I’m not perfect. I’ve never thought I was, nor claimed to be. That goes for parenting too. I make a lot of mistakes. When I do, I do my best to apologize to my children so they realize that even grown-ups mess up. In fact, grown-ups mess up a lot.
Like this morning.
This morning I made a big boo-boo and I’ve been letting the guilt eat at me all day. (It’s a shame I’m on a sugar hiatus because drowning my guilt in cookies sounds like a GREAT idea!)
My son has his first school project due on Thursday. I am known to be a procrastinator so I thought ahead for once and said “We need to work on this over the weekend.” We did and got most of it done. All that was left was for him to hand write “100 Kindergartners” across the top. I had planned to do an example for him so he could see how big he needed to write in order for it to all fit.
While putting on my make-up, he came in and asked me how to spell “kin.” I was super confused. I asked him if he meant like family and he shook his head.
I explained that kindergarten was one word, spelled it out for him and he went on his merry way. A few minutes later as I replayed the scene in my head, I got an uneasy feeling. When I walked into the kitchen, he had a green marker and had attempted to write his headline three or four times and crossed it out when he didn’t like it. I heard myself audibly gasp. Then before I could tell myself to shut my trap, I yelled “What are you doing???? NO. NO. NO.”
He looked at me, his eyes growing bigger by the second, suddenly feeling ashamed of what he’d done.
After I berated him with a few more sentences, I caught myself. WHAT WAS I DOING?
By this point, he was in tears. I led him by the shoulder into the living room and sat him in my lap. I promised him I would help fix his project and let him know he’d done nothing wrong. I apologized for yelling at him and explained why I was in the wrong.
Within ten minutes, he was fine. Now nine hours later, I am still not. I know I have to let it go. I apologized and it’s time to move on. But I’m stuck on the fact that I yelled at him for trying to do his project on his own, for taking initiative, for wanting to finish it. The only reason I yelled was because in my mind his first project was ruined. It wasn’t suitable for presentation.
Um, he’s in kindergarten. Seriously. I need to type that out again. KINDERGARTEN. This isn’t a college Thesis presentation. And it’s not my project, it’s his.
I’m really disappointed in myself right now, but I’m chalking it up to a stumble. There will be many more where this one came from. Unfortunately, many, many more.
This post was originally posted on the BabyCenter Blog.