I’m sure we’ve all had those less than stellar moments in our parenting careers where we wonder why the CAS doesn’t wake up and pay a visit. I’ve had several. Not for hitting my kids. Not for depriving them of anything. Not for anything “illegal” going on in the house. Just one of those bone headed, really stupid, I shouldn’t have done that moments where you wonder why you didn’t make the husband wear a condom just that one time so you wouldn’t have to be having this moment at all.
My son is remarkably immature for his age. He is 10 going on 7 on a good day. Other days he surprises me and shows he is getting closer to his age. Those days are few. This frightens me, frustrates me, makes me a little nutty. After all it is all about me anyway. Today was a 7 year old day but more for me than him.
He was working on the computer. He has taken to using the old education programs I got a couple of years ago which are quite young for him but there you have it. Probably a grade 2 level or so. He likes that he gets a gold star which his mother was not going to earn with her contribution to this story.
So he is minding his own business playing this game. He gets frustrated, starts pounding the bench he is sitting on and saying “I can’t do this !!”. Now any sane mother would have said, “There, there…. there, there. Let me make it better”. Thomas’ mother chose to get angry, yell at him and belittle him. Stellar moment. I see that he is rushing, I see that he is not paying attention, I see that he is struggling – and I choose to be an ass. Of epic proportions. No “there, there”. No “let’s work together”. I’m all about the yelling about how he should slow down, pay attention and not be an idiot. Stellar. Totally stellar. As soon as it pops out, he has tears, I’ve frightened him and we are getting no where. I am the biggest jerk to ever walk the planet at this point. But do I stop yelling ? Oh no. I keep going. SLOW DOWN THOMAS. WATCH WHAT YOU ARE DOING THOMAS. WHY AREN’T YOU READING IT PROPERLY ???? More stellar moments. More self-esteem building from mom. NOT.
Finally I pull my head out of my ginormous butt and sit down. I try to placate him by telling him how I am frustrated because I know he is not an idiot and if he’d slow down, he’d be able to do this. What good is that going to do ? Is he going to remember in the long run that I don’t think he’s an idiot after I’ve calmed down ? No. He is going to remember his big moron of a mother who is supposed to love him and build him up, yelling like a crazy woman and calling him an idiot. I have now confirmed that he is an idiot and repeated the same destructive history my parents created with me. Yes, I am going to go there and pull out the “it’s my parents fault” card. Sort of.
I accept what I did. I realize that I am an unholy moron for having done it. But that is what I grew up with. Instead of patient encouragement, I got yelled at. Instead of compliments on what I could do, I was picked on for what I didn’t do. Instead of Great Job ! I got why can’t you finish anything ? I have tried my best to fix and change most of what I don’t agree with in how my parents raised me. I spend more time with my kids. We do interesting things together. I am silly with them. I explain more. I say I am sorry more. However – the big one I am having trouble with is the yelling and name calling. Not horrible names. Not swear word names. But names none the less – goof, turkey, twit, noodle, nooge, weirdo, etc. All specifically designed to demean and inflict damage. And hear I go again.
It has taken me years to learn to believe in myself. It has taken me years to discover that some of the things I do are special. That not everyone can read like I read. Not everyone can bake or cake decorate or garden or cook or create whatever like I can. I always thought I was average. That nothing I did was extraordinary. My parents never thought so. I thought I would be a better parent that way. I am not as encouraging as I’d hoped I’d be. I’m not as patient as I’d hoped I’d be. I’m inflicting more damage than I thought I would and am very disappointed by that.
I called my son an idiot today. I struck him where it would hurt the most. Right in his heart. What kind of a mother does that ? What kind of a mother attacks her child in such a low and cutting manner ? I’m sure mother’s do worse but I always thought I’d be better than that. This is one area where I’d hoped I’d be above average. Turns out it isn’t my son who is the idiot. It’s his mother.