The chocolate cookie was the last straw. My 5-year-old rejected the plain cookie. Before that, she decided she had to stage two things in the dollhouse. And just before that, she’d delayed our departure–she to her friend’s house down the street, me to the Y for Zumba class–by three apple slices. Although the only thing at stake was my on-time arrival to class, at that moment, I felt as if the sole request I’d made on behalf of myself all morning was strategically being buried by a conniving small girl out to get me with each of her extremely urgent, immediate needs. One minute late to class, even that, felt way too late. The cookie took me right over the edge.
The mother I’ve aspired to be these last 18 years is not just one able to put my needs aside for the children’s needs; I’ve worked–hard–to be one who kept her cool. Yelling is bad. Anger, in fact, seemed to me, a negative emotion–one I especially wanted to avoid in a particular direction, from me toward my kids. I guess I equated endless selflessness with good parenting. Even more so, I equated endless patience with good parenting. And I desperately wanted to be a good parent. Read the rest of this entry →