Yesterday was the worst. Plain and simple. Since we moved our children have been somewhat isolated from visitors. Don’t get me wrong, we have had grandpa’s and grandma’s come down and a couple of family members have stopped by. We have even had a few really close friends make the trip down to see us. But the constant traffic of caseworkers and in home therapist have since came to a stop.
And for the record, I am not great at making friends. Add on five kiddos and it becomes almost impossible. I know I can hear some people shaking their heads right this moment while they say “she asked for it when she took in so many kids” and yes I know what I got myself into thank you. I’m not trying to blame the kids in anyway, all I am saying is it’s easier to stay at home most of the time rather than tackle the chaos that is my little loves. Trying to find time to make new friends is just not high on my priority list. But it’s been almost a year and I was thinking I needed to step out of my comfort zone and invite someone over. After all what could possibly go wrong?
I’m not sure what I was thinking when I had this brilliant idea. It started off fine. The kids and I were outside playing when our guest arrived. They were running and playing and being normal fun loving children. She and I sat in my living room and talked for a few minutes before things started going downhill. Diva and Big Al had gotten into an argument that somehow resulted in Elmo getting smacked in the face. So he was crying and the other two were screaming. I excused myself to defuse the situation and quickly returned to my visit. Within minutes Diva was slamming the door asking if she could play on a tablet because she “just hated her life and wished she lived somewhere else”. Thats now two crying. I gave in and gave her the tablet (she normally does not get to just play on one but I really wanted some adult conversation) Biggest mistake ever!!!
As soon as she got it the fight was on. And things only got worse. By the time my husband got home wild man was running around in his underwear (normal autism behavior but we have been trying to keep him clothed) Both of our three year olds were screaming, one had decided he was only eating candy and pop (soda) for dinner while the other one was just tired. As for the baby she had graciously covered my soon to not be new friend in cheese puff dust. Diva was still screaming because life as a six year old is apparently the worst thing ever. Oh and how did I forget to tell you that when my husband asked the kids to come inside so he could get them ready for dinner my wild man called him a Mother F@&$@r. Yep the whole word. And repeated it three times (again one of his autism ticks) Plain as day, of course it was why wouldn’t it be. The look on her face told me it was as pronounced prefectly. Lucky me. Apparently he unlocked the parent lock on his tablet and…..well he found Caillou. A very inappropriate version of Caillou. I assumed he was watching the PBS version. Lesson learned the hard way.
I was never so ready for someone to leave my house in my life. And I’m pretty sure that possible friendship was over before it started. Why oh why could they not behave for just a few hours for me? I mean seriously was it to much to ask? After a quick dinner, not the candy and pop the kids wanted, but cereal and juice. I’m sure it had just as much sugar in it as the candy would have(I know mom of the year but I just could not at that moment)
By 7:30, wild man, diva and Elmo were asleep(part of the problem I am sure) By 8:30 baby peanut was out. My husband and I had not said a word to each other since our friend left, I looked and him and said “I’m taking her to bed, you got him?” Pointing at Big Al who was tired but still going strong. He nodded his head yes, kissed me and off I went. I was embarrassed. I was angry . I was emotionally drained and I was at a loss for words. I know my kids are no angels but man, that was rough.
I woke up this morning still in a funk. Still doubting my parenting skills and wondering why in the world God picked me to be their mom. Yesterday was a perfect example that I am not cut out for the job. I went through our morning routine. Diva was still in a mood as well so she was running late. My husband had to leave for work and could not wait any longer so I had to take her when I took the boys to preschool, which made her even more angry. After dropping them off to their schools I headed over to the doctors office to get peanuts 18 month well child check up and shots.
I was still kind of upset with how my kids had behaved as I sat and waited for her to be seen. In the waiting room were two other families. One, a young mother and two kids. Her daughter about four years old and a newborn boy. The other, also a young mother, her mom, her newborn daughter and her son who was 15 months old. The little boy quickly made his rounds over to my daughter and the four year old. The young moms started chatting about being moms and how it was now even harder with two. As I held peanut on my lap I smiled a little at the conversation. The one young ladies mother quickly jumped in and said “Well at least you waited a few years these two are barely 15 months apart” to the other young mom. The conversation continued about how the little boy was so full of energy and how grandma was to tired to chase after him all the time. The little girl spun around and around begging for juice while her mom dealt with her very fussy baby brother. I could see the stress on both families faces. The one mom was called back and grandma was suppose to watch the rambunctiousness little boy and his sleeping sister while mom went up and filled out paperwork. He was fast on his feet and before the grandmother knew it he was headed for the door. She was able to grab him before he made his daring escape but she was winded. She came back over to the waiting area and said ” I’m to old for this. I raised my two girls. All he wants to do is run run run. I’m 43 I’m to old to chase him down”. 43 is to old to chase a toddler? I just turn 41. I sat in the waiting room with my daughter who is just a few months older than her grandson and let her words sink in. She continued to complain about raising kids and talked about everything that could go wrong. When the other young mom committed that it was just her and her two kids (no dad in the picture I’m guessing) the grandmother quickly started down the “how are you going to do this by yourself? Parenting is hard” lecture. The young mom was fidgety in her seat and I guess that’s when grandma realized I was looking at her. In a very rough voice she looked at me and said “You’re lucky you just got the one” That’s when I opened my mouth.
I smiled and said that I actually had seven children. And I rattled off their ages “22, 18,6,6,3,3& this one is 18 months”. The room got quiet. I went on to say that yes parenting is hard but it is by far the best thing I have ever done and that some of my kids were close in age and even though we had bad days the good days far out weighed them. I rambled on for a few minutes until she got my point. Both her daughter and the other young mom were smiling by the time I finished my little soap box talk.
Peanut was called back, vaccination was given and out the door we went. I had started off the day angry that my kids had misbehaved so badly the night before but by the time I was finished with the appointment I realized even they are entitled to a bad day every now and then my kids just picked the same day to have their bad day. I get in bad moods and don’t want to do anything. Aren’t kids just little humans? They have the same feelings and emotions the only difference is they don’t know how to express it.
I did make a few rule changes and tonight was rough but we managed. The tablets and phones are gone, for now no more games or video watching on them. My husband threw out what was left of the Easter candy so that the kids (or us) would be tempted to eat it. Instead of them playing video games while I cooked they played with play dough and drew pictures, daddy worked late so we had to make due with what we could. It was a long night but we made it through.
That grandma was right, parenting is hard. There is no right way or wrong way. No matter what we do some will say we are to hard on our kids while others say we are to easy on them. Our kids are going to be good one day and not so good the next. And it does not matter if you have one child or if you have 20 children they are going to act up at some point when you really don’t want them to. Their kids it’s what they do and how the learn.
I’m thankful God placed that lady in my path today. By hearing her negative view on kids and live in general it reminded me just how blessed I truly am. And for that I am thankful.
From our beautiful chaos to yours here’s to more peaceful tomorrow’s.