Jan 9 2014
There have been a few times so far in my life where I have taken my kids on an outing and everything works out perfectly: the birds chirp and the sun shines, I’ve miraculously packed enough snacks, and the kids behave like mensches. Perhaps most importantly, there are eyewitnesses to note my kids’ wonderful behavior and shoot me admiring looks for this Gisele-like scene of perfect parenting.
Listen, we all need a little external feedback sometimes for emotional validation. Even if you’re Gisele.
These rare occasions have falsely instilled a belief that most outings will go as smoothly, despite considerable evidence to the contrary (baby poop explosions and the realization that I forgot the wipes at home, temper tantrums in aisle six, etc.). So with a confidently optimistic attitude, I blithely set off for IKEA on New Year’s Day with two slightly hungry children who were antsy to get out of the house. I had never been to IKEA before, but people love it and the catalog makes it seem like a fun place. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 11 2013
All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.
– The Internet, Netflix, fast food, and other forms of “instant gratification” are changing the way today’s kids view time and demands. This New York Times piece sheds light on the competitive nature of television networks and its effect on today’s “on demand” children. (NY Times)
– One in three women has an abortion by the age of 45, but how many people actually talk about it? New York Magazine features 26 women with 26 different experiences. (NY Mag)
– A recent study from the University of Pittsburg shows that the negative impact of “harsh verbal discipline” (even occasionally) on adolescents is comparable to the effects of physical discipline. (NY Times)
– When Larry’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, the family received unending amounts of food and comfort from family and friends. A decade later, their daughter Maggie was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and received no such care packages. (Slate)
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Nov 7 2013
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 →
Aug 29 2013
My daughter had a colossal meltdown last night and I handled it badly.
My patience gave way after 40 minutes of defiance and my tone went from neutral to impatient, agitated and finally, about three-quarters of the way through, to angry.
There, I said it; I yelled at my autistic daughter.
I am a lousy mother, right? Who yells at their special needs kid?
Apparently, I do. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 19 2012
I think I’m turning into Mrs. Wolowitz. (If you don’t know who I’m talking about, she’s the Jewish mother on The Big Bang Theory. You never actually see her, as her primary mode of communication involves yelling guilt-inducing rants from the other room.)
Just last night, I found myself in the kitchen, loudly and firmly “announcing” (ahem) to my daughters in the living room that if I had to come in there one more time, there would be no TV show tonight. Yes, I do dangle the possibility of 20 minutes with Olivia or Caillou (gag) over my daughters’ little heads on a regular basis. I’m ok with that; we all need to learn that our actions have consequences and that Mommy can take away your fun if you take away hers. In this case, the girls needed to figure out how to share the latest American Girl Doll magazine (I haven’t yet introduced them to the idea of the catalog, a magazine from which things can actually be purchased). From the way they were managing it, you’d think I’d asked two starving orphans to split the last morsel of bread. Read the rest of this entry →