Sunday, March 6, 2011

is it me?

{Disclaimer: If you decide to read this blog post, it is a long and rambling one...just thought I'd warn you.  If you decide not to read it, no worries.  I still love ya.}

Reid was our only child for 5 1/2 years.  {The journey to Grant was an unexpected 3 1/2 year struggle, but that's a whole other blog post}.  During those 5 1/2 years, Reid became accustomed to the world revolving around him.  Every decision we made was about him.  Parks, play dates, the Zoo, Sea World, tumbling, our days were packed with making sure he got the best childhood possible.  At bedtime, the three of us huddled in his room, playing a family board game and then reading a story together every night.  When Grant came along, things changed.  For the most part, Reid has adjusted well to sharing our attention, but there are times when he acts out or gets really needy and that's my cue that he needs alone time with us to be reassured of how special he is and how much he is loved.

That was my plan for yesterday.  I had the whole day scheduled.  Reid had opening day ceremonies for baseball at 9am, then Mark's mom would come over to watch Grant and Reid and I would hit the road for our "date".  We were going to see a movie that he had been asking about and then we were headed to the beach to watch the annual kite festival.  We had from 11am-4pm.  Reid was stoked and so was I.  I love our dates.

At baseball Reid started in with "Can I have a play date?"
"No, we have a date today, remember?"
"Oh, yeah.  How about after our date?"
"Maybe.  We'll see.  How about we talk about it then?"

The rest of the day was filled with "Can I have a play date?"  While we were getting candy, while we were in the bathroom before the show, while we were waiting for the movie to start, as soon as the movie was over, on our way to the filled the whole day.  "Can I have a play date?" and "Am I gonna get a play date?"

Then at the beach it was, "Can we just go home so I can have a play date?"

I was completely annoyed.  I tried to gently encourage him to enjoy the fun thing we were already doing and to appreciate the morning that we'd had, and to be grateful, but the concept was lost on him.

When we got home and Grandma left, Reid started in immediately.  "What about the play date?"  I was beyond irritated at this point.  I was thinking 'Do you realize that I just dropped $50 to see a mediocre movie and fill your tummy with junk food just so that I could spend time with you and show you how much I love you?'

What came out was, "I wish that you could be grateful and see that I've tried to make this day special.  I wish that you could be thankful for the day we have already had instead of wanting more, more, more."  He threw himself into my lap, "Oh Mommy.  Thank you.  Thank you for the movie and the icee and the sour patch.  Thank you Mommy.........Can I have a play date?"  Ugh.  I was done.  "No, no play date.  You are going to learn to appreciate all that you do have."  At which point, he lost control.  After throwing himself on the floor and crying and having a fit, he got sent to a time out in the corner.  Things only continued to spiral downhill.  In his time out, he proceeded to hit and kick everything around him.  So he lost his Wii privilege for the day.  In between loud and dramatic wails I got, "all I can think is that you are just a mean lady" and "this is the most terrible day ever" and "I hate Saturday's".

I was so frustrated.  I was on the verge of tears.  No one ever tells you that being a mom is this hard.  No one ever writes in the baby shower card, "Wow, good luck with this journey.  Sometimes it really sucks and sometimes you will do a really crappy job at it.  All the best!"  

Mark walked in the door from his long day at the shop a few minutes later and I rushed out the door so fast you would have thought the house was on fire.  "I'm sorry.  I need a break.  I'll be back in an hour.  Love you.  Kiss."  Poor guy was barely in the door and Reid was still in the time out corner.

I drove around, thankful for my errands and all I could think was, "Is it me?  Have I created this?  Have I indulged him so much that nothing is ever good enough and it's always more, more, more?" and those thoughts were followed by wondering if this is just normal.  "Is this just being 7?  Do I expect too much out of this little child, wanting him to act as though he has the social graces of an adult?" 

I finally came to the realization that it's a little bit of all of that.  He is only 7 and I should have answered the play date question directly in the morning by saying "No.  Today is just for me.  I can't wait to have you all to myself and we are not going to have a play date today."  Boom.  That would have ended it.  If he asked again I could have reminded him that I had already answered about that.  

Instead I gave him a hope by way of "maybe" and that fueled the rest of the day's whining.  I also think that I need to be a bit less indulgent with him.  I need to work harder to teach him lessons of gratitude and cultivate a thankful spirit in him.  I am not sure exactly how I go about this, but I am going to try.

When I got home I found this note on my desk:

{It says: "I'm sorry because I was mean.  Love Reid P.S. Your the best. Love Reid"}

My heart melted.  His mood was improved, he apologized and led me to his room, which he was so proud that he had cleaned all by himself.  The rest of the night was much easier, {thanks in large part to the margarita that was waiting on the counter when I got home.  Thanks, Babe}.

No one ever tells you how hard it will be, but at the same time, no one ever tells you how your heart will feel like it could burst because you love them so much.  I just want to be a good mom, who raises good kids, who grow up to be good citizens and most of all I want them to know that they are loved beyond belief.

Being a mom is so much harder and more exhausting and complicated than you ever imagine it will be, but I wouldn't change it for the world.

{If you read this whole thing, thanks for letting me vent.  I needed that.}


  1. turned out to be a perfect lesson day. Believe it or not everyone in your sweet family benefited from it...I hope this little story helps. I have a 26 year old son, his name is Jay.(oh I love him)... He lives on his own,(a sports director at a TV station)in Idaho. Last week he took the time to call and thank us for teaching him the skills to work through a problem or an occasional melted my empty nest mom heart!
    Sometimes the best mom (and dad) days are not fun! You and Mark are amazing parents...your sweet note from Reid was like my phone call from Jay!
    Being parents is the toughest role ever!
    Take care! *Lynne*

  2. I read the whole thing.

    Laughed at the baby card thing. I think we're all too scared to be the ones to say "it's gonna suck sometimes, like BIG time and your heart will hurt a lot".

    Although I think you still handled it way better than I would have!! good on ya. You're a good Mama.

  3. Thank you for this post I am taking note for when my little guy gets bigger and when we have more kiddos (god willing) to balance. Being a mommy is the toughest job ever but it is also so rewarding.....even on a tough day. I mean you already have a new just say no initially and you know when to get out too! I hope you have an easier Sunday!

  4. I appreciate this post. My son is only 2, but as we all know, they actaully grow up! One day I will experience something like this and remember that I am not alone! Thank you for your honesty.

  5. I'm so writing those exact words in the card of the next baby shower I go to! JK, but it's so the honest truth...I think people would benefit knowing motherhood is filled with the good and the bad. We have lots of those days around here and I have to say my mommy friends keep me sane. It's nice to just know you're not alone. We're all doing the best we can in this journey and I think you're doing an AMAZING job!

  6. Amber I feel you pain! I get the exact same thing and no it is not you. We all make decisions on how to raise our kids and then all those plans go out the door sometimes. We mean well and we are learning too. I think that the important thing is that you love your kids and teach them as best you can, you will win some some and lose some but never give up! You are a great mom and Reid knows it!

  7. I've often wondered those same things when I plan nice things for my daughters and they seemingly explode in my face. Good to hear that it turned out nicely. :)

  8. That sounds exactly like the same thing that happens at our house! Our daughter was an only for the first 4 years - she's now 5 and 1/2 and we try to do something special with only her at least once every couple weeks, and sometimes she's perfect and loves it and then other times she acts up the entire time and makes the whole special outting miserable. I have no idea why they do it - but I'm right there with ya! Glad to know that it's not just me!

  9. I so love this post. I have these days often with my almost 4 year old. I wish we had a handbook we could refer to, because everyday we as parents learn and grow just like our children! Motherhood (and fatherhood) is a very rewarding job, but at times like that... you just want to scream. It's refreshing to know that so many other moms out there go through it, and are courageous enough to blog about it. Keep doing what your doing :)

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