My 7-year-old sat in the back seat of the car, screaming her head off. We’d just visited the ice-cream store and as I handed over the cone I’d bought her, I took a lick. Just one little, innocent lick. “YOU TOOK A LICK!” Sabrina wailed. For the next few minutes, she whined about my crime. By the time we got back to the car, she was in tears. I told her that I was going to toss her ice-cream if she didn’t clam up. She didn’t. And so I plucked it out of her hand, walked over to a trash and tossed it in.
Sabrina sobbed even harder. Me, I was distressed but proud: I am not always good on following through with consequences. True to form, that evening we ended up at the frozen yogurt store because my son wanted some. And I let Sabrina have fro-yo, too — with chocolate sprinkles (forgive me parenting gods). You know, because it wasn’t ice-cream.
Bad, bad Mommy.
This is imperfect parenting, the only kind I know. As much as I try to enforce rules, limits and structure, at times I give in when I shouldn’t.I make mistakes, I learn from them. I’m guilty of repeat offenses. I’m pretty sure they’re not the kind of slip-ups that will necessitate years of psychoanalysis. I hope. All I can say is, I’m human. (Well, most days.)
These are the mistakes I’ve made in my ten years on this parenting gig. Can I get a raise for good effort, please?
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"Mommmmmy, can I have whipped cream on my pancakes?" "Mommmmmy, can I have whipped cream on my Rice Krispies?" "Mommmmmy, can I have whipped cream on my meatloaf?" [TRUE STORY]
The best advice, as with co-sleeping: Just don't do it.
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