My car had a flat tire so we were getting ready to walk to school. Per the norm, no matter what time I wake-up or start getting the kids ready, the last 10 minutes before we are out the door is hectic. I had scheduled our Christmas picture shoot for yesterday afternoon so yesterday morning I pulled out a sparkling new pair of shoes for Cooper to wear.
You see, it does not matter that the new pair of blue Converse was the exact same as the old pair of blue Converse (but in the appropriate size 12 instead of the size 10 he's been jamming his feet into), they were new shoes and Cooper does not like new shoes just on principle. Period. End of discussion.
I knew it was going to be a fight but I put them on him anyway.
He cried. He raged. He took his shoes off. I put them back on. He threw himself on the ground. I picked him up. He threw his school bag down. I picked that up. It went on, and on, and on. Ridiculous, I know, but it had escalated to a point where I couldn't just let him cry and get his way.
Somehow I managed to get the three of us out the door, had Carrington in the stroller and was coaxing a crying Cooper down the driveway on his scooter. Then, he fell. He was lying on the ground, SCREAMING about his shoes in front of God and all of the neighbors when I totally lost it.
I grabbed his new shoes, chucked them against the garage so hard that it made Carrington cry and then I stomped off to go get his other shoes.
Not my proudest moment. I lost my temper and caved to his demands in one shoe-throwing instant.
About halfway to school I stopped him, apologized and told him that Mommy made a mistake. I shouldn't have gotten so angry and I definitely shouldn't have thrown shoes. Inside, I was thinking about how much trouble he would have been in if he acted like that.
The worst part was that I realized that his temper is MY temper. The reason that we go head to head so often is that we are so much alike. Unfortunately, the part of myself that I hate the most is manifested in him and on top of that I had just set a TERRIBLE example of how to act. Ouch.
After a somewhat normal/pleasant drop-off, I tucked in my quivering lip until I got out of the carpool circle and called Kyle. I knew what I was going to hear on the other end of the line and I knew it it was not going to be empathy. Unlike me, Kyle has no temper whatsoever (unless its about Aggie football, haha). Cool as a cucumber, that guy. In our 10 years together, he has never so much as raised his voice with me or called me an ugly name. (Guilty and guilty.) Shoe-throwing anger is a completely foreign concept to him.
After my "confession", I was in full blown beat myself up mode and made the phone call I always make when I need someone to listen and help me sort things out…my friend Chelsea. As college roommates, we used to call each other "2am friends" because it didn't matter what time of night it was, we were always there to talk. Same holds true (schmirteen or so) years later!
What she said was so perfect I wish I could have recorded it and listen to her telling me this before I start every day. Instead, I'll share with you because it is such a good message to all Moms out there!
Stop beating yourself up. You are not perfect and it's healthy for your children to see that. Use this as a teaching moment.
Knowing how alike Cooper and I are, she told me to think about what I would want Cooper to tell me if he had thrown the shoes (which I assure you he was seconds away from doing, ha!) and say that very thing to him.
So smart that friend o' mine! (P.S. C, this is why you are going to continue to get the first phone call whether you like it or not!)
So when I picked him up from school, I did as instructed. After a heartfelt discussion, I wrapped it up by telling him that I would try harder next time. His response? "Next time I'm crying just let me wear my different shoes, ok Mom?"
We'll get there. One day at a time buddy man…