It’s Not You, It’s Me

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My son has made it an artform: Slow motion. Procrastination. Dragging out the getting ready before school until the absolute last possible minute.

Truly. 

He is gifted.

The past two weeks have been more stressful than usual at work. His delay tactics have been perfected and so getting his clothes on can take upwards of 40 minutes or longer. 

This is sending me over the edge.

You may recall the timer incident some time back. I thought I had it all figured out. We are back to ground zero here. The thing about kids is just when you think you deserve the Mom Of The Year Award, they show you that you don’t know jack.

Sigh.

I have a closet full of his toys again. I have tried time outs and cajoling. Rewards. I pulled out the timer again. I tried making him miss breakfast if he does not dress in time. 

He didn’t care. 

Not one bit.

It is infinitely more interesting to practice karate moves, watching his reflection in the mirror. Is he really that vain?!?!? Please tell me he isn’t that vain…

“Mommy, I am a bad person.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because I do bad things. I can’t stop doing bad things.”

So I took a deep breath. I listened to myself and the meanness I hear in my voice as I am trying to motivate him to get ready and out of the house on time.

It’s not you, it’s me, sweetie…

I can’t control what is going on at the office so I am trying harder to control what is going on at home. The dressing thing matters more right now. He is sensing this and pushing back. THIS is the problem. MY problem. I am taking it out on my family. It isn’t fair and he does not have the words to articulate this. 

So he acts it out.

Mommy took a chill pill (figuratively) this morning. Things went a bit better and I praised him for it.

“I like it when you are happy with me, mommy.” He smiled from the back seat. 

I am not perfect. We will have this battle again soon, I am sure. Being a mother guarantees short term memory loss. I won’t remember and I will catch myself again as my sanity starts spiraling down the drain. 

And so for Mother’s Day this year I told my kids that I was sorry, that I loved them… 

… that I will work harder to leave work at work from now on.

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106 thoughts on “It’s Not You, It’s Me

  1. Victo, you’ve got an ongoing battle with that! The good thing is that you know and admit it! Reading this post, I knew I’d get to the bottom of it and read your wise motherly & doctorly solution. That’s what I like about your writing! Happy Mother’s Day! Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy Mother’s Day! ❀
    I still remember those days and then they started all over again with my granddaughters. As parents we can only do our best as we are only humans not super-heroes although some of that super power might come in handy now and again. ❀ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re doing fine Victo. They love you and you love them and that is what counts. Happy Mothers Day! (in case you don’t post again this weekend)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I understand from a wise source that you can’t make your children do anything. You can only make them wish they had. And then they will make you wish you had not made them wish they had.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I am intimately familiar with this situation.
    The timer DID help my son, who was then 8, and I am grateful. It was a tool in the behavior modification box.
    Sometimes when my kids are acting out, they’re going through their own things, but yes, you’re right, sometimes it’s us. When it’s me, I take extra care to dote on them a bit. Moo lashed out yesterday, because I wouldn’t let her put very large band-aids on her recently mulch-scraped leg. But this was actually because her sister has been getting far more attention because middle school time — lotsa special things for the transition. Sooo, Moo spent some time in the naughty chair, and had a long lecture from The Mister. But after, she helped with dinner prep, dishes, and then we snuggled up. Today I woke her up early and cuddled her, curled her hair and made her favorite breakfast.
    Also, I don’t know who this Abby is at school, but her mother needs to dote on her a bit as well, because that kid has a mouth on her. (Teaching Moo too sass like that!)

    Liked by 2 people

  6. THANK YOU for reminding me that parenting is really hard and that I am NOT a horrible mother! You are so right that just when you’ve got it figured out they change things up. We moms are always on our toes, it seems.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh I feel your frustration! My son, who is now 15, has always known how to stretch a minute and my daughter is the complete opposite where everything is a race. The upside is that my son isn’t compulsive – something I am very thankful for now that he is a teenager.

    I asked a child psychologist friend of mine for advice years ago when I too had patients waiting and needed to get to the clinic. She suggested a reward system, for instance using a candy heart every time he was ready by 8am. The candy hearts were then traded in for a desirable reward at the end of the week – something negotiated ahead of time. Positive reinforcement still works for me today getting my now teenage son out the door. Of course the rewards are more expensive for my husband and I now πŸ™‚

    We all do our best as Moms and I think that counts for a lot.
    All the best,
    Sara

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  8. My third born – Lizzie does that to me. I go drill sergeant on her sometimes. Which is probably why I have four daughter’s and no sons. LOL. Happy Mother’s Day. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You are me, a number of years ago! One thing I did was dress my son in the clothes he was going to wear the next day and put him to bed in them. Problem solved. Happy Mother’s Day and hang in there, This too shall pass… onto bigger problems!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. This really moves me because I had parents that were always angry and blamed me for everything. To me a good mother is when she can take a look at herself. Your kids are truly blessed to have you as their mother. πŸ™‚ Happy Mothers’ Day!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. My son is still the same way only now he is up and out of the house in ten minutes or less……it’s the feeling like Big Ben(the clock not the woman assaulter) for fifteen minutes….it’s 32….its 41, etc with lots of my grumblings in between. Hopefully your son will grow out of it. πŸ™‚

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    • Well, and that’s the thing. For how worked up I would make myself over everything, the one day I was even close to being late it was my own fault and not his. Because it does all work out no matter how hard or how little I fight. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Ah, the memories. When my son was about 4, I yelled at him in exasperation: “Why do you do this?” He said, “Because I’m bad.” I’d never said he was bad, or anything like that, but he must have assumed this because I was yelling at him too much. I don’t even remember what it was I yelled at him for, but I know I yelled a lot less after that. It’s nice when they’re old enough to be able to process these things with them on the ride to school. It will get easier, for a while, and then you have the teen years, which are a whole different kind of fun. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know this is something women everywhere have to be experiencing. I am not especially awful as a mother, you know? We just don’t talk about it to each other much, I think. Maybe it is just the women I am friends with? At any rate, thank you for sharing your own story here! πŸ™‚

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  13. Yes happy mother’s day. You are so right children have this sixth sense and pick up when we are stressed, irritable or just plain have our minds elsewhere. My eldest was a task master at the delay and wind up tacktick he can still use it to this day and he is nearly 42yrs old and doesn’t even live in the same county as me…. But I love him as much as the others. πŸ™‚

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  15. Thank you for sharing your stories–even your exasperations πŸ™‚ I’ve also been there many times, especially with my little girl who has some serious emotional issues. It can be very, very difficult and no book, video, podcast will ever teach you the proper way to handle any of it. It’s ok to feel all these things and know you have a huge community out here who will be around just to listen, if that’s what you need. Take care

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  16. It’s in moments like these that I am grateful I DON’T have kids, bc I know I would handle it all wrong, yelling at the little boy, screaming and almost manhandling him into getting dressed, and then lecturing HIM for being a bad kid.

    I think your way is better.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. The problem with giving people earlier deadlines is that I forget the time I really need them to be at my office. One of the things I did when I was working as a nurse was, that when I was done with my shift, I would take off my badge. That signaled my brain to put aside the day, the people and the crap. And taking the time on the drive home to settle myself, so I was ready to meet others (kids, friends,etc) in a more calm way. Conversely, when I arrived at work, I put on the badge and became Nurse Nancy, again.
    Have a great Mother’s Day tomorrow. Relax, enjoy yourself and laugh!

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  18. My 17 y.o. daughter takes that much time getting ready for school. I don’t have to go to work so it doesn’t bother me. But often when we are on the way and she looks at the time on the dashboard clock she asks me to hury and I just smile and put the car on cruise control and tell her that’s it.

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  20. I used to have a terrible time getting my younger daughter up in the morning and off to school. One time, I even poured water on her (it was just a little bit). πŸ™‚ Another time, her sister set her clock ahead and then told her she was late. By the time she was a senior in high school and driving herself to school, she managed to get herself up, dressed, make-up, breakfast–all in about 10 minutes. Once she went off to college, she never had a problem getting up. So. . .there’s hope. (On the other hand, my husband still has a hard time getting up.) Haha.
    Hope you had a great Mother’s Day!

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  21. I’ve been in this exact place with my kids when they were little. I’ve made and will make many mistakes. My kids are now teens and I enjoy them so very, very much (I enjoy them more now than when they were younger). We are all just doing the best we can and you sound like an excellent mum. I tell myself that when I do the “wrong thing” and then try to make it better, I’m teaching my kids that people (even moms) make mistakes. The important thing is that we learn and grow and move on. Sometimes not choosing the perfect thing to say or do is ok, because no one is perfect.

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  22. Don’t beat yourself up over this. All parents go through these periods of being swallowed by work and life, and unknowingly allowing their frustration to show to their kids. It’s called being human, and believe it or not, your kids won’t remember as much of it as you do. They know you love them. ❀ Oh, and P.S….. It is my experience that YES, growing boys ARE that vain! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

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