Last night I was asked by a dear friend who is also the mother of a beloved, precious, and absolutely precocious preschooler for a mommy story. I’ve been a mommy (although now simply called Mom) of a beloved son for the past 26 and ¾ years. I have many, many mommy stories.
Before our children come into our lives, be it through marriage to their birth parent, adoption, or giving birth to them, we have notions. We ALL have notions!
“That is not acceptable behavior.” Was my biggest notion.
I was going to be the first mother on the face of the Earth to be able to have a rational conversation with her child about why what she or he had done was not okay. HA! So naïve…
1997 was a difficult year. My first marriage had fallen apart and my husband had left for points unknown, leaving me with no financial support. I was suddenly a single mom of a 7 year old son, and came down with Mono as the cherry on top.
One day when I was feeling a little better, I let my son have a couple of friends over to play. Since it was raining, the kids were in the house, and my sister and brother-in-law had come by to visit. We adults sat in the kitchen, and were able to hear my son being very very mean to his friends. I was mortified. This normally nice kid was acting like a total jerk…
I called him over and took him in the bathroom to scold him. I was angry, so, so angry. I was so angry that I found it impossible to produce any words! Unintelligible noises came out of my mouth and my son, like anyone else would have, started to laugh.
Then Mommy lost her sh**. I shouted “Don’t laugh at me!” and (I know, I know,) spanked him hard on the bottom.
He flew out of the bathroom and went to his room. I took a minute to breathe deeply, then went out to the kitchen to find my sister and brother-in-law shaking in their chairs, laughing so hard they had tears running down my face.
I am not a huge advocate of spanking. It is appropriate on a limited basis in certain circumstances, but that was not one of them. I was ashamed of myself for acting in that manner.
My son and I got through it, though, and now that he’s an adult we laugh about my overreaction. I look at him now, a responsible, happy, successful man; a husband, homeowner, and professional, and realize that one of the sayings that has come down through the generations in my family is very true.
“Kids grow up despite their parents.”
We all make parenting mistakes. As long as we learn from them, keep our senses of humor, and show our children that we love and respect them, all should be well.
And we can’t forget to forgive ourselves!