Wednesday, July 15, 2009

On losing it...

So, yesterday, I whined passionately and in great detail about the difficulties of raising little boys. Threw myself a full-on pity party, as a matter of fact. And, to be honest, I felt a lot better afterwards, which is a big part of what this whole blogging thing is all about for me. (That, and being able to go back years from now and read what I was thinking, feeling, and experiencing when my boys were little.) But, what could have inspired me toward such a bitter diatribe, anyway? I know that raising little girls presents its own unique challenges. I know that there is no sound as piercing as the scream of an angry little girl. And, I know, from my years of working with pre-teens and teenagers that I may be paying a price now, but mothers-of-daughters pay their own price later. But, I guess yesterday's rant was the result of the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back". While I am an exhausted and often frazzled person, I am also typically optimistic, positive, and very much in love with my two little bundles of boyhood, even with all of the challenges they present on a daily basis. However, prior to last night's venting session, I had yet another, in a long line of, interactions that left me feeling as though I had been judged incompetent as a mother by those who can't possibly understand, and it sent me over the edge. Here's what happened: Two young mothers who had obviously showered, dressed nicely, and even put on make-up (???), sat at the grocery store tables sipping lattes while their adorable little girls sat side-by-side eating their free grocery store cookies, giggling, whispering to each other, and then began to fold their napkins into little shapes. Together. Cooperatively. Peacefully. SIGH. A sweet, idyllic scene, by all accounts. Enter Beth and the Bacon Bits, with their free cookies. Having neither the disposable income nor the time to have a latte, myself, I sat at the table with the boys while they ate their cookies. My dialogue went something like this: "Spence, please get back on your chair. Thank you for listening, honey. No, Foster, Spencer did not get a bigger cookie than you did. Just enjoy it. It's a nice treat. Spencer, bottom on your chair, please. Thanks, little man. Fos, please pick up your napkin. It's not polite to throw things on the floor. Spence, you have cookie crumbs all over your face. Wipe your face please. Because I said so, that's why. Thanks, buddy. Bottom on your chair please, Fos., etc., etc." The boys weren't even really being bad or disruptive -- they were just being wiggly, messy, and competitive. In short, they were being themselves. Then, two things happened that spurred me to last night's rant: One of the pretty young mothers leaned in to her friend and said, loudly and pointedly, "I'm SO glad that WE have taught our children to sit quietly and demonstrate good behavior." No, I am not kidding. And, the thing is, I have heard those sorts of comments -- or seen the eye rolls and raised eyebrows -- on numerous occasions over the last few years (though never from a mother with a son). Anyway, I left, shortly thereafter and went to do the shopping, which is when the whole poke-your-brother-in-the-eye incident (from yesterday's blog) happened in line. I actually think I managed to handle it all fairly well, putting one boy in time out, comforting the other, and still managing to get my groceries onto the conveyor belt. But, there was a woman two people behind me who had two young girls with her. One was sitting quietly in the cart, the other was holding on to the side and just standing there, calmly. The woman caught my eye and actually "tsk'd" at me. I'm pretty sure I've never actually heard anyone make that sound, but she did. "Tsk. Tsk." Twice. I wanted to cry. That's when the woman directly behind me threw me a lifeline by leaning forward and letting me know her boys had driven her nuts when they were little as well. Thank you, thank you, and thank you again, oh wonderful mystery woman from the grocery store check out line!

I don't know why I felt it was important to write more about my ranting last night. Perhaps I feel guilty for expressing my frustration so strongly. Perhaps it's because I want to make sure to honor all of the truly lovely mothers-of-daughters who show empathy and encouragement to mothers-of-sons and vice versa. Perhaps it's because I feel it's crucial to acknowledge once more that raising children -- whether they are boys or girls -- is incredibly challenging and frustrating and rewarding and wonderful and indescribable. Or, perhaps it's because Spencer threw his arms around my neck today (leaving muddy fingerprints all over me in the process), looked into my eyes, and said, "Mommy, I love you waaaaaayyyyy more than you love me. When I grow up, I'm going to marry you." At which point Foster came running up yelling, "I love Mommy more than you love Mommy, Spence!" and showered me with peanut-buttery kisses. This scenario reminding me, once more, that the good always, always, outweighs the bad, and that my messy, loud, slobbery, wiggly, dirty little boys are the two best things that have ever happened in my life. Cheers!


  1. I have two toddlers, a 3 year-old girl and 2 year-old boy. I can totally relate to the craziness you feel. I have been in situations (almost always when shopping) where people have been extremely rude like your story above. I never understand it. Can't they see you are struggling? It makes no sense to me, why they would want to make you feel worse than you already do. I always feel bad for the children of those parents. If they are that judgmental to strangers in obvious distress, how do they act toward their own children and what examples are they setting for them?
    Anyway, I like your blog. Your writing style is great and it makes me laugh. I look forward to reading more.

  2. I think you're so right, Tesa. What are these parents thinking, eh? Thanks for the nice feedback on my rantings. Can't wait to check out your blog too.