I swore I’d never tell anyone about this…

To use the language of the youth, last night was a “mommy fail”.

It was my daughters first dance recital and it stated at 5:15 on a muterf’n Wednesday. 5:15 is an almost impossible time to be anywhere. It’s just got home from work time and everybody in the family is being an asshole cause they are hungry time.

So I rush home and roll in at 4:40, it’s a mad dash, I clean the kids best I can, shove food in their faces while yelling -EAT PLEASE. She is to wear tie dye on top and black on the bottom. Oops mommy didn’t do laundry so we are wearing 2 sizes too small faded black pants for this evening’s performance.

So at 5 we call it and we get in the car and try to go a place none of us has been to before. We fight about where it is then sorta find it and go in the back door and walk all over the place then find the gym. Whew. We made it.

“Mommy my pants are wet … and it smells like pee”. Shit.

We go to the bathroom and clean up and attempt to dry the pants with paper towels and a sub par hand dryer. So now its 2 sizes too small pee pee pants for tonight’s performance.

We come out and find her group. I look around and every kid looks like they spent the day getting ready, hair is bunned, outfits on point, tutus ruffled and my kid looks kinda homeless. Sigh.

So her group performs last so we sit wait and clap for 50 mins in a gym that I think had the heat on. The two year old starts to kick up a fuss but we manage.

I also started to notice some parents had brought flowers for their kids. I thought “hmm that would have been cute – oh well, next time.”

So it’s her turn and I hold my breath as I wasn’t sure she would even go out on the stage but she does, and she does beautifully. I swell with pride over my little paper bag princess.

At the end I go meet her as she gets off the stage and I go over and give her a hug and start to say what a good job she did and she looks at me and bursts into tears.

Then she goes full. nuclear. meltdown.

Why? Because we didn’t get her flowers. I was so embarrassed. I didn’t pause to grasp this teaching moment. I feel every other parents judgement and stares. I drag both my screaming kids to the car buckle them up and stand at the back of the car to swear for a bit.

I tell her in the car that she should feel accomplished and proud of herself for learning to dance and being brave enough to show the world. I may have even said flowers don’t mean anything and they just die. I tell her if someone gets you flowers you should feel lucky but it shouldn’t be the reason you do things. She just cried the whole time.

We get home. I’m furious, she’s exhausted and hungry and needs a bath. We take care of all her needs and I start calming down a bit.

I figure we’ll have a heart to heart about being gracious when I can figure out the right words so I tuck her in and kiss her goodnight.

She says sleepily “Mom are you really never going to sign me up for dance ever again?”
Me: ” we’ll see, mommy was pretty angry when she said that so we’ll talk tomorrow”
Her: “I won’t cry at my next recital I promise”
Me: “well that would be nice”
Her: “ya, I’ll just remind you to pick up the flowers on the way there”

Facepalm.

Relax already

We went away for the night recently to a cheesy family hotel with an indoor water park and playground and family friendly dining. Basically Mecca for kids.

We had a great time. We came, we swam, we conquered. We left covered in chlorine and 3 out 4 of us slept on the way home.

The only thing I struggled with was the other parents. Almost all of them were so hard on their kids. I saw a mom punish her child for being scared of going down a slide and making her (the mom) stand there too long. One set of parents told their almost three year old “Gavin, remember to share now…” before my kids had even got in the pool.

I view my role as a mom as a watchful bystander in my kids lives. I just watch them. That’s all. I encourage them to make good choices and ask them to reconsider when they are not. I offer them options and help them understand the consequences of their choice. I cheer them on or redirect when needed. The only “rules” at my house are:

If you hit, you sit

It only fun if its fun for everyone

Everyone deserves to be listened to

I wish these moms would let their kids just be. I watched two sisters playing happily and the mom yelled at the one to stop throwing her shoe around, thus ending their game. I felt sad for those sisters. One girl was climbing on the play structure and yelled out to her mom “look mom, I’m being so careful”. Sigh.

I feel strongly that we underestimate kids and spend far too much time and energy talking at them, telling them what to do or discouraging them. Maybe your kid would surprise you, give them a chance. Maybe Gavin would have shared or maybe not but that would have been between him and my kids. I do know for sure they would have worked it out.

At one point a mom was asking her kid not to splash. At a water park. She looked at me sheepishly after her kid splashed my kid and I wanted to splash her.

I want to talk to these moms, I am craving connection and friendship as much as anybody but I’m not connecting. I wish I could find a way to encourage the moms to sit back, relax and for the love of Pete stop saying “be careful”. Seriously, that’s a useless thing to say.

The Internet made me feel bad about myself

It was a quiz about life skills and you checked off all things you could do.

Do your own taxes – check.
Make pasta with out overcooking or undercooking – check.
Build a fire – ummm.
Long division without a calculator – straight up nope.

My score was like 31 out of 100. If there was a zombie apocalypse I would die from something like improperly placing the jack on a car and having my head crushed and/or trying to change a tire instead of just running during a zombie apocalypse.

Stupid internet.

I worry though, I see much of myself in my kids and my daughter definitely inherited my “uh you do it, that looks hard” gene. It’s way easier to assume you know everything and delegate than to try and fail. So now I have to convince my kids to do the hard things and have confidence. Sounds easy right? We’ll guess who’s going to have to learn all the hard things now – me! They already don’t listen when I talk but copy everything I do. So now I have to pretend to know at least 60% of those life skills. So if you are inclined to mock the chubby middle aged lady who is learning to water ski this summer maybe she’s just trying to teach her kids to be fearless, ok?