The other morning the boys had a 2 hour delay for a “snow storm” we had the night before here in NC. Seriously! We had less than 2 inches of snow and it was gone in the morning, but who’s counting? They were super excited, as is to be expected with the possibility of snow and no school. I even let them stay up later than usual because I knew they could sleep in and I’m an awesome mom (wink). I was equally excited about not having to wake up at 6 am. So can someone please explain to me why my tween son was mad that I woke him up at 8 am? And before you say because he wanted to sleep in later…ERRR! No! It was because he didn’t wake up early enough. And not only was he mad, but he was extremely grumpy, hardly said two words and growled at us! GROWLED! (You know when people try to console you by saying you’re not alone? Well I really think I am the only mom in the world with this problem.)
As I write about it now I can see the humor, but my immediate response was to get mad back at him. But WHY? This is the question I asked later when I realized how mad I actually was about his grumpiness and couldn’t give myself an acceptable answer. Hence the reflection part of this post.
It occurred to me that yes, I have done a ton of work to lessen the severity of my weaknesses and shortcomings, but it’s been focused on the relational issues specific to a significant other. There is still so much work to do with the other important relationships in my life, namely with my sons. Lest you think this is the first time this realization is dawning on me, I doubt there is a day that goes by without me feeling inadequate as a mother in one form or another. If you’ve been following me for a while you may recall that one of my greatest fears throughout my separation and divorce was the fear of emotionally screwing up my children. While I don’t think I will completely ruin their lives anymore, I still want to have the healthiest possible relationship with them. Getting mad at someone for his grumpiness is not a healthy response. It wasn’t in marriage and it isn’t in ANY relationship.
Here what I deduced:
1. I got mad because I took his grumpiness as a personal statement that I am “not good enough”. Crazy that I would get that from a 12 year old growl, but I did. It seems to be a recurring theme in the story of my insecurity.
2. There is a stink of co-dependency in this story. It’s slight, but it is there. If my kids are happy, I am happy. If they’re miserable, I’m miserable. The odds are against me. There are 3 of them and the chance that all of them will be happy at the same time are equivalent to me finding a wad of cash in my mailbox. So why am I allowing their demeanor to determine my mood?
3. We should all be allowed to express ourselves when we are feeling emotional. He was obviously having a bad morning for whatever reason. I mean he is pubescent after all. He should have the freedom to be upset without someone else taking it personally and adding to the crumminess of the situation.
So there you have it! I am officially the best mom on the planet now, right? Ha! I wish it were that easy. If I could fix every problem by analyzing it, I would write a book and make millions. Pshh! I know it’s not that easy. Instead I’ll just work at being more aware of my reactions. I will still get mad when they pretend they can’t hear me tell them to clean their room, take a shower, brush their teeth. I will still yell loudly when they are fighting with one another in another room. I will still talk through my gritted teeth at my youngest 10 times a day for…pretty much everything. But if I stay aware and ask myself why I am reacting the way I am, sooner or later it will become easier to not react. Between that and asking my boys for forgiveness when I over do it, there is hope….for that best mom on the planet award!