They say parenting brings out the best in a person. Parenting has brought out a lot in me; sides of me I had never seen before and hope to never see again. I sure hope that's not the best of me because if it is at best I'm crabby, irrational and always tired.
Yesterday I finished up my shopping. I was at Target in the kids' shoes looking at boys' slippers. There was another mom there with her three sons. They were also looking at boys' slippers. One of the sons, in particular, was being difficult about choosing a pair of slippers that fit correctly. And the mom was being just as difficult. Later, I heard her again; still being difficult in the boys' clothes department. She had had enough; she needed a break.
Years ago, before I had kids, I would have judged her a bad mom. I would have felt sorry for her boys. I would have thought how I would do it differently. Today, she got no judgment from me. I have been there....many times...many, many times.
In fact, every parent has been, and if you can't admit to it, then you or your children are angels disguised as humans or you or your children are robots. The mom I saw today needed some time alone and perhaps a glass of wine or a cup of tea or a whole bag of chocolate kisses or a hot shower or a good night of sleep or something else, but she'll get over her funk; I can't guarantee that the difficult son will go over his mood, but she will. And this doesn't mean she's a bad parent; this just means she's human.
Parenting is always a challenge; life is often difficult; and life in Minnesota during the very short days and long, dark nights of December is cruel. Getting upset with your child is normal, but there is never, never, never a time that punching your child in the face is alright. Sadly, this past week, a Twin Cities man did just this to his 8th grade son.
The man and his son were walking out of school after the son's basketball game and he began punching his son repeatedly in the face. I don't know this man's story, but I don't have to. There is simply never a time that it's OK to punch your child; not at home in private; not at school in public; not anywhere; not ever.
Other parents restrained this man and called the police. The man was arrested and spent the night in jail, but was bailed out without any conditions the following day. Fortunately, the son did not need medical attention and will recover; that is, his physical wounds will heal. Unfortunately, this public display of abuse was probably not the first, nor the last, violence this child will suffer at the hand of his parent.
During this time of joy and festivities, let us not forget that the best gift we can give our children is a good example. Of course, this is harder than it sounds. So, let us also not forget that the best gift we can give ourselves is time; time away; time alone; time to relieve stresses; time to rejuvenate; time to forgive our shortcomings and disappointments; time to remember why we love our children. Over and out...