Mommy FAIL!?


February 15, 2013 by Carin

Do you ever have one of those play dates where you as the parent need it as much as your child needs to play with their friends?  We had one scheduled for last week with Melissa and Gina’s kids.  All of our kids are respectively the same age, so play dates are always easy for us moms and fun for the kids.  We had it set up a week prior that we would meet at the St. Louis Park Rec Center for Tot time.  They have bouncy houses, blocks, trikes, kitchen stuff, trampolines, trucks, ect. The kids love it and they have 2 hours of run around crazy time to just play.  As moms we love it because the space is big enough they can run around, but small enough that we can keep our eyes on all 6 kids from one spot.  We don’t have to follow them around, but can cross the room in seconds if something happens or other kids aren’t sharing or our kids for that matter.  Plus it was Friday and by Friday we are all burned out from the prior 4 days happenings.  A Friday play date is the answer to get us through the final day of the week!

But for me the morning of this play date was a total Mom Fail in my mind.  It is a week later and I still think I totally failed on this one.  Meal time in our house is either easy peasy or a total nag session and that particular morning it was a nag session.  Grace was given a small bowl of yogurt with granola and some fruit, of which she requested.  She ate her fruit and two bits of yogurt.  I am not a member of the clean plate club, but an honest effort needs to be made eating the food chosen and served.  I hate wasting food!  The portions given that morning were not out of line.  So I expected the yogurt to be eaten without incident.  Two bites does not constitute a decent breakfast in my book and knowing that the kids would be running around for two hours,  I wanted that yogurt and granola eaten.  I try to instill in my kids that food is fuel, we are privileged to have a fridge full and food it to not be wasted.  If you ask for it, you must eat it.  So when she refused to eat the food she asked for, I told her we were not going to the Rec Center and she would not be playing with her friends.  No response.  I gave her more time.  Once again I reminded her we would not be going.  No response. So I finally told her I was calling Gina and Melissa and letting them know we would not be coming.  She got upset.  She stormed off to her room and I reminded her again that because she chose not to eat her breakfast that we would not be going.  What followed was a rare response, tears and BEGGING to eat her breakfast.  I tried to stand my ground, I really did, but I WANTED to go to the play date!  She begged and began to eat her granola and yogurt with tears streaming down her face.  Then I did what I shouldn’t have and I had a huge Mom fail.  I told her that we could go after numerous times telling her that we were staying home.

I hate that I told her No and then turned around and told her Yes.  Huge Mom FAIL!  What do you do?  I needed the time with friends, she and her brother needed to burn off energy.  I should have stood my ground and stayed home.  I don’t want my kids to think that eventually they will get their way if they beg and cry and do as they were asked.  I guess the only way they will learn is if I do stay home next time, but that sucks for me.  I know that is being a parent and sometimes you have to give up stuff to teach your kids a valuable lesson, but why does it have to suck so much.  Melissa tried to make me feel better by making me realize that eventually Grace got the severity of my words, otherwise she would not have begged to eat her breakfast.  It made me feel a little better until I told my husband the story and he said that for her to really learn we will need to follow through on such a threat.   I said I knew that and that I felt like I failed teaching her a lesson.

In my mind I am asking myself “Is this how kids end up running the family instead of the parents?” or “Is this why kids today are such entitled brats these days?” Are parents too weak to stand up to their kids?  We are the foundation for all their actions, so it must start with us.  Parenting is the hardest job ever.  Some days it feels like “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t!”  It feels like we are starting to enter that age where a manual would be a great help, but we all know that doesn’t exist.  We do the best we can and learn from our mistakes.  Next time  I will be stronger…..hopefully!

Is there a middle ground?

Have you ever done this exact same thing?  Have you stayed home or taken an item away and your child finally got the lesson?

3 thoughts on “Mommy FAIL!?

  1. I have so been there so many times. I feel like we don’t follow through nearly enough with our kids. And our kids don’t take us seriously enough as a consequence (They are 13, 10, 10 and 3). It’s something I’ve been aware of lately as I try to really stick with what I’ve said. What I have learned, though, is that I have to make the consequence something I can live with as well. For example, maybe it would be, we are going to the play date because Mommy and siblings need it, but you will have to sit on the side with Mommy. Or, if you choose not to eat your breakfast, we will save it for lunch and you won’t get any snacks at the play date. I’ve been in those situations where there’s been a consequence that I really don’t feel like enforcing, and whether I’ve backed down or enforced it to all of our pain, I’m not happy. So I think really carefully about what I can live with. And I think it’s okay to say to your kids, “I’ve thought about it, and I’ve changed my mind. The consequence will be X instead of Y.” Our kids can learn that we are not infallible and that we can change our minds. We often say or do things in the heat of the moment that we regret later, and if we enforce them just so we stay consistent, I don’t think that’s a positive message either. And it gets a lot harder as they get older and can argue and negotiate with you. Those are valuable skills as well, skills we want them to have, so I think it’s valid to say “I thought about what YOU said, and I agree that we should handle it differently.” Our authority doesn’t have to be inflexible to be authoritative.

    • Carin says:

      Thanks, Natalie. You are right, it has to be something we can live with. I also like what you said about changing my mind, but enforcing that message. Great comment and suggestions!


  2. anne says:

    I try not to make eating a battle. It does suck to waste so much food though! Something I do is if a meal is hardly eaten and we are headed somewhere, I will bag up the food and the kid can either eat it in the car when they whine they are hungry for a snack, or they can eat it as the snack at the playdate or whatever it is. Point being- they’re eating the food on their plate BEFORE they get any other type of snack. If I remind them that the lunch they don’t want to eat will reappear later at snack time, that sometimes gets the ball rolling to eat it when they’re supposed to.

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