…But Sometimes I Mess Up

I think that because I am a former teacher and current mommy blogger, people tend to think that I know what I’m doing.  That I always make the right choice and react the right way to whatever my kids throw at me.  That I always feel completely confident in how I handle any situation.  I write parenting advice on this blog and share photos on Instagram and Facebook of my kids doing the things they’re supposed to do — but that’s not the whole story.  That couldn’t possibly be the whole story!  Kids can’t be perfect.  Mommies can’t be perfect.  Bloggers can’t be perfect.  I am living a Montessori lifestyle with my family… BUT SOMETIMES I MESS UP.


I had an experience the other day that I can’t stop thinking about.  We went to a local bakery to pick up a treat to surprise Daddy with at work.  I had told L that she could pick out a cookie for herself, but that she had to eat it in the car because we needed to drive to Daddy’s office.  As we walked into the bakery, I reminded her again that I would give her the cookie when we got in the car.


We stood in line.  Other customers oohed and ahhed over how cute my kids are.  We picked out a brownie for my husband and a cookie for L.  We paid.  We turned to carry our goodies out the door, when L said, “Cookie now!”  I looked down at her and began to say, “You can have it when we get in the car.”  Then her face crinkled up and she began to scream.  All eyes were on us.  I took the cookie out of the box and handed it to her.  She stopped screaming and we left peacefully.


There are two reasons that I’m upset with myself for this.  The first is that I KNOW I should have stuck to my principles and reminded her that we had agreed that she could have the cookie in the car.  If I hadn’t had a baby strapped to my chest, I might have been able to do it.  If we didn’t have other places to go in a short amount of time, I might have been able to do it.  If everyone hadn’t been staring at us, I might have been able to do it.  I gave in to stop the meltdown.  That doesn’t teach a good lesson to L, who will now see that all she has to do is start to scream to get what she wants.


The second reason I’m upset just doesn’t even make sense.  There was one man in particular who was watching us after talking to L and telling me how adorable she was.  As soon as I gave L the cookie, I thought, “He probably thinks I’m a terrible mother.  I just gave in to her tantrum.”


But if I hadn’t given her the cookie, she would have screamed and I still would have thought, “He probably thinks I’m a terrible mother.”


I can’t win against myself.


But after a few days of thinking through this situation, I began to realize that he probably wasn’t judging me, and he probably wouldn’t have judged me if I’d gone through with the other scenario.  When I see other children having meltdowns in public, I feel relieved.    I never think, “Man, that parent just isn’t doing it right.”  Never.   It’s more like, “Yay, your kids do it, too?  Let’s be best friends!”


So this long rambling post with no real thesis will come to a close with just the simple admission that SOMETIMES I MESS UP.  Sometimes I don’t follow through.  Sometimes I speak in anger.  Sometimes I bribe my kids.  Sometimes I don’t do it “the Montessori way.”  I’m only human.


Thank you for not judging me.  I promise to not judge you.

10 thoughts on “…But Sometimes I Mess Up

  1. Thanks for having the guts to admit what so many parents are doing and thinking! People DO watch, and people DO judge, when they probably should be looking at themselves instead.
    I invite you to try The Happiest Toddler techniques called Patience Stretching and The Fast Food Rule. You don’t give in, and preschoolers feel heard about what they want and when they want it (which is always now!). You might get a look from a stranger because you defused a tantrum so deftly! I have posted these on my blog because they have saved me so many times and improved my relationship with children without tears on both our parts!

  2. Oh, dear. It’s so hard to parent in public, even now that my boys are 11 and 13. But your adorable children will be fine, and so will you. Tell your conscience to give yourself a break!

  3. I think a bit of bending is a good thing, I would have been whooping from the sidelines! On another day when she is not tired, hungry or simply feeling like a small victory she will still follow what you say. If they are never ever victorious that’s a lot of frustration, we all like a cheeky win sometimes! Sometimes I have a chat with mine later and tell them they had a cheeky win but that next time I might not be able to let them, they know my “I mean it” voice, they don’t always listen but they know it! Charlie Wilson in “Divas and Dictators” put it nicely in his book – he basically said we don’t want them to be perfect little angels all the time, that we want them to test us. I always put my sanity first, pick your battles I reckon. You’re obviously doing an amazing job with your girl 😊

  4. Kids act up and kids act out. Sometimes they do it in public. It is mostly experimentation. They don’t take it nearly as seriously as we do. To tell you the truth, I worry more about the kid who is always well-behaved than the one who occasionally has a hissy fit in a grocery store.

  5. I’m glad you thought it through and decided he probably wasn’t and won’t judge you. It’s a better world that way. Honestly, before having kids I rarely noticed other people’s kids (I mean I see them) but I don’t think much about what they are doing. Laughing? Cute. Screaming/ crying? They’re only kids. But now that I have a kid of my own, not only am I worried about how I’m being perceived but I also have no idea how I should react to other parents, especially when their kids are upset. Smile sympathetically? Maybe they don’t need or want sympathy. Offer help? Seems potentially offensive. Besides, what can I do anyway. Pretend nothing is happening? No one wants attention to their kids acting our right? I know I don’t. Or would that be rude? Just curious, how did or ideally, how would you have preferred that gentleman respond?

  6. I had this same scenario yesterday in an extremely crowded donut shop. I explained to DD that we would “eat the donut at home, not the store” at least 4 times before we entered the store. Well, I was handed the bag and she erupted, wanting the donut. My parenting trumps all to me. So, I guided us out of the way and reminded her what I said earlier, even made her repeat it to me. Then, I told her if she didn’t behave while we left and got home, she wouldn’t be enjoying a donut with the rest of us. Like magic, she obeyed. Of course people were staring, glaring, and probably judging. But let them! You might teach them a thing or two about proper/positive parenting. Plus, I’m the type that a stranger would not want to say something negative to me as I am parenting, because I would give them a piece of my mind too.

  7. I love this! We’re entering the terrible threes with our youngest, which means lots of public outbursts as he navigates his independence among his parents’ expectations. I truly don’t think there is ever a “right” way to handle them, so much depends on the situation. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Really love this! We all have a standard we want so badly to reach, and we all fall short of it sometimes. I am 100% with you not judging parents when their child is screaming, because next week it will be mine. 😉 I am so excited to look through the awesome ideas on your blog btw!

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