We returned last night from vacation, and whoa are we back. Not just back, but recuperating. The girls and I were gone for almost 2 weeks, Kevin for one. For the first week the girls and I stayed with my in-laws in Wildwood (they have a family friend who rents inexpensively to us every year) and then I came home for a day by myself and the next day Kevin and I met the girls and my in-laws in Williamsburg for the second week. I love vacations, as do the girls and Kevin but it kind of takes it out of you, you know? Vacationing as a family with young kids - although mine ARE getting older and easier for sure - and in-laws, even when you get along well...is tiring. We did have a wonderful time, lots of memories.
Today I had so many chores to do I couldn't see straight. And true to form when I have so much to do...I didn't want to even start, so I slept in. Plus I'm PMSing, which makes any emotion I have magnified, so there's that going on too. The girls - especially Taylor, who really does best under routine - were nutty today. I had to go to the grocery, in the pouring rain, because we were out of so many things, and of course the childcare was closed. I specifically went to that ShopRite bc of the "fun play room" for the girls, so I could shop and concentrate on my coupons in peace, but bc a worker called out, they had to close it early. Grrr. So our shopping trip started out with 2 sulky girls - make that 3.
By aisle 3 Taylor was sick of it, and was acting out. I told her to stand by the cart so a woman could get through, and she wouldn't. The woman - an older, pissed-off-at-the-world-can't-remember-what-it's-like-to-have-kids kind of woman, said, "I heard your mommy tell you to stand by the cart, I have my listening ears on, do you? You don't listen to your mom?" I said again to Taylor, "Tatie, stand by the cart." To which Taylor screamed, "I'm not moving, MOM! You don't tell me what to do!!" So I physically moved her and took away her lollipop for talking to me rudely, which made her flip out more, growl at me (another time, my friends, I will talk more about the growling) and the woman murmured under her breath about my kid needing discipline. UGH! I HATE that. HATE. I can't stand when someone judges my kid - or me - when they don't even know us. And I can't stand there, with my screaming, seemingly-bratty, kid and explain her life story and why she does the things she does. I can't say, "Listen lady, this girl is amazing. Sure right now she looks nasty, but she is majorly disappointed she's not playing in the fun room, like Mommy promised her she would be. The fact that she made it 3 aisles before a meltdown when her senses and routine are being BLASTED is amazing!!! This is the same girl who 3 years ago would hide her face in my pants as we walked into the grocery bc she couldn't stand all the sights, smells, sounds. She is a lot stronger than you'll ever be, and I sure hope she doesn't grow up to look at a 5 yr old the way you just looked at her."
Ah, deep breath. That felt good, getting that out. The good news is, another lady behind us saw all of this, and in the next aisle - after an old man said "Don't you know there's no crying in ShopRite little girl?" (because Tate screamed her face off for at least 15 minutes) the nice woman said, "Kids are like us, we all have our bad days.." and gave a nice smile to me. I immediately felt so much better. Tate pulled it together around aisle 10, in the cat food aisle where she had to laugh at the bags and bags of litter for cat poop.
Basically, I can't stand feeling judged by my kid's behavior. Does every thing they do reflect on me? Sure, I want credit for the good stuff :) But when they act bratty, why does that have to mean I'm a bad mother? Or am I the one making that assumption, and reading too far into little comments or looks? I definitely bring a lot of guilt on myself. Just a few minutes ago on facebook, I read a question titled "How do you sneak veggies into your kids food?" from Scott and Kelly, hosts on the Christian radio station K-Love. Well, of course in those hundreds of comments were so many, "Sneak?! My kids eat their vegetables because we raised them to eat their food." Just reading some of the comments made me want to cry. My kids hate - HATE - veggies. They eat a lot of fruits now, and Bailey does love some foods that have veggies in them, like soup, but I never put a pile of peas let's say on my kids plates and they eat them. Most nights at dinner we sit together at the table, and Kevin and I eat veggies and I offer, and sometimes make them try a bite, but my kids are not veg-eaters and over the years of crying, gagging, barfing, and me begging and bribing...I'm tired of it. So over the last several months I have chilled out about veggies. But reading comments like that, simplifying how easy it is for kids to eat veggies or implying it's within a parent's power, makes me feel like crap.
Well, I'm done I think with this little temper tantrum I just had. Thanks for listening. I guess this is just part of motherhood. And I need to keep this all in perspective, anyway. What do I care what some lady at the grocery thinks, or if someone would think I handle my kids veggie-eating all wrong. My girls are physically healthy, and the only opinion that should matter is God's. If Kevin and I are raising our children as we feel God wants us to - reading His word, following His commands...above all, loving each other - why would I waste my time thinking of other things? In every instance, I should make decisions based on what I feel is right, answering only to God. He gave me these precious girls, and I do pray that I raise them in His light, with His guidance, direction, love. I make mistakes every day - just this morning I yelled at my kids, when really, I should have sat them down and talked to them. Instead I yelled at them to pick up their toys or I would give them away to kids who would take care of them. It was 2 seconds, but I felt bad afterwards. I talked with them, and told them I was sorry I yelled. I told them they were wrong to leave their beautiful dress-ups in heaps on the floor, and toys everywhere when they were done playing and in another room. That's not a way to show care for your things. But Mommy should not have responded that way, and can they forgive me. They did and we moved on.
And guess what. Before bed tonight, Taylor asked me - without leading this time, because earlier in the evening I had tried - to forgive her for disobeying and yelling at the store. I hugged her tight and said I already had, and that tomorrow we will have a fun day. I said a little prayer in my head of thankfulness for forgiveness and lessons learned. When I lay my head on my pillow tonight, I don't want to be thinking of some woman in the grocery. I want to be thinking of what I can do tomorrow to show my kids I love them, and that God loves them, and I want to pray for strength and patience for another day.