I'm a single parent with two small daughters at
home, ages eight and five. And while their dad is involved in their
lives, I am the primary parent.
This means that I'm responsible for 95 percent of what's
needed for these two. It's my job to keep track of this plethora of
paperwork and remember what is supposed to be returned to school on
any given day. In addition to paperwork, this time of year also
brings a new set of challenges as each child needs to have boots,
mittens, hats, scarves, snow pants and shoes that are transported
back and forth.
We need to leave the house at a certain time so that no
one is late (especially me). This has not changed in two years. And
yet every morning at 7:55 a.m., a frenzied mess occurs that I can
usually handle calmly because it's like "Groundhog Day." The same
thing happens, over and over and over. Two little girls scramble
and bicker and push and shove and FINALLY get their act together to
get out the door SOMEWHERE close to the right time so that no one
is late. I use logic and reason, play referee and we move along
with our day.
Except when I lose my mind. And then the meltdown
Like last week when one child couldn't find a mitten. Yep,
just a mitten. That's all it took for me to lose it. Why that day?
I have no idea. But when the usual bickering started and the panic
of, "I can't find my mitten," was followed with the accusations of,
"She did something with it!," somehow all common sense and reason
left my body and I lost it.
I won't go into great detail about my rant, other than to
say that there was yelling, an unpacking of everything they had
already had packed for school and a relocation of laundry room
appliances in the search of the missing mitten.
(Please keep in mind that my laundry room is also our coat
closet and our mudroom. And I can stand in the middle of the room,
stretch my arms wide and touch both walls because it's that
narrow. Great visual, huh?)
10 minutes later and still no mitten, I was on the
downswing of above-mentioned meltdown and decided that she will
just go to school without it when I glance over at my girls. Gone
were their usual smiling faces. They were just staring at me with
sad eyes. I had totally deflated them by raising my voice over
something as stupid as a mitten. I'd started their day making them
feel crappy about themselves over a mitten?
I felt about three inches tall.
Tardy bell be damned, I plopped down on the kitchen floor
and had my girls sit on the floor with me. I apologized to them for
raising my voice. I told them that I was wrong. I didn't make
excuses or find a way to blame them for my actions.
I own my poor behavior. I ask them how it made them feel
when I raised my voice. We talked about it until they both felt
better and I didn't rush them. They accepted my apology and we
talked about finding ways to lessen the craziness in the morning to
make it easier on all of us.
I want us to start the day with smiling faces and warm
hearts; knowing that whatever the day may throw at us, we have each
other to come home to at the end of the day. They need to know that
their mother is always their safe place to land. Not the person
that is going to flip out over a missing mitten. I'm never going to
be perfect, and I am definitely going to make mistakes, but I want
to do everything I possibly can to avoid seeing the sad and
deflated faces that I saw on that morning.
With everyone feeling better, we hugged it out, got up off
the kitchen floor and jumped in the car.
Where we found the missing mitten.
Jennifer Evers is a 40-something blogger and small business owner living in the Chicago suburbs with her two young daughters and a DVR full of reality television shows. She blogs about her life at Me, Myself and Jen (www.memyselfandjen.com) - single parenting, recipes, crafts and home projects, crazy things her children do, travel, celebrity encounters, community events and those wacky "Real Housewives."
See more of Jennifer's stories here.
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