I see his face begin to cave in before I have even finished the sentence.
As he dissolves into tears I crumple inside, but I try not to show it.
It wasn’t that big a deal. I just told him off for not thinking, for being too wild, for running in the house when I had already told him not to.
I only yelled a little bit. And I started out being all positive and nice.
“If you want to run, go outside, you can run all you like outside!”
“Please walk inside, you’ll break something if you run around the house dragging that thing.”
Of course he didn’t walk, and of course he did break something when the string of his library bag got snagged on the pot plant as he ran past.
“I told you something would get….”
Usually an accident and a raised voice would not be enough to see him run off in tears, but it’s been a rough week.
I am tired, and stressed, and too busy, and that makes me short tempered and cranky.
All of the kids seem to be teetering on the edge this week too.
We all seem to be walking the fine line between everything is great and fun and wonderful, and big huge nasty arguments, thoughtless words, and tears.
I’m trying to keep it together. I’m trying to set the tone. I’m trying to see the lighter side, and assign positive intent, and pick my battles, but I’m not being consistent. All the ‘trying’ is interspersed with way too much exasperation and yelling.
Tonight I manage to keep my crumpledness in check until I have apologised. I keep it balled up tight until I have acknowledged that we are all having a tough week and I have hugged away his tears.
And then I creep away quietly, and unfold the crumples I’ve been screwing up so tightly all week, and I cry.
I’m so tired. I’m so stupid.
I’m such a hypocrite.
How can I write about all these lofty parenting ideas when I crumple at the first sign of trouble and become a cranky, yelling, monster?
And then I remember some advice I gave a friend recently…
A bad moment, a bad day, a bad week, does not make you a bad parent.
So I dry my eyes, I re-crumple the ball, and I keep going.
It’s just a bad day.