This morning was not my finest as a parent. Not by a long shot.
Big Girl had her first public school costume parade. Little Girl had her first nursery school Halloween party. It should have been a fun morning. Instead, there was yelling and panic and angst.
Big Girl is dressing up like the storybook character Madeline. With her long, curly red hair and porcelain skin she’s a perfect double for the little French chick. She got up and wanted to get dressed. I had to pick what she was going to wear under the costume first, I explained. And then all hell broke loose. She didn’t WANT to wear anything under the costume! I was going to make her look stupid and ugly. The leggings I picked HURT when they were rolled up! I was so mean!
Meanwhile, in another room we have Little Girl. I took a break from the craziness in Big Girl’s room to remind Little Girl that she’s going to school — to a party! And she starts crying and telling me that she doesn’t WANT to go to SCHOOL. She wants to stay with MOMMY! She’s crying and losing her mind now. Me, I’m still wearing the nasty gray sweats and tank top I wore to bed. Glasses still on. Hair wild. So now I am running from one room to the next getting more and more agitated.
First I try staying calm. Then, when Big Girl gets louder and more obnoxious (and the cleaning lady arrives) I start feeling my usual Friday morning guilt about having a cleaning person to begin with. And now she’s got to hear my two spoiled kids yelling at me. And then Big Girl just gets louder. That I am SO MEAN. I’m stupid. She doesn’t HAVE to wear leggings. Where did I put her socks? WHY does she have to make her bed? She’s pushing all my buttons. All of them. And now I am losing it, too. I know I need to get out of there so I throw on my contact lenses, toss on the black sweatshirt I wore yesterday, and pull my hair back in a tight pony to control the frizz.
I barely get both of them out of the house (along with cookies for Little Girl’s party and the huge fruit salad for Big Girl’s party that I made). Little Girl refuses to wear her costume because, you see, she’s STAYING HOME WITH MOMMY! WHAAAAA. And Big Girl, who is now late for school, is telling me that she wants to know where the freaking Sqwishland toy that I gave her went. (Digression: Doing a big Sqwishland give away next week.) Because she HAS to bring it to school. And I lie and say I took it away from her because she was SO UNBELIEVABLY BAD this morning. And she probably won’t EVER get it back. And that sets her off sobbing and crying even more.
It’s now 9:20. She was due at class five minutes ago. We’re now sitting and not moving because every parent and grandparent in the area is now trying to find spots for the giant and joyous costume parade that I am now seriously doubting we’re going to make. So I become an even worse mother and tell Big Girl that because she was so terrible, she’s probably not going to make the parade, and I’m not going to get to see her if even if she does. Then I call my husband and scream at the top of my lungs how I CAN’T STAND IT! And how HORRIBLE Big Girl was to me. And how she’s SPOILED! And how humiliated I was that the woman who cleans my house had to hear how terrible my children are to me. How HER kids would probably kiss her feet if she was able to give them what we give our kids. My husband, my darling husband, tried to talk me down. But I hung up because we were sitting in a line of traffic that wasn’t moving, and had to make a risky move.
I pull off the road, do a U-turn, and go up to the major road to try and come in the back way. It works. I get to the school, park in front of a hydrant, grab the fruit salad, and run it and Big Girl, with her splotchy, tear-stained face, up to the school door. I don’t even kiss her. I have to run to drop Little Girl off.
I get to Little Girl’s school. She’s now clutching me like I’m a life raft. She’s sobbing. She’s crying. She wants me to STAY. She doesn’t want me to go. I make her go potty, put her into her costume, and give her a kiss. The teacher pulls her off of me and my heart is just breaking. For Big Girl and for Little Girl. I am now hollow inside. I can’t even stay to make sure she stops crying because I am needed at the elementary school. I can’t miss Big Girl’s parade.
I leave the school crying. I get back to the other school in record time, park illegally again, and run to the parking lot. The kindergarten kids are just starting to walk the parade route. And then I look around. Every freaking person looks like they are going out to dinner on a Saturday night. Full makeup. Nice clothes. Grandmas, dads, and moms. And there I am. One of those people. I could pass for a homeless person if it wasn’t for the fact that my skips are Coach and the two-day-worn jacket is Juicy Couture. I send my husband an email:
“Everyone is done to the nines with makeup and nice hair. Standing next to Insert Name of Couple We Know. All the dads are here.”
And then people start coming over and saying hi. Many of the same Brownie moms I saw yesterday when they dropped their kids off for a trip. And I’m feeling even worse because I know THEY all know I am wearing the same outfit from yesterday. But then I try and shake it off. I start focusing on the kids and their costumes. Neighborhood kids. My Brownies. The kids I teach religion to. My daughter, who is right in there looking proud. The only Madeline in a sea of candy corn witches and M&Ms. I start to smile. They look so happy. So cute. And so little. And then it hits me: I lost my mind this morning on a kid who is still only a baby. And then I feel guilty and sad again.
I walk back to my car with a heavy heart and call my husband. He’s great. He tells me that no one is going to make fun of me for looking the way I do. That everyone knows how hard I work. They understand. That I didn’t damage my kids with the things I said. (Ha! I disagree.) That we just have to focus on being happy and not sweating the small stuff. And that this, too, will pass.
And now I am here, blogging it all because I have to get this out of my body so I can continue my day. Thanks for listening.