{at this moment: mom fails + celebration...}

this week has been a rather weird one for our household. equal parts melancholic and joyous. i had two mom fails this week. yesterday marked the kids' last day of preschool for the summer. we now have two weeks off before the fall session begins. during this break, my son will be celebrating his fifth birthday (next week) and tomorrow we will have a birthday party for him. as you can imagine, i have been busying myself and preparing for this birthday party (see photo above). so much so that the idea of my son possibly wanting to celebrate his birthday at school with his school friends on the last day of school completely escaped me. at pick up, my son's teacher gave me a big hug and said, "i hope you don't mind, but we got some donuts and celebrated t's birthday in class today." yep, #momfail1.0! thank goodness his teacher came through. gawd, she's the best!


an even more serious offense occurred earlier in the week when my son decided to use actions instead of his words to convey to his friend that he was upset. nothing humbles you quicker as a parent than when your child acts out in an inappropriate manner (not that i needed humbling, mind you). you start to question your parenting skills, trying to determine if you overlooked some important sign that would necessitate such behavior on your child's part. the same morning of the incident, over waffles and fruit, my son said, "god says that you can choose to have a good heart or a bad heart. i choose to have a good heart today."* i thought to myself: awesome! it's never awesome to get an incident report in your child's school folder and to discuss said incident with the director of the preschool. #momfail2.0

over the last couple of days, my husband and i, together and separately, have discussed the incident with our son. we want very much to understand his thought process and to make him realize that his actions were very serious. we even discussed canceling his birthday party so that he may fully understand (in terms that he can comprehend) that there are consequences to his actions. however, my good friend's mother has a saying: make sure to celebrate good times because there will be plenty of bad. in this spirit, we decided to continue with the party. though, there is still a part of me that believes i'm neglecting a teachable moment; parent conundrum.

do you remember how your parents would discipline you? what strategy did they use that proved most effective for you? i'm all ears, friends...i'm all ears.

anyway, the upside? it's friday and a great weekend is ahead of us. what's on your plate? we've got some celebrating to do and hopefully no incidents. be well and thank you for reading everyone. happy weekend!

*i should mention that my son's preschool is faith based and he is very fascinated by the idea of god right now.


20 Send Me Your Thoughts:

  1. Oh Theresa, this stuff is SO hard. I'll start by saying that as a family we never turn down a reason to celebrate and that to have canceled a birthday party over one incident, to my mind, might have been a bit heavy handed. For several reasons. It seems to me that as parents, you handled the situation perfectly. But, I struggle too. I tend to come down hard on C. We've had a rough few weeks as school nears and his anxiety has ramped up, and every day I feel my failures, big and little. What they need most, is love. Save some for yourself, too, Momma. xo

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  2. Haha, kids crack me up.  I'm sure your son's birthday party is going to be fantastic and I have faith that you will be able to figure out his train of thought and work with him.  Oh little boys

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  3. Theresa- I'm not a parent, so I have no idea about any of it, and I had horrible parents so I'm not much help there. However, my two cents is that you shouldn't be so hard on yourself and I'm sure you handled it appropriately. Plus, he's so little and I'm sure negotiating with words is not his strong suit. You're a good mommy! xo T

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  4. Oh sweetheart. I don't have kids of my own so I'm not qualified to be dispensing parenting advice, but I will say you shouldn't beat yourself up over your "fails." I'll say the same thing I say to Lauren whenever she gets down on herself about parenting: You are present, you are loving, you are involved. That means you can never have a momfail. All kids get into scrapes at some point (I did! In third grade a kid gave me a black eye for no reason and despite being taught never to retaliate, I swung back and broke his nose. I shouldn't be proud of this, but I am). I don't think little T is going to turn out like Rambo or anything, he's just a little dude figuring out life. You're being the best guide for him you can be, and he'll be all the better for it. Pinky promise. Enjoy his party this weekend, the preparations looks awesome! Those cookies look delicious. Mail me some? ;)
    Have a great weekend! See you on Monday! xo

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  5. Oh, T! Please don't be so hard on yourself - you couldn't fail at parenting if you tried!
    You forgot; it happens. The important thing here is that you're self-aware and always striving to be a better parent. That speaks volumes.

    As for little T, I actually feel that he acted appropriately. He's five and impulse control doesn't kick in for a few years yet. That said, I'm sure the minute he lashed out, he regretted what he had done. Kids often do - it's usually written all over their little faces.
    I agree with Lauren - I do think cancelling his birthday party would have been a little disproportionate to the incident itself and would have actually made him feel worse. A child (or adult, for that matter) who feels bad is never in a conducive mood to learn anything so you made the right choice.

    You're doing the right thing by staying calm (not at all easy - believe me, I know!) and talking things through as a family. The teacher at L's soon-to-be school says that children need to have lots of gentle reminders regarding impulsive behaviour before they finally get it and he will, I'm sure - in time. :)

    My Mum was a scolder and my Dad had a death stare that could make hell freeze over. Between the two of them, they managed to keep me on the straight and narrow! :D

    Have a great weekend and say it with me : "I'm a wonderful and conscious parent!" xoxo

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  6. Thank you so much, Lauren. I needed to read your reassuring words. You're right, we have thoroughly and sufficiently combed through this incident and now it's time to move forward. What we need right now is a party, and for little man to feel some love.
    When I was writing this post, I thought about you and the struggles you've talked about in your own posts. I knew you would have good insight on the situation. Let's promise each other not to be so hard on ourselves as I'm sure there is plenty more difficult times to come. When that happens, I'll be sure to return to this post and read these comments.
    Have a great weekend, L! xo

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  7. Ah, Rooth, I think I'm actually ready to laugh at the situation now.  After so much seriousness, we could use some lightheartedness around these parts. TGIF! 

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  8. Thanks, Teri! I'll tell you, during one of our more serious talks, he was trying so hard to suppress a laugh. I said to him, "This is not funny...This is very serious." Then a flood of memories hit me of when I was a child getting lectured by my parents and having an inappropriate urge to laugh. Anyway, clearly, my son is right at the stage where he is sorting out his many emotions. I've just got to remind myself: I was once a kid too.

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  9. Thank you, Erin! "You are present, you are loving, you are involved." I'm going to call this the three pillars of parenting. I love it. You broke someone's nose? (Shh, I secretly love that.) You're so right, this one incident was not a Rambo making moment. Though, if he ever asks me to purchase a black trench coat for him, my answer will be a resounding, "NO!" ;)
    PS~For his cake, I'm going to make ice cream sandwiches with those cookies. Party starts at 11...Come on over.
    Have a great weekend, Erin! xo

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  10. Aww T, what a week.  I echo everything that's been said so far.  You are right to carry on with the party, it would have upset others if it did not happen and that would have upset you.  You have to take the moral high ground.  I had the same problem on the day of my eldests 18th birthday, he was being an absolute selfish s**t and I told him.  I did not want to spend any time in his company but then I also wasn't going to spoil the event by cancelling, so stiff upper lip and off we went to dinner so the family got to enjoy it and he ended up having to apologise for being so horrible, I think he felt bad because we'd still gone to all the effort despite his behaviour.

    Nothing's ever straight forward is it, but I'm sure you are both wonderful parents.

    My parents didn't have to discipline me I was so good (joke!),  my mum was quite hard core, we knew when not to overstep the line and she was always consistent in her telling off which I think is the key to success really, there's no confusion then.

    Happy birthday to your little'un and I hope the party goes well xx

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  11. I know, I know. Ok, as of right now, I'm going to stop berating myself. I saw the (victim's ;) mom at school yesterday and I apologized. She said what you said, Chi. With a please-don't-feel-bad look in her eye she said, "These things happen." Now that I'm able to take a step back and look at the situation as a whole, I agree with you and Lauren about canceling the party (and it being disproportionate to the incident). Sometimes when you're in the thick of a situation, it's hard to be objective. So, thank you for those words.
    [saying aloud] "I'm a wonderful and conscious parent!" Thanks, Chi. Have an awesome weekend.
    PS~Ha, my mom gave good silent treatment and my dad was unpredictable.

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  12. Don't be so hard on yourself T, technically it wasn't his birthday yet, plus you were busy planning the real birthday.  I'd say you made the right call by keeping his birthday party.  Otherwise it would be handling a negative with another negative.  Townsend is an awesome kid with a huge heart.  I'm not sure what little man did, but maybe it's asking him how he thinks he can take the bad and turn it into good?  I have faith that he'll come through with some good ideas. 

    We love you Townsend!  Happy Birthday to our little Michael Jackson.

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  13. What's the saying, "Kill them with kindness." I'm not looking forward to the teenage years. Mostly because I was a terror and it will be pay back time. :) You sound like one tough cookie, which I love. The fact that your son later apologized and felt bad speaks volumes. Victory!
    I am thinking perhaps my son just needs a heavy dose of love and attention, and, so, that's what we hope to accomplish with the party. Thank you, and have a great weekend, Sam!

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  14. T, I'm not a mum and don't have any good experiences from my own childhood.

    All I know is that parenting is probably the hardest thing in life and given that, it's only natural you'll sometimes feel as if you've failed.
    It's a life long process like marriage or relationships and the best advise I can give is to keep working on yourself so you can be the best role model to your kids.

    I'm going to say something controversial here because you know I don't do the: awww, poor you, you are so great 'bit'.
    It never ceases to amaze me that we humans need a degree or qualification for most things in life but not for parenting. Personally, I believe every parent should undergo some sort of course/degree in self-development and parenting skills. As a result we would end up with far healthier adults!!!

    I say this because most parents I know are really good people and want the absolute best for their children but just lack the much needed self-knowledge, which in turn affects their children. With or without self-knowledge, parenting is tough so why not give oneself the best chance.

    I came across this book many years ago and have often recommended it. I believe there are different ones for different age groups?
    "How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk"

    Please enjoy the Birthday Party. It was absolutely the right decision to go ahead and remember that you are a most loving mother!!

    I hope you take the comment in the spirit it was written. xx

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  15. well t, nobody's perfect.  it takes a long time to raise a civilized person.  and a lot of patience and mistakes.  that part about the teachers celebrating him - hooray!  now i hope you can relax - well, after the party - and have some down time.  happy weekend!

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  16. Well, your words make me feel infinitely better. Thanks, Jared! I'm also going to utilize the advice you gave me over the weekend - highlight the good rather than the bad. It was a great reminder to receive as praise goes so much further than constantly pointing out the bad. PS~MJ says, "Thank you!"

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  17. Tina, I hope you know I never take your comments as anything but constructive and well-meaning. It is quite surprising that we need to be qualified in almost everything in life except parenting. Believe me, I would sign up for such certification! :) I am constantly trying to work on and improve myself (as you know), so I at least have that in my favor. You are constantly giving me the best book to read - thank you! Adding the above to my list. I suspect this book would even help adults talk to  each other. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Tina!

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  18. Thank you, Noreen! It really does take a long time, patience, and plenty of mistakes to raise a civilized person. I'm only on year five! :)  In all seriousness, I would be fooling myself if I thought parenting perfection could be attained. I'm just happy I have a venue where I can talk about these trials and receive constructive feedback. Always appreciated!
    Happy weekend to you too, Noreen.

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  19. motherhood sure doesn't sound easy peasy!  
    my parents were traditional koreans and made me raise my hands up in the air. haha
    i think now a days...open communication is key! well...hope you and the family had a wonderful bday party! 

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  20. you are such a great mama, your kids are blessed. i know it's hard not to wonder what we've done wrong when our children's behavior is 'socially innapropriate'.... but they are just learning to navigate in a world outside of home. the way we are learning to parent. it is not a fail honey, just a lesson.  happy birthday to your sweet boy... it will all be ok! xx

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