You are probably thinking, “what? what did she lose?”
My shit. I lost my shit. After I said I never would, I did. All kinds of parenting crazy, exhaustion, and frustration, put on full display for all to see. It wasn’t pretty. Actually, it was ugly, and I mean Kim Kardashian crying ugly.
I’ve always watched parents in public. Silently praising the ones who treated their children with respect, nodding and smiling at them as they talked calmly and rationally to their children, even when their little monsters were flat-bellied on the ground, kicking and screaming because they didn’t get to open their water bottle on their own. That was the kind of parent I wanted to be, the one I strive to be every day with Riley and Bode.
On the flip side though, I’ve spent equally as much time judging the parents who scream and yell at their kids, as they run wild through supermarkets, restaurants, or any other public space. I mean, come on… get it together people. Don’t yell. It isn’t necessary, or is it? Unfortunately, this is the parent I was last week.
Let me paint you a picture.
Cassie and I decided to be brave and bring all three kids, by ourselves, to groovin’ on the green in Williston. In theory, it sounded wonderful. A warm summer night, live music, picnic on a blanket while the kids dance and run around barefoot in the grass… The kind of night you dream about while sitting at your desk all day.
It started out great. Bode, Riley, and Rowan giggled in the wagon as Grandma Pam pulled them around the green. We all snacked and frolicked around, stopping to chat with people we knew. It was great.
Until, it wasn’t.
Fast forward to 7:00 PM. Bode is crying and fussing because he is tired and wants his bottle, which I have somehow forgotten at home. Riley is running in every different direction, even though I’ve told her several times that she needs to stay close and within my sight.
I turn to pack our belongings and when I turn back around 10 seconds later Riley is gone. Not really gone, but she is at least halfway across the green. I spot her quickly, thank goodness, I quickly applaud myself for dressing her in bright pink and then take off across the field of people trying to make up lost time and ground. I am closing in on her when she spots me. She laughs and starts running faster.
I start to raise my voice.
Me: “Riley, stop right now. Stop your body, this is not ok.”
R: Giggling, she squeals “NO!” and keeps running.
I now notice that she is getting closer and closer to the road and begin to panic. I try playing nice first.
M: “Red light!”
She doesn’t take the bait…by this point I am angry and my panic is turning to pure fear.
M: “RILEY! STOP RIGHT NOW!”
A man on the side turns to see me chasing my fleeing toddler and says, “Riley stop.” — this is how loud I was..loud enough that everyone at the event knew her name.
She slows just enough that I can get a firm hand on her arm. Giggling still, she lets her body go completely limp. I pull her to her feet and begin to drag her back across the green, now with people staring at us, as Riley spills big, fat, crocodile tears, screaming ” Don’t touch me! Don’t touch me, Mommy!”
A little piece of me died that day and I’m pretty sure it was my pride.
I’m slowly trying to get it back, along with my courage to do public outings with both children by myself.