I call my kids turds sometimes. They are turds. Sometimes. Not exactly endearing. Doesn't really build them up. Sometimes I'm a turd. Just calling it like I see it.
They act out, I over react in response. They apologize, I apologize, we move on. Yesterday was one of those days. They were absolutely rotten towards one another in a store. I was one of those moms. "Knock it off. STOP it, NOW. I mean it, you are NOT staying for dinner at Nicolas's house, we are going straight home. Don't you dare cry about it."
As they continued on with their turdness outside the store while I was loading everyone in, I made the statement, "You guys are being turds." Over the pollen laden rooftop of the Pontiac between us, our eyes met. Another mother.
I have felt the weight of her judgement for a solid day. I don't even know if she was judging me. I usually imagine things to be worse than they actually are. In my head, I've had a conversation with this other mother; my comrade in the war of motherhood. I've told her I really do try to be a good mom. I've reworked the scenario in which I, the good mom, asked my kids for a do-over, apologizing for calling them turds. I've explained(in my head)that 99% of the time I'm on the verge of tears from missing my family, my norm, my helper in all things parenting. In other moments over the guilt laden hours since our eyes locked, I've felt anger towards her judgemental glance(that I'm pretty sure I imagined). In turn, I found myself judging her and her taste in poufy children's clothes with matching bows. I've justified in the, "Like you've never snapped at your kids and said something regrettable!" way. I've reasoned, "You have girls, they don't act like boys!" I explained, "My kids never, ever call people names, despite my terrible example," and, "They don't even know the true meaning of the word!"
Mostly, though, I've felt shame.
This morning, while reworking the scenario again in my head(I obsess. It's a negative personality trait), it occurred to me that the only reason I cared is because another mother heard me. It didn't once hit me that I should be apologizing to the victims of my ill behavior.
With resolve to strike the word from my vocabulary(except for in this blog post), I asked the boys to forgive me.
My kids are pretty awesome. Despite my parenting.
I even got to teach them something about forgiveness, from the other side. I explained that the greatest thing about forgiveness is that we get to wipe the slate clean and start over.
*I thought about not posting this. I am still worried that someone out there in the yonder world of the internets will think less of my parenting. In reality, I need to care less what strangers think of me. I know I called my kids turds. They know I called them turds. Letting this live as a written reminder to build my kids up and not resort to name calling when they act out.
Is the word "punk" acceptable whilst parenting?