Reasonable Goals.

It is time for that 3’ish weeks every Spring where I’m miserable from allergies. I get various levels of relief from various medicines, but then the side-effects of those medicines cause an assortment of issues. Or maybe there’s the side effects of just being exhausted from not being able to sleep restfully for long periods of time. Basically, it’s 3’ish weeks of feeling different shades of shitty. And of course, whenever I feel shitty, the first things that is sacrificed is my parenting skills.

After I picked up the kids from school yesterday, things went South faster than I could say, “Where are the Kleenexes?”

I basically had no patience from the moment they got into the car. This led to an afternoon of yelling and crying and it all culminated into my first ever, “Both of you! Go to bed NOW!” I’ve never sent my kids to bed early before, but last night? I did. And I enjoyed every extra minute of quiet that it gave me.

And of course I slept horribly again. When my sneezing and coughing wasn’t waking me up, my intense parental guilt was. I hate afternoons like yesterday because I become the parent that I hated as a child. I do everything to my kids that I hated being done to me. And then they react the same way I did as a child, apologizing profusely and begging for love. Which adds immense parent guilt on top of the space left from disappearing patience.

All because of the damn pollen. DAMN YOU, SPRING.

I don’t know.

Logically, I understand that there are no perfect parents. Logically, I understand we all have bad days. Logically, I understand that beating myself up over my bad parenting does no one any good. Logically, I understand that in the big picture, I do a good job by my kids, and that these bad days are not representative of the whole.

But man…EMOTIONALLY? I just hate myself. Emotionally, I’m embarrassed for myself. Emotionally, I’m ashamed of myself. Emotionally, I’m heartbroken for my kids who deserve a better me than I gave them yesterday. Emotionally, I wonder what their future therapist will blame on me.

I’d love to say, “Today is going to be a good day!” But I still slept horribly last night and there’s still pollen in the air and trees blooming in the city. We had some rain and there’s a cold spell hitting today, so maybe my allergies will be a little gentler today. But still…I’m exhausted and I have a headache and this cough is killing me. So, the recipe for “Great Day Of Parenting!” is missing some key ingredients. And it becomes a vicious cycle anyway, doesn’t it? We feel shitty because we were shitty parents and that makes us feel shitty which makes us shitty parents all over again.

It’s the non-stop cycle of shitty parenting. Shitty produces shitty.


Sorry for the excessive use of mid-level profanity.

So, I won’t make any promises. Logically, I know I need to be kind to myself. But emotionally, I hate myself for being such a…(shitty?) parent. Maybe I’ll just take it one step at a time today. Just try to think before I react. Maybe halt the emotional instincts that are motivated by illness and exhaustion and just add a beat of deliberation before I react. That’s not too much to ask of myself, I don’t think. Today? I’ll just wait a beat before I say or do anything. Give time to let the exhausted impatient reaction to fizzle a bit before it erupts from me. Then, at least everything will be toned down a notch.

And then, maybe in a few days I’ll feel better. And then, THEN, I can try to be a good Mom again.

Today? I’ll just set my sights at being Less Shitty.

4 thoughts on “Reasonable Goals.”

  1. Oh, I struggle with this so much more than I want to admit! After all those years of infertility and two miscarriages, I want to be the perfect mother to my son, so to have even one day where I am a shitty mother is awful to me. And I have way more than one day of shitty parenting a month (sometimes a week)! My son deserves so much better. I try so hard. I just hope he will remember the fun times and the love more than he remembers the times I yelled but something tells me that won’t be the case.

  2. How about more than giving yourself an extra beat before reacting, be proactive at getting the kids something to do that will give you the much deserved space? I mean, distracted kids make for a better chance to be a less shitty parent, right? That’s my theory at least!

  3. Being a good parent is highly overrated…or at least that’s what I tell myself when I’m cursing at my children under my breath. Go easy on yourself and remember that it can be a good thing to let kids see that parents are not perfect–if you apologize for sniping at them, it’ll teach them about being responsible for your actions, caring about how you make others feel and admitting when you’re wrong.

  4. I know that Our Sidekick is old enough to cut me some slack when I feel yucky – especially if I tell him first. Chris says he had like a sixth sense for it and gets worried and sad when I’m sad or poorly. But it still doesn’t cover up when I’m short and snappy with him. I try and apologise and make it up to him – kids who see their parents apologise when they know they are in the wrong see that apologising is sometimes the right thing to do. Our Sidekick’s main love language is hugs and appropriate touch so when I apologise I give him a hug or a hi five or something like that so that he feels loved as well.

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