Great expectations

It was one of those mornings. The kids wanted to stay home in their PJs, but work and daycare were calling our respective names. There was zero cooperation for anything that needed to happen before we left the house. Anything.

I tried the patient/playful route – you know, the one that always seems to work for dad. You play with the kids for a bit, joke around about getting dressed/brushing teeth, etc., then you say “playtime’s over” and they magically obey the commands that you are giving.

Clearly doesn’t work for me. I tried everything – playing, counting to three, time outs. Nothing was working. Somehow, 40 minutes later, they were dressed and ready to go. Until they both got to the door and decided they wanted different shoes on. While I knew that patience was a virtue that just might get me out the door, I knew it was running thin.

I obliged them with the request, pulling out their shoes. The minute they put one foot in each of their shoes, it was crying “doesn’t fit, it hurts”. Let me say, the shoes definitely fit, it was their own temperaments at this point that didn’t. I did it. I yelled at them. To get their shoes on. Usually, I like to reserve yelling for things like running in the road in front of a speeding car, almost touching something that’s hot – you know, things that put them in immediate danger and for which you need an immediate response to get them out of harm’s way. And thankfully, those things are few and far between.

But I yelled. And yes, it made them get their shoes on. Then it made us all feel like crap. 100 percent, genuine dog doody. We somberly went out to the car and quietly drove to daycare. No music, no giggles, just two tired kids and a tired mom.

I got to thinking, what right do I have as a mom to expect kids to be on my schedule? They are just kids, yet the expectation is that they will get up, have their morning breakfast, and head to school, as I head to work. Honestly, although they like their school and have a good time with their friends, it has to be hard on them to be caged up in a room most of the day, with complete structure surrounding their daily lives. To this end, I don’t think I will ever get over my working mom’s guilt.

And the guilt from that morning? I’m still working on that.

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