It was dinnertime, and everyone was tired. My 8-year-old sat down and promptly got up again, declaring that he had to poop. The toddler took one look at her meal and said that she hated her dinner and me and Tuesdays. I tried to bite my tongue because I had been with them all day, and it had been one of those hard days. There had been bickering and wrestling and tattling and ungodly things done to their bathroom with water and dirt and glitter glue.
The toddler threw her fork, the older kid started whining, the phone started ringing, and the dog started barking. It’s like the portal to pure chaos had been opened right inside my kitchen and I was watching it all from the other side, trying not to get sucked in. My kids started fighting over whose cup of milk had the most milk in it, and in the commotion, the 8-year-old managed to tip over his sister’s chair and then she cracked her knee on the floor and started to cry.
All of a sudden, it was just too much and I snapped.
I yelled. I took away family movie night and dessert for the rest of their lives, making the toddler even more hysterical, and I sent the 8-year-old to his room. All in all, it was a catastrophe and not one of my proudest parenting moments.
I knew that my husband, who had just walked in the door minutes before, didn’t necessarily agree with how I decided to handle the situation. We both knew that everyone was just hungry and that, in two bites, the whole family dynamic would have shifted. Someone would have made a terrible joke about butts or farts (it’s always butts or farts) and everyone would have laughed. The tension would have been relieved. The night could have been salvaged. I was wrong to snap, and we both knew it.
But there are some reasons why he supported me anyway:
We have taken a metaphorical blood oath to back each other up.
Basically, we don’t want to undermine each other in front of them because we figure showing a united front shows them that they can’t pit us against each other in future battles. Yes, it’s basically a battle strategy.
He didn’t want to add to the situation by tossing in some bickering between us.
That just adds fuel to the already rapidly spreading flames of insanity that’s happening. Then the whole family is crying and the dog is hiding and our neighbors avoid us in the streets.
It’s okay for my kids to see me fail.
Sometimes I am a great mom and sometimes I fall short. At least if I admit it when I fall short, I’ve done that part right.
It’s also okay for them to have some consequences for being little brats.
There are breaking points for human psyches and I want them to know when they’ve reached mine. Mama’s crazy tipping point, so to speak.
He’s been in the exact same position as me.
And I supported him, even though I thought he was nuts. Later, we hash it out and talk about what we could have done better.
We were able to salvage that night. I calmed down and I apologized to the kids for losing it and we made the best of a bad situation. They got to see me fail and live through it, so they know that they can screw up and still be loved too.
So, while my husband and I definitely don’t always agree when it comes to parenting decisions, hopefully our little darlings won’t ever know it.
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