I did ok until we had been there about two hours. My head was stuffy and I felt weak and dizzy. I gave them the heads up that we would have to be leaving, and they actually did ok with that.
When we got home, I asked the kids if they could please just sit together in the family room and watch Disney Channel (I know, what a slacker mommy I am letting them watch such crap!) for a little bit so I could go and lie down. I think I was upstairs for about 45 minutes before I had to get Megan ready to go to a soccer practice. When I came downstairs to check on everyone, John was nowhere to be found.
“Where’s John?” I asked the kids.
“Huh?” was pretty much the general consensus. Nobody knew he had gone anywhere, nobody knew where he was. I made them turn off the tv, and sent them around the house and the yard to find John. When that search was unsuccessful, I sent them to ride around on their bikes, or go knock on the immediate neighbors’ doors, to see if they could locate the missing four year old. I started on the phone. It really didn’t take that long to find him, but it felt like hours. It turns out he was over at his friend, Noah’s house, about four houses away.
“I wanted to show them my new shoes,” he told me. Which in his mind totally justifies leaving the house without telling anyone, and walking ALONE to his friend’s house. I don’t ever let him go anywhere alone, and I thought he knew better than to just take off without telling anyone. He was placed on a time out while Mommy took a few minutes to calm down. I then took away the new shoes (which aren’t supposed to be worn until back to school time anyway), and explained to him the ins and outs of WHY we don’t just go over to a friend’s house without asking Mom. I tried to get it through to him how much I worry about him and all the bad things that could happen to him and that Mommy was very VERY worried because he didn’t tell me where he was going.
“It’s ok, Mom,” he said, “I didn’t get runned over by a car.”
Well, ok, then. That makes it all better.
By now, Megan is severely late for her soccer practice, and I wouldn’t have even bothered with it except that this was the day we were supposed to turn in our registration forms and money for next fall’s season, and I had to do that. So, there we are 15 minutes late, and I’m supposed to run home, feed the other kids and be back to pick her up in 30 minutes so we can go to her softball game. Right.
Dinner consisted of bagel bites pizza and bananas. What a culinary delight. I also stuffed a bag full of pretzels and grapes so we could at least have something to snack on during the game.
I didn’t get there in time to pick her up until nearly 6:00, then encountered a detour on the way to the softball game. She looks at the clock in the car and says, “Mom, we’re LATE!” in her disgruntled way. I should have just shoved her out of the car right then.
As we all piled out of the car and walked to the softball field, the kids are in various states of complaining. There’s nothing to do, I didn’t get enough to eat, I’m thirsty, can we go play at the park over there?
“Nope,” I told them. You will stay within 10 yards of me at all times, and none of you will leave my sight. EVER.” I said. Always the smarty pants, they said, “But what about when we go back to school?”
“Well, you’d better hope I’m over this little incident by then, won’t you?”
Needless to say, there was no playing at the park. They did, however, play in the grass, and run up and down the bleachers, dropping grapes and pretzels on the ground below. I took two tylenol and drank a diet coke, hoping to quell the headache that was threatening to explode in my head.
After the game, the kids and I moseyed back to the car, and I was thinking that maybe I’d take them to Wendy’s or something on the way home. They didn’t have much dinner, after all. Oh, how much things can change in a matter of seconds. By the time I reached the car and unlocked it, one child was crying, two were complaining, and one was whining about something or other. As they got in the car, the teasing continued. This was where they pushed me over the edge. I won’t go into my whole tirade on the way home, but I let them know in no uncertain terms that I would NOT be taking them out to dinner, or for a snack for that matter, and that they would NOT be spending the entire summer lounging around the house expecting me to cook, clean, do their laundry and drive them everywhere they needed to go while they just complained and picked fights with one another. When I finished, we drove in silence. Feeling pretty awesome about my skills as a mom at this point, let me tell you. As we approached the house, I told them to go upstairs, get in their pajamas, and they could fold their laundry and read a book IN THEIR ROOMS. There would be no snacks, no goofing around, and no noise. Well, there was noise, especially the stomping and door slamming kind of noise.
Eventually everyone got in bed and I did actually soften up enough to read John a story and tell each of the kids I was sorry that the night had turned out like it did, and tell them I loved them.
Funny thing, but as I sat there in my horrible mood, feeling guilty for having yelled at my kids, yet still angry at them for their behavior, my mom called. She reassured me that some days are like this, and no, I wasn’t a complete failure. Later, when everyone was in bed, my sister called. My incredibly patient sister with 10 kids. I told her about our bad day, and she could totally sympathize. I didn’t think she had days where she feels like a horrible mother, but she assured me that she does. That made me feel a little bit better. Then I wrote out the job lists for the next morning, and let me assure them that they were not short.
Of course things like this blow over. Kids aren’t constantly monsters and mother’s aren’t always at their wits end and not feeling good, but I still feel guilty about it. I wish I could have handled things in a different way, or perhaps been a little more patient.
When I said my prayers that night I thanked my Heavenly Father for allowing me to be the mother of these kids, and asked him to please please please bless me with wisdom and patience and understanding so that I could do a better job of raising them, and asked for His forgiveness for the way I had treated them. And He did forgive me, and loves me anyway.
Doctrine and Covenants 121:41-43
No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guileâ€”
Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy.