I wish it could have all panned out a little differently. I wish in some ways I could take it all back, but what’s done is done now.
This afternoon we did all of the usual things. I picked you up from school and for once I actually remembered the ‘after school snack’ (first meltdown averted). I picked your sister up from nursery too, and after a little cajoling I even managed to get her to say goodbye to her favourite nursery school teacher. So far so good.
In the car on the way home you ask what we were to have for tea? I knew the question was coming, and I answered proudly that we would be having your favourite – sausage and mash. I had somehow miraculously managed in the midst of the morning rush to think ahead eight hours and take the sausages from the freezer. As always, this answer was met with satisfaction as your tummy is already rumbling.
My first mistake is to take a slight detour to the shops.
Any mum will know that the time between school and teatime can be a dramatic time. Tired and hungry children mixed with a tired mum who rushed straight from work, can be a cocktail of emotions. We manage it though, I grab the things that I need to and we head for home.
Once home you announce that you are starving and then you reel off the snack that you would like. I hurriedly turn the oven on and cut all the items of fruit that you asked for and let you share the plate with your sister as you watch television.
My second mistake is to ask you to pop down the street with me to the Post Office.
I know that it could be a mistake, and yet it is only down the street – it won’t take too long. What could possibly go wrong? We wrap up warm and wander down the street, me holding some parcels and you helping. A nice bit of fresh air before dinner. We arrive at the Post office and I place the parcels on the desk. The events that happen after this point I am not proud of.
As the man behind the desk begins to ask me various questions, the noise behind me builds and builds. I am usually quite good at blocking out any silliness because really and truly you need to choose your battles. If I could just manage to get the parcels posted and paid for, before it gets out of hand. Of course I can’t. As the noise builds your sister gets more and more silly – of which you find hilarious, and you chase and run around, and eventually a man walks in and your sister makes a rude comment.
I have been a mother for six years now and I have never openly ‘lost my cool’ in public, but today I did. I did because I really cannot tolerate rudeness at all.
So I grabbed your sister as she ran past me and she hurt herself as a result and began wailing, all above the man behind the desk asking me if I wanted first or second class. I was so embarrassed, which probably fuelled my anger – there was really no point in making your sister apologise to the man, the situation had gone passed that.
So I paid for my parcels and we walked out of there.
I had lost my cool, and I was ashamed of myself for reacting the way that I did. I was also ashamed of your behaviour because your behaviour directly reflects back onto me as a parent. On the walk home I told you both so, and I did the one thing that I always said I would never do as a parent, I threatened to tell your daddy when he got home.
The ultimate loss of control.
At this point the ‘well meaning’ parcels, and the favourite dinner had all been lost in that one awful moment. I knew it was me. I could have reacted a little better, but it was also a little bit of you. Daddy did call on his way home from work and he could tell by my faltering voice that all was not well.
You both enjoyed your dinner and your drinks, and then your sister learned to error of her ways with an early bath and bedtime. Whilst bathing I explained to her why she was going to bed and why I was upset. When learning of the loss of pudding there were some more tears, but I snuggled her in a warm towel, dried her hair and gently put her pyjamas on. Once in bed she chose a story and I read it with the same care that I always do. She explained to me that if she was not to be allowed pudding then she would never be my best friend ever again, but I stood firm – my heart breaking.
There are so many ways I would change what happened, but I can’t go back now. It was a little bit of me, my tiredness, my loss of control – but it was also a little bit of you and the bad behaviour.
What’s done is done, tomorrow is a new day, slate wiped clean for both sides, and hopefully we have learned some tough lessons.
Being a mum is hard, maybe I am not cut out for it but I am giving it my best shot – I just want you to know that.