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This blog post is late. Should have been up this morning — I typically write the night before and schedule them to post automatically. However, my husband had his fourth surgery yesterday so I didn’t write last night. I’m glad I didn’t. This morning I made a big parenting mistake, and I’d love to hear what people think. Advice is always welcome, too. But before I get to that, let me update yesterday’s post: Mandated HPV Vaccines? Not My Kid.

My state legislator, Assemblyman Joseph Saladino called this morning and left me a message. I had asked him for more information about the bill to remove parental consent regarding the HPV vaccine. Here’s what he said: “The bill in question is A778. It is sponsored by Amy Paulin. Right now we have been told that it’s not coming before us any time soon, and they are not able to give us any update of where it is going right now. It’s in a holding zone.” (Note to anyone who lives in Scarsdale, Eastchester, Tuckahoe, Bronxville, Pelham, Pelham Manor, New Rochelle or White Plains: Maybe it’s time to make a few phone calls to your local representative?)

However, after doing a little more research it does appear that the bill did move recently, being transferred to the Health committee. Just because the bill isn’t being voted on today doesn’t mean we can sit back and ignore the fact that this bill is real, it’s on the table, and it’s something that can be put into effect on someone’s whim. We can’t let this slide. It’s time to make it known how you feel. If you live in New York State, make some calls, people.

Okay, so on to my husband’s butt again. Since he responded to my last post, I can explain a little more. He had a fistula. He went for a full fistulaectomy yesterday. When the doctor got in there he found it was very deep and very long. He did a partial repair. We’ll keep our fingers crossed this will fix it. Which brings me to one of the reasons I am so late writing this.

Today I had to get Big Girl off to school by myself. Usually, we divide and conquer. I take the downstairs part. Chris handles the upstairs part. I make her lunch, get breakfast out, do her hair, make sure she’s got everything, and get her on the bus. Chris picks out her clothes and makes sure she gets out of bed and gets dressed. (I shower her the night before.) But he’s in a lot of pain and loopy on meds, so it’s all me for a few days. Okay, so this morning I go in. Big Girl, who isn’t a morning person, and is experiencing a bout of six-year-old independence, is just plain nasty to me. Whining and telling me I am not allowed to pick her clothing. It escalated, but she’s finally dressed. I spot her clean undies on the floor. “Do you have underwear on,” I ask. I check and she does, but they are from yesterday. I tell her to go downstairs so we can get her out of the house. She starts yelling at me that she wants to change them first. I just want to get her fed and get her out of the house so she’s not too late for school. We get downstairs and the screaming continues.

I’m mad. She’s mad. We’re both sniping at each other. It gets so bad that Chris, in his post-operation, medicated fog comes downstairs. We continue going back and forth. She’s whining up a storm. As an adult, I should have controlled myself, but I must admit it bothers me that she is an angel for Chris. Doesn’t say a peep in the morning. But any time I get involved with her morning routine, I get crap. So there we are. She’s saying how mean I am. How I am “poopy.” And I feel like I am going to cry. I said that I knew Big Girl loved me, but it didn’t feel like she likes me very much. Then Chris goes, “She doesn’t give me a problem in the morning.” And I lost it. “Fine, then I will take care of Little Girl from now on and you can take care of Big Girl.” Poor Big Girl. Hearing that, her face crumbled. Chris flew at me, telling me to get out of the kitchen. He was so angry. And disappointed. He brought her into the den and consoled her. I stood there still seething, but now angry at myself, too. The drama continued for about ten more minutes. It ended with me hugging Big Girl for a long time, both of us apologizing, and me saying that I said what I said because I was so upset and hurt. Ten minutes later I was driving Big Girl to school. She was happy and holding her sister’s hand. But I worry about the damage that I inflicted today.

This parenting thing is very hard to do. It takes courage, patience, perseverance, love, the ability to overlook things. It takes time and insight and introspection. I made a huge error today. I used none of the required skills. I acted like a child. I added another “issue” to the litany of issues Big Girl will complain about someday. Heck, she might complain about them today when she gets home. The only thing I can do is start again, right? There are no do-overs in parenting. No out-of-bounds. I made a mistake. A big one. I’m so sorry about it. What else can I say?

What’s the biggest parenting mistake you’ve made? How did you bounce back from it? I need some advice — that’s for sure.

4 Responses to “Mish-Mash Tuesday: HPV update, hubby’s surgery, kid melt down”

  1. Christina says:

    We ALL say things we shouldn’t–believe me. Since my husband moved out, I have blurted things about him in front of my kids that I shouldn’t have, cried in front of them, told them that they’ve hurt my feelings and other stuff that I regret. I think copping to it (as you did) and apologizing is what makes the difference. No parent is perfect, especially when other parts of life get stressful. Kids can get on your last nerve and sometimes we snap. I say forgive yourself. You are an incredibly sensitive and self-aware mom. Sometimes I think it’s good for kids to see us snap and to learn that everyone has their limits.

  2. Aw, Karen, I could have written this post! I bet almost every mother on the planet could have, for that matter.

    In fact, I’ve been through much the same sort of issue with my non-morning-person son. I’m not a morning person either, so it has gotten ugly. Since your hubby normally does the job and it works, I won’t bother to tell you what I ended up doing to get things under control, but suffice it to say that I sympathize with your plight this morning.

    I have made many, many, many parenting boo-boos and I have nightmares about the amount of counseling my children will someday need because of all the ways I’ve damaged them. Whenever they tell me I’m “the best mom ever” or something similar, I say thanks, but inside I’m thinking, “Uhhh, NO, I’m not.”

    But like you said, kids know we’re human and they learn from us how to recover from mistakes. You apologized, which is hugely important and a wonderful example to your daughter. You also showed her your hurt and frustration. Kids need to know that moms aren’t Super Woman and that we have feelings they can hurt too!

    Trust me, you are far more upset about this whole incident than Katelyn is. My guess is she won’t remember it. I’m sure there is no long-term damage, though as moms, who by nature seem to have the word “guilt” as our mantra, we can’t help but think so.

    I agree with Christina — we have to forgive ourselves and plug ahead. With all the stress I’ve had in my marriage and now divorce, as well as dealing with depression on top of it, I’ve done some things that make me cringe when I think about them, simply because I snapped and couldn’t cope. (Therefore I don’t think I could name just ONE biggest parenting mistake…) But I always, always apologize and honestly, coming from a house where the parents never apologized, I think that’s the most important measure when parents make a mistake.

    You’re doing great. The fact that you’re worried about this shows what a wonderful mom you are. =)

  3. tracy says:

    I’ve had lots of moments like that. Moments that made me shudder after I calmed down. But a friend told me don’t worry so much, because it’s your OVERALL parenting that sets the tone for their childhood and their adult reflections on it. I like to think I’ve learned from these episodes – will never happen again because my ideals for parenting are so important to me – and yet I know it will happen again. The important thing is to own it, which you do, and not focus on guilt. When Katelyn left for school, she probably really was at peace again – that’s how inherently optimistic kids are. We have to remember they are truly secure of our love for them. And isn’t it part of life to love your parents in spite of their human flaws? Besides, if they could somehow be raised by a saint, how would they be prepared for the world’s reaction when they screw up out there?

  4. Christina Le Beau says:

    The others have said it very well — we’ve all been there, we’re all human — but I just wanted to add that I also have a 6-year-old daughter, and her Jekyll/Hyde personality these days can be infuriating. It helped a lot for me to read a book called “Yardsticks,” which details children’s development by age. Age 6 is a pivotal time in a child’s life (some believe the most pivotal in terms of learning), fraught with both excitment and anxiety as they test the limits of their growing independence. The resulting emotions and behaviors can be pretty strong. But I deal with things so much better since reading this book. Hang in there. Oh, and I laughed in recognition because my husband and I do the exact same (downstairs/upstairs) divide-and-conquer routine in the morning. And yes, it works much better if we stick to that plan!

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