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.