Posted by: myroadtoemmaus | December 23, 2011

I was “that” mom.

Jonah’s 2 month appointment sneaked up on me and before I realized it, I couldn’t find a babysitter for Hannah and therefore was forced to take her with me.  “No big deal”, I thought.  The biggest problem, I surmised, would be how to tackle the carry-in.  Stroller for Hannah and ergo for Jonah?  Car seat for Jonah and let Hannah walk?  I decided on the latter and we were on our way.  Upon opening the front door, I was excited to see a very kid-friendly waiting room.  Hannah wasted no time and instantly made herself at home.  She did her usual walk around the room, laughing out loud and pointing at various, possibly even make-believe items, which of course made the front office staff smile and laugh and again I thought, “No big deal.  This isn’t so bad”.  A nurse soon appeared to take us back to our room.  Already very comfortable with the environment at this point, Hannah decided that the rest of the office must be just like the waiting room and off she went.

The next 45 minutes were terrible.  Absolutely terrible.  I became “that” mom that I have always been so quick to judge.  I became the mom who seemingly had zero control over her child.  Normally obeyed commands went in one ear and out the other.  She whined to be picked up and then as soon as she was in my arms, she whined to be let down.  Over and over.  She searched through the trash can.  Ripped up the paper on top of the exam table.  Threw toys across the room.  Dropped everything.  Wouldn’t sit still.  And wouldn’t listen.  Her usual 5 second attention span was reduced to 2 seconds.  Who was this child and where did Hannah go?

Finally, it was time to go and I sheepishly apologized to the DR for the chaos who smiled a sympathetic smile and walked out.  I wanted to cry.  I was embarrassed.  Actually, embarrassment is an understatement.  I was humiliated.

On the drive home, I began to think and pray about what had just happened and why I felt so defeated.

“Kids are kids.  She’s only one.  That’s normal.  Give yourself some grace.”  

On the other hand…

“All this work for nothing?  We’ve been so intentional about trying to teach and train her.  She has shown so much progress.  Why does it always seem like 1 step forward and 2 steps back?”

Ultimately, it came down to this:

1.  When you care too much about what people think, God just may give you lots of opportunities to swallow your pride.  Better yet, plan on it.  And then be able to find some humor in the situation.  It’s good for you.

2.  Don’t judge.  It will come back to bite you.  In fact, fess up now in the areas that you have judged.  It’s never too late to apologize and repent.

3.  Maybe your child’s behavior isn’t always contingent upon your parenting.  This isn’t a “let me off the hook” plea because truly, I don’t want to make any excuses.  Nor is it an absolute.  We’ve read numerous books and sat down with numerous “been there before us” parents and though we’ve only been doing this for a year, we aim to be as intentional and consistent as possible.  We believe that you need a plan when it comes to parenting.  Both parents, if in the picture, need to be on the same page.  Consistency is HUGE.  Parenting isn’t something that we do casually on the side.  It is far too important of a calling.  Therefore, we are trying our best.  I am trying my best.  But I’ll be honest and say… it just doesn’t show sometimes.  The end result doesn’t always accurately depict the effort put in.  And that’s OK.  What matters the most is that we love Hannah the best that we can.

Just remind me of this tomorrow.  🙂

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Responses

  1. Oh Eliza Joy, I love your honesty and heart here. I’ve been the ‘other mom’ too. And, in truth, it is good for the soul – as it gives me a much greater compassion when I see other mothers out in public who are struggling. In fact, when I see ‘other moms’ now – I actually try to find a way to help distract their kids – playing peek-a-boo, pointing out something fun, giving a small empathy smile to the mom – something to make the mom feel safe and un-judged. Christ certainly had no judgement for parents, and a great tolerance for kids – even for kids who were straggling away from their parents and curious about their surroundings (i.e. – Him). And of course, if I am honest, I have had my fair share of ‘mental’ and sometimes not so mental disobedience, chaos, and even temper tantrums:) So, while of course, we work every day to train our children, give them a safe and predictable environment, and encourage obedient hearts, we also know that they are just kids. I certainly cannot expect my kids outward behavior to always be more sparkly and perfect than my inward behavior. They are just little people, after all:) I am sure Hannah is amazing – and I am sure you are doing a wonderful job! The fruit of your labor will pay off! Take heart!
    And your kids are adorable!
    ~marcy


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