Friday, May 08, 2015
The Daily Chai is Totally Winning at This Parenting Thing
This morning with Kate was a challenge. She is a very slow person and I am a very fast person. I eat fast, I drive fast, I talk fast. It is absolute agony to watch her brush her hair or button up her coat. Or eat. Or basically anything. AGONY. I have lots of patience. Days go by where I patiently say, "Hurry Kate, my love, my darling, we have to get out the door." "Hurry Kate, love of my life, baby girl, we're already running late." I hate that I'm always hurrying them out the door, but it seems like no matter what time we get up, we are always leaving at the same time which is ten minutes later than I wanted to leave. Any smartasses out there that want to say, get up earlier Megan, you can just shut the fuck up, because I have tried that.
And after dozens of mornings where I am Mother Theresa, I lose my shit and start yelling. This morning, Kate ate breakfast with her dad while I got myself and Anna ready. She came upstairs and said she ate with Dad and I said that was great and could she please get dressed and ready while I fed Anna? I went downstairs, fed myself and Anna and made Kate's lunch. I was just packing it in her bag when she came downstairs in her PJ top and underwear to cut the tag off her new jean shorts. While I had fed Anna and finished Kate's lunch (15 minutes, at least), she had managed to GET HER PJ BOTTOMS OFF. I wanted to scream in frustration. Like, why do I have to stand over her telling her what to do? She's nine! I was driving boats by the time I was nine. I was riding my bike to the mall and negotiating the price with the petstore owner of my baby mice that I was breeding when I was nine. I was running petting zoos by the time I was nine. WHAT. THE. FUCK? And also, I was a weird kid.
There are days when I walk into her room and she is half-dressed and sitting on her bed, playing with the dog's ear and staring into space. I want to tear my hair out. There are other days when she is dressed but playing on her iPad and hasn't brushed her teeth or her hair. I want to shriek in anger. Plus, to add to my frustration, my rule is no iPad in the morning, she doesn't need to watch a video first thing in the morning and it drives me crazy. As a special treat, if she is all ready and I'm still getting Anna done or myself, she is allowed some iPad time. But only then, only when she is done everything. You can imagine how often that happens.
After she came down half-dressed, I told her to get her butt upstairs and get dressed this instant! Ten minutes later, I went upstairs to brush my teeth and have Anna brush hers. Kate was standing in her room with her shorts on and no top. That was probably when I started to lose my shit. I yelled at her to get her shirt on, ANY SHIRT. AND BRUSH YOUR TEETH. AND YOUR HAIR.
And then I stomped away like a child. And felt awful for yelling. I know parents yell, mine yelled at me and plenty of my friends tell me they yell all the time too. Being a parent is frustrating as fuck. But it doesn't matter because I feel like for all the times I am a great mom and I'm patient and kind and fun and funny with them, it is negated when I have a bad morning like that. When I said good bye to Kate, I gave her a hug and said, "I'm sorry I yelled at you. I'm still frustrated and mad, and we need to work on your focus, but I shouldn't have yelled." Felt marginally better, but she was still upset and as I drove to work, I felt like I had failed at parenting this morning.
This evening, a friend took Kate after school for a playdate and then I went there after work with Anna so I could have my playdate. We stayed until 8 o'clock and since we were up late the night before, it was "Right to bath and bed my ladies. Oh, Kate, I noticed you have a practice math test in your bag. Promise you'll work on that this weekend when I'm gone. I'll let your dad know" And suddenly, Kate is losing her mind in the back seat, total meltdown, "BUT I JUST GOT IT TODAY AND I HAVE TO DO IT TONIGHT!" WHAT. THE. FUCK? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
I took a deep breath. I counted to five. I very carefully and very calmly said, "You should have told me you had homework. We would have left an hour earlier to do that."
"I forgot!" she wailed from the backseat.
I took a deep breath. I counted to five. I very carefully and very calmly said, "It is your responsibility to remember your homework and to do it before you play with your friends. I am very disappointed in you."
Kate continued to sob in the backseat, but eventually we got home, she had a bath and felt much better. She did her practice test and we went over it together and then she went to bed.