less-than-stellar moments in parenting

IMG_1721Today was my final drop off at the elementary school my four children have attended since 1998 and the era ended just as I imagined, with me shouting at my 10-year-old right before he exited the vehicle.


He was just trying to be festive on this second-to-last-day-of-school, plugging a cord into my iPhone to play his go-to song, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” And he wanted it loud. Really loud.

So the whole five-minute ride to school we went back-and-forth, turning the music up and then down, but as we approached a guard crossing a little girl running alongside her bike in front of our car, I snapped.

“Turn it down!” I barked, and he did, but I saw his face redden and eyes get glassy when he shot me a what-is-your-prolem kind of look.

We drove the last quarter-mile to school in uncomfortable silence, our two young neighbors  sitting quietly in the back, and when they got out of the car, no one said anything.

Usually we joke as they all scramble out, dragging bulky backpacks and instruments over the seats, and I always say “Good-bye” and wish them a good day.

Not today. Today they got out quickly and quietly, my son giving me one last glare before he slammed the passenger door and started walking towards the school.

So what haven’t I learned in all these years living with young children? That they can be slow and get easily distracted? That staying on schedule is not a priority? That sometimes they just want to open the windows and play the music really loud?

You’d think, given the number of children I have and the amount of time I’ve spent with them, that I’d be more chill by now. That I’d recognize a kid just being a kid when he’s sitting right next to me.

I am reminded that being a mom never gets easier. You never get to the point where you know how to behave in any given situation with your kid and screw ups can occur when you least expect them.

I only hope that I avoid being a diva on their graduation and wedding days. That seems like a reasonable goal.

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12 thoughts on “less-than-stellar moments in parenting

  1. Don’t beat yourself up about it. We’ve all done and said things that aren’t our proudest Mommy moments. But, the truth is, he has certainly moved on and forgotten all about it within ten seconds of slamming that car door. So, you should, too. And give him an extra long hug at pickup (which will be very cringe-worthy for him!!!).

    • Hillary, you are so right. I’m sure he’s moved on to thinking about more important things, like how he can get me to buy him soda for the weekend and watch a PG-13 movie. And nowadays when I go to hug him I feel his body stiffen and a slight pull away from me. What happened to my baby? 🙁

  2. put yourself in his shoes, you ruined his mojo on the last day of school, and in front of his friends in the back seat..he was just throwing a hissy fit, just like a lot of adults do, looks like he is grown up already !!

    • That’s perfect, it’s exactly what I did: ruin his mojo in front of the neighbors. But I am happy to report that we have since seen each other and I apologized and we are back on solid ground. Phew.

  3. oh I feel you. I had the same last day of school, and first morning of summer break (bc it ain’t summer break for mommy!).
    I drowned out my guilt in $14 worth of froyo for them. I’m sorry to say, it really helped.

    • Bribery is always a good tool to pull out of your parenting belt when all else fails. At least you didn’t have to go to Target to buy them off. Hang in there 🙂

  4. Amy, we really need to get lunch or a drink. Seriously. I’ve made all the mistakes and I’m still making them–the cool thing is that they still love me.

    • Polli … I love your final observation: “they still love me.” I know that no matter how we fight or freak out at each other, the kids and I will always love each other. But I’m always up for sneaking away for a drink or lunch 😉

  5. Amy – I raised 5 – 1 girl, 4 boys (now 24-32). someone told me that girls would hang on to that (your situation this morning) for hours but boys forget it by the time they get to their locker or see one of their friends. hope that makes you feel better. I just found you – going to read your other posts – need something to fill my morning with laughter now that they are grown and gone 🙂

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