Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Superman and Old MacDonald

It was a difficult evening.  The commute home was long and slow.  I was trying to figure out what on earth we would eat for dinner.  I decided that I'd get the girls first, then make a quick trip to the grocery store for salsa and sour cream.  I was pretty sure I had everything else I needed for black bean quesadillas.  

Daycare pick-up started out just fine.  But after generously allowing them to play on the playground for a few minutes, I ended up counting down from three, screaming my children's names, and chasing after them one time too many.

There is no one else or no other thing in this world that gets me so angry as when my kids don't listen to me.  Especially at the end of a long day.  It would feel so good to yell.  But in the presence of other people, this doesn't seem acceptable. Which just makes me more angry.  The seething beneath the surface, deep breath, mental count down from ten, kind of angry.

I swear, I never had a temper before I had kids.

Dealing with difficult, insolent behaviour in front of other parents shouldn't be hard. They must all deal with the same things too.  So why do I worry that they are judging me, thinking that I have no control, that I'm too strict, that I need to be a more consistent with discipline, that I need to relax.  I'd love if people would look at me with three little kids in tow and think 'wow, she's really got it together'.  Instead, I'm afraid that people are thinking 'wow, that poor haggard woman really needs some help'.

I picked up Superman from the after school program for my oldest daughter. Superman is incredible. 

When the counsellors say Superman, the kids all stop what they're doing, look at the counsellor, put their hand in the air and their finger on their lips. There is silence.

I've started using Superman (albeit less successfully) at home. Sometimes I think I need someone to use Superman on me.

After a bit of a breather and snuggle at home, and a text noting that Husband wouldn't be home until at least 7, I made a decision about dinner. Old MacDonald to the rescue.

(My kids aren't the only ones to confuse McDonald's and Old MacDonald, are they?)
As it turns out, today was McHappy Day.  The girls were greeted by Ronald when we walked into the restaurant, and Olympic swimmer Zsofi Balasz sat with us to eat her Happy Meal. The kids had fun, and in spite of feeding them chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers and French fries, I felt somewhat redeemed knowing that I was supporting a worthwhile cause. McHappy Day helped to make me happier.

I also read this great post about acknowledging the difficulties of parenting young children.  It came to me at just the perfect moment.

And then, finally, the girls were asleep.

It was a happy ending to a challenging evening after all.