This morning on our way out the door Naveen asked for cookies. If he was already dressed in his outside gear I would have likely said “no, sugar in the morning is not good for a kid’s brain.”
Except I was running late and the thought of chasing him down to get his coat and hat on was exhausting. So I grabbed a mini bag of Chips Ahoy and used it to buy his cooperation. After that I realized Shaune had Deaglan’s backpack and lunch box in his car. He was already gone to work while Deaglan’s unpacked lunch sat on the counter.
I could have cried.
On the way to Deaglan’s school I apologized to both kids for yelling. “Mornings are hard on Mommies,” I explained. It’s become something of a ritual, my contrition. I am rarely my best mothering self weekday mornings. I told them, like I try to do every morning on our drive, that they are good kids.
And if it’s been a particularly bad morning, then I find a sympathetic friend at work to help assuage my guilt. I tell them what an awful parent I am; admit how crazy I acted. I welcome any number of compassionate responses: A childless friend could say something like, “I don’t know how you do so much before even getting here in the morning!”
And just like that I am restored.
Someone with older kids might admit to having had many similar mornings herself - that it’s all just normal and par for the course. If I don’t believe that she would act as nutty as I did that morning, I might nudge her a little for an example – a time when she lost her cool, mixed profanity with religion because sometimes saying “Oh my f%#@*ing god” seems like the only justified response to a five year old refusing to put his shoes on even though he’s been asked 50 times.
A good friend will search her memory for a similar story - even tarnish an innocuous instance if she can't think of anything, just to make me feel better.