My oldest had a bit of trouble at recess this week. Too rough, not listening, you know the drill. When his teacher’s number popped up in the caller ID after school hours I knew it wasn’t a call to tell me about stellar behavior. Not that we get these calls all the time, but it isn’t our first time around this block.
We addressed the issue, had him come up with solutions, and I sent his teacher an email our steps so she could follow up at school. She opened her response with “You are such a great parent. You did all the right things to help R.”
Aside from it just being a plain old wonderful compliment, it was an important reminder of something my son has taught me from the beginning. You see, I pride myself in being a good mom. I’m not perfect, I make lots of mistakes big and small, and half the time I’m winging it, but overall I think I’m pretty good at this gig. And yet, my kids are lively, sassy, test boundaries, and are definitely not the angelic ones on the playground. “A handful” is a pretty good way to describe my crew (whoops, did I just scare away all potential babysitters?? they aren’t that bad, I swear!).
The thing is, you get what you get when it comes to kids. Some people get calm, quiet, and well-behaved children. Others don’t. So often we, as mothers, take the blame for our children’s behavior. When my kid does something at school and I get a call from the teacher, *I* feel like I’m in trouble. But no, just because my kids act up sometimes doesn’t mean I’m a bad mom.
One quote I often re-played in my head at the beginning was, “When my children misbehave, they give me a chance to use my skills.” I think that is such an important reminder for all of us. Our children’s behavior doesn’t speak to our ability as parents; it’s how we react to it that does.
My daughter’s school employs a “caught being a star” program. I think it’s such a good idea. Kids just going about their daily business with a surprise pat on the back. I daydream about walking around with a stack of these to hand out to parents I encounter.
I’d give one to the mom at the grocery store with the kid who’s screaming his head off because she wouldn’t buy the gummy bears. Nice job keeping calm boundaries mama!
I’d give one to the mom whose kid just hit another kid on the playground and she promptly packs him up to go even though it takes a football hold and octopus wrangling to get him out of there. Good job!
I’d give one to the parent of the pre-teen who just got a boatload of sass AND and eye roll. I wanted to give that kid an earful and she wasn’t even talking to me. Impressive control mom!
Hell, I’d give one to every mom pushing a full cart at the grocery store because, damn, these kids are always wanting to be fed and that is exhausting at times.
I’d give one to you too, with a little reminder on the back…when our kids misbehave, it’s just a chance to show the world what great parents we are.