Mommy Meltdown

It's not pretty.

And no, it wasn't even directed at my kids. Another parent pushed probably my most sensitive button today. The "Your kid's a monster and mine is perfect," button.

See, I KNOW my kids are not perfect. And while I do try diligently to get them to behave as closely to that ideal as I can, I am completely aware of their flawed, human nature. (How could I not be when I am so acutely aware of mine and I know that in large part they are little replicas of me?)

But what I also know is that other kids are NOT perfect either. And I know that in a dispute between a 3 year old (mine) and a 6 year old (not mine) there are certainly two perspectives and two accounts and the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.

Also keeping in mind that I was watching said altercation and I did see mine (not perfect) jump over [not mine]. What I did NOT see was Mine hitting [not mine].

When I saw Mine jump over [not mine] I went to the play structure to instruct Mine to stop jumping as there were now too many kids to do that safely.

Mommy Meltdown began when parent of [not mine] came to tell me Mine hit [not mine] (which I did not see,) and that Mine "needed to come down for a time out." When I responded that I was watching and didn't see Mine hit [not mine] I got a patronizing, "Mine doesn't lie." When I further responded that I was watching and didn't see the 3 year old hit the 6 year old, but that, "I'm handling it," Mr. Smug only got more patronizing.

Now see, when my kids do something that I didn't witness, I don't typically take a third-hand testimony (otherwise known as 'hearsay') of what happened over 1) my own personal witness of the situation and 2) my own child's testimony of the situation. And I NEVER let the hearsay party dictate the where, when and how of any discipline that the situation may require.

But, when I couldn't get Mine's attention enough to communicate clearly, I told both of Mine to come down; that we were going to leave. When I asked if Mine hit [not mine] he told me no, and that [not mine] had stepped on him.

Now, I am working to get him to understand that it doesn't matter what someone else does and whether it was on purpose or not, you don't put your hands on someone else--even as a matter of protecting yourself (under those kinds of playground collision incidents. We'll get into the defending yourself against bullies and such when he's old enough to under the difference between accidental and intent to harm, etc).

I should have stopped there and left, but my 'overdeveloped sense of justice' couldn't leave well enough alone and I decided to tell [not mine's] dad that before he leaps to conclusions and tells other people how to handle things, it might be good to get some context. (As in, my 3 year old was responding to being stepped on by the 6 year old which got left out of [not mine's] version of the story.)

More patronizing; new claims of witnessing the situation; more insinuations that [not mine] and siblings are above reproach, mine are out of control monsters and I suck as a mom. At least that's how it felt.

So, my apologies to:

  • [not mine's] dad for my parting shot about your kids being perfect and my kids being monsters and that's why we're leaving. And my further apologies (after your smug nod) for my final remark that "it must be nice to have such perfect children; I hope they stay that way." My actual hope is that you see your children for the flawed human beings they are so that they don't grow up with an unfortunate sense of entitlement.
  • My kids. I DON'T think you're 'monsters' and today, I don't even think you did anything especially wrong. I am sorry [not mine's] dad pushed my buttons and turned me into the Mommy-monster.
  • Parents I encounter in the future who may take it upon themselves to tell me when and how to discipline my kids for an incident that you didn't see. I am all for being told about something that I didn't see, but if I am already handling a situation, giving me additional information might be helpful; bossing me around will not be.
  • Hubs--just in case [not mine's] dad is someone you cross paths with in a work context or something; I don't think I gave Mr. Smug the best impression.


Genny said...

Wow. I feel for you! I think I probably would've handled it the same way. And I agree; I'm all for feedback, but I'll pass on the bossing, thankyouverymuch.

I've had a few situations where I could feel the glares of other moms, or the judgment, and I think the last thing we moms need is to be pointing fingers at each other. None of our kids are perfect and neither are we! :)

Thanks so much for sharing, Mary! Also, the link list you put this in pulls repeatedly each Monday, so if you want to come back and add your general URL for Refresh Moments, you are more than welcome to. That way, people can click on your site if they want on Mondays and say hi or read whatever post you have up.

Have a great day!


oh - I feel for you. Because I've been there. Many moons ago - but I still remember it all. I could write some long advice post about parenting - after raising 3 [now adults] who have 8 [my grandkids] between them.

But the truth is - I was not such a great Mom and I made a lot of mistakes. I'm a sinner and so are my kids - comes with the territory of being human!

All that to say - the best advice I can offer is to PRAY diligently for your kids. Pray for their heart attitudes - for their understanding of God and His ways - - pray for their sin to be forgiven - pray for their [young]
salvation - pray that when they come to Christ is full surrender that they will be able to see others as He sees them - thus their actions should be different.

PRAYER is the only concrete thing that will make a differnce in their lives. And it is a vital part of parenting. Even now - actaully more so - I pray for my children and grandchildren that they would follow Christ with all of their heart, mind, soul and spirit.

I pray THAT for all of us!

Being a Mom [or a Dad] is not easy. Never is - never was. But God's Word gives us the guidelines we need for instruction with our children. Communication is key... and you already know that!

Now last advice - take a long hot soak in the tub [with no little ones to interrupt] and use it to PRAY for them - and for your family! God will cleanse you and splash you with His love. Let Him refresh you!

Choosing JOY,
[JESUS - the One I EXTOL]

Jackie said...

Just wanted to add that whoever Not Mine's Dad was... he took great liberties in telling you how to discipline your child. Hmmf! That just shouldn't be done. Pointing our what he felt happened yes, but telling you how you should handle your child... NO. I hope I would never be so forward!

Genny said...

Just popping by to invite you to my "Mom-Monday giveaway," if you have a minute. :) Christy Nockels is giving away three free CDs of her new album. She's a beautiful singer.

Jo said...

Hi - I worked with 2 mums (older women) who thought their children were perfect - beautiful, clever and never did a thing wrong. My sons were normal, they misbehaved, got up to mischief and did what boys did. I often felt uncomfortable talking about the children as I would usually hear "my daughter would never do that, she is gettings A's at school - isn't yours?"

I don't understand why some mums have to be pretend that they have perfect children?! Whereas I am probably too honest:)


Anonymous said...

I cannot believe a parent TOLD you to put yours in time-out! That's like overstepping a boundary! I think you handled the situation perfectly - and the other parent over-reacted.

I have found that parents who do not think their children are not fallible, have a lot of cleaning up messes later. Keeping yourself honest about your children is a vigilant job.

I get really frustrated when people do not adhere to my sense of civility in social situations. I don't think he handled the situation civilly!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I have been the parent who needs a time out along with my son. I bet the other parent has too.

TanyasTreasureTrove said...

Hi! I'm following you from Mom Monday's blog hop!I hope you visit me and return the follow:0)

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