It’s easy to feel like you are screwing your kids up these days. If they watch too much TV, they will have no language skills. If they watch Sponge Bob, you will be the talk of all the other parents at the park. If they eat too much sugar or non-organic foods, you are looked down upon. No bike helmet? DCFS will surely need to be called for your reckless parenting. There are so many ways in which parents can be judged and truthfully I put more guilt on myself than anyone else can even compete with. You think I am a bad Mom because my kids ate Mac N’ Cheese three days in a row? Stand in line because I have a whole list of reasons I am really a bad Mom. Like the yelling. I try so hard not to yell.  I hear the saying repeated in the back of my head…”if you yell, you raise a yeller…” I swear this is the MOST difficult thing for me.  After the 77th time I’ve kindly and politely asked Jack to get his shoes on with no real response or efforts being made by him to actually do what I say, I lose it. I lose it in the crazy Mom fashion that I have to believe all Mom’s have. I yell and threaten,”IF YOU DO NOT HAVE YOUR SHOES ON IN 2 MINUTES I AM LEAVING YOU HOME. ALONE.” Evil, you say? I dare you to go through this same routine everyday, five times a day, without raising your voice. The truth of the matter is please and singsong, sweet Mom voices only get you so far. But when “mean Mommy” comes out and shows her ugly face, lo and behold the kid gets his shoes on. I am not proud of this, but it’s the truth. How do you change that? Besides us never leaving the house on time to go anywhere or me drinking throughout the day to not care enough to yell. Neither are good options. So I yell, I admit it.

There are many days when Jay & I sit down and discuss the fact that we feel like we are ruining the boys. What if we are doing too much of this….or not enough of that….round and round we go. See, we are worried. We adore our boys and want nothing more out of this life than for them to be decent, kind, compassionate, smart and loving people. At the ages of 4 and 2 we aren’t seeing that all the time. We see pushing and biting and hitting and smart mouths. We hear “I can’t be your best friend anymore.” Or “Why do you always love Joey and not me?” or “Daddy say no to me.” Or the best one recently “Can I have new parents?” OUCH. That’s gonna leave a mark. You can see why we are questioning, rather doubting, our abilities to do this job. We continue to work at it. We make rules, amend rules and reward for rules not broken. We try to not be the doormats they know we can be. We try and do what we say we are going to when disciplining, because if we give in even once, we have to start all over. So around and around we go.

I wonder if this is how all parents feel. My friends reassure me, the boys are fine. That is how all kids behave. I appreciate the support but still struggle to believe. I need to believe, in my heart, that we aren’t doing it all wrong. Last night when tucking Jack in he asked me “Why do I have a Mommy and Daddy?” I explained so he had someone to always love him and teach him and feed him and buy him clothes. He replied, “I am so lucky I have a Mommy and Daddy. Some kids don’t.” At that moment, I stopped breathing. My heart was full and right when I was ready to burst; my kid who can’t stand his brother most days says, “I am so lucky I have a brother. I love Joey. “ All I could say is you are right, we are all so lucky.

Just like that, I believed. I believed in my kids, our parenting and myself. I may not be doing it all right, but I am doing something right.


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