Mama in the City

A blog about raising my family in downtown Vancouver

I Was That Mother. The Mother You Would Judge

The other day I had a miserable mama moment and afterwards it made me really despise myself and feel heaps of guilt. Let me set the scenario for you: my ear was on day 5 of a ruptured eardrum and it was a throbbing drippy painful mess. Despite all that, I decided to go on an outing with my two little ones.

I was out walking the neighbourhood with Ben on his Strider bike and Josie snoozing in the stroller. Ben was low on energy from his own previous sickness and was riding his bike painfully slowly and crying out for me to hold him and carry him. I eventually gave him the option to just walk and he decided on that one. So, I pushed the stroller and carried his bike as he walked behind me sobbing about how tired he was.

It was decided that a great distraction was in order, so we headed to a coffee shop nearby. I thought that Ben could have a drink and we could all just sit down and get a break from the wind that was whipping at us. The stop in motion woke our sweet little baby and she was angry and decidedly hungry. I quickly ordered our drinks and collected them and then realized there was no seating inside the shop, so we headed outside to the patio and back into the wind.

Further tears came from Ben as he was distressed by the windy cold and further cries from Josie as she was not wanting to wait to be fed. Further frustration from me as my ear was throbbing and my patience were shot.

So, I scolded Ben and told him off in a mean voice. When he told me that his drink order was wrong and wailed loudly, I got even angrier and told him off again. I did it in a mean stern mother voice and instantly regretted how I was handling the situation. As the words spewed out of my mouth, I knew I must look like 'that mother'. The one you can easily judge for losing her cool. The mother with two loudly crying children, with a mean miserable look on her face.

As I was bent down to get the bicycle, stroller and Ben into a seat, I heard someone call my name. There was a second of mortification as I looked up to see who it was. Alas, it was a friend! Even though she saw me at the peak of losing my motherly cool it was a great relief to bump into her at this moment! She helped me get everyone settled and even went back in the shop and traded in Ben's wrong drink order (side note: he didn't even end up drinking his new beverage!). Sometimes you just need an extra set of hands!

Soon Josie was nursing quietly, Ben was seated nicely and I could just breathe and reflect. I hated how I responded in this moment and I hated taking out my frustration on my child. Ben was right, he was tired and I have been expecting him to keep up with us on our errands all over town. Which is a lot of walking for a 3 year old to do.

When I got home I apologized to Ben for yelling at him. I think it is important to admit your faults and wrong doings, especially to your children. Then I decided to go on line and buy the standing board for our stroller. Something I've been meaning to do for weeks. The standing board came the very next day and our outings have been so much calmer. Ben loves riding along and I love that I'm not constantly telling him to walk faster to keep up with us as he cries to be carried. Today we ventured out further than we have since Josie was born and I didn't lose my cool once.

My new view from above!

The boy loves riding along with his baby sister and I love walking an actual pace!

Then like any mother who feels guilty, I brought out the finger paints and sat down at the table with Ben and played one on one with him and encouraged a big painty mess. He declared that this was, 'the most fun ever' and I felt like a better mother.


kristin said...

Ohhhhh..... sending you virtual ((((hugs)))) because I, like many, can relate to the feeling expressed here.  Its never fun when you are slipping into "that mom" ways of being, but it happens, I am sure to to all of us.  What I think is more important is that you are able to reflect on what happened and see that it wasn't your preferred way of being.  THAT is the mom you want to be!  ....and the little gem in this all - your caring friend showing up at just the right time to diffuse the situation.  YAY for such a speedy delivery on your stroller board!  So happy that you've since had a great experience!  

March 4, 2012 at 4:37 PM  
AJ said...

I can feel your pain! I've been there too. My 2 year old daughter was with me in the women's change room and undid the door. So, I was standing there in next to nothing and was screaming at her to close the bloody door. Then she dashed. It was a monster moment and I hated how I reacted. Wished I could've just laughed about it at the time.

March 4, 2012 at 6:08 PM  
Amanda said...

We all have those moments.  The best we can do is apologize to our kids and try to make it up to them with quality non-yelling time, just like you did.  And not beat ourselves up about it, because no human mother can say that she has never had a moment (or several!) like that.  And if she says she hasn't, she is lying.  Or she is a robot.  Either way, you're far from alone!

March 4, 2012 at 9:01 PM  

My kid sort of looked like me like I was crazy when I was apologizing..he was all like, 'do I get a treat now or...what is happening here?' haha.

March 4, 2012 at 9:25 PM  

Thanks Kristin!! I have a great idea of the mum that I want to be. I love when I am rocking it and feel that I am mothering the way I want to with full intention. 

March 4, 2012 at 9:26 PM  

Every last one of us has had those moments.  Sometimes more of those moments in a day that we can stand to admit.  But I agree, apologizing to your children not only soothes hurt feelings it demonstrates humility.  You're teaching him by example in an excellent way.

March 5, 2012 at 9:00 AM  
Erin said...

I have been that mother.  It's really hard to juggle the immediate needs of a newborn and the demands of a toddler/preschooler - I think the skateboard on the back of the stroller is a great idea, as most of my youngest's meltdowns result in him being tired.  Funnily enough, he never complains of being tired when we are at the playground, but on the walk home.  This would be why he is nearly four and still rides in a stroller. :) 

March 5, 2012 at 9:38 AM  

The riding board has seriously opened up so much for us to do!!! I kept having to say 'no, we can't go there today' because there was no way Ben could have walked that far. We are the car-less city folk type of family. Up until the baby was born, Ben went in his stroller for long excursions. It was quite an abrupt change for him to have to walk everywhere all the time. You are quite right, the tiredness definitely brings out the melt downs in a  kid!!

March 5, 2012 at 10:15 AM  

It is true hey. Teaching by example is such an important part of parenting. I totally agree with you.

March 5, 2012 at 10:15 AM  
huntersprize said...

I know I have been that mother and with a new baby, I'm sure it will happen again. I think it's wonderful that you did say you were sorry for how you acted, not many people can do that!

I may have to look into getting a stroller with a sit and stand option, instead of a double stroller! We use the stroller mostly for exercise walk, though! 

March 5, 2012 at 3:03 PM  

Just think..if you put your newborn in a sling or a carrier and pushed your first...and work out!!

March 5, 2012 at 6:19 PM  
Heidi said...

I have had more of these "that mom" moments than I can count.  And I don't have a newborn anymore either!  I hope that each time, it teaches me something new about myself, my parenting, and how to be a better mom to my girls.  And hopefully as I grow, I'm able to grow into being a better mom along the way.  So sorry to hear you had a rough day but so glad your dear friend showed up to rescue and help.
You're doing an amazing job with your kids, Andrea!  They're lucky to have you.

March 6, 2012 at 7:36 AM  
Sarah Macneill said...

been there, done that!!! i definitely would not have judged you if i had witnessed! probably would have offered to babysit or gave you a hug instead! the other day I told Sadie "Mommy needs a time out right now. No one is allowed to talk to me for a few minutes." 

March 9, 2012 at 9:32 AM  
AliRose said...

Oh I just got so *sigh* tired reading this. The best of intentions to get out of the house for the sanity of all and it blows up in your face. Sorry you had to have a day like that but super impressed with how you handled it later by apologizing to Ben.

March 10, 2012 at 9:21 AM  

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