Taking things in stride…

Parenting is hard. And rewarding. But, so hard. Each day I get up, especially if it’s been a rough night the evening before, I say to myself, “Today I will do better. Today I will…” fill in the blank. It might be, shut down my computer and be more present with my child or not get too frustrated when I’ve asked for the umpteenth time to get dressed, etc., etc.. I sometimes feel guilty when I lose my patience but then I also remind myself that you can’t HELP but lose patience with your kids.

For example, when we got home this evening, I discovered that my six-year-old had once again left her homework at her after care. Last week she brought home her homework but forgot her folder. She can be very absent-minded. I never have to worry that she’s not living in the moment. She’s ALL moment. I got pretty upset with her and explained that it’s VERY important for her to remember her homework at the end of the day. I was clearly not happy and she asked me if I was angry with her. I said that I wasn’t angry but that I was disappointed. She then got upset and threw her lunchbox and homework folder (minus the homework) on the kitchen counter and said she was really angry because I was angry with her and started crying. I felt REALLY bad that I made her cry until I found out that the reason she was crying was because she was worried that I wouldn’t let her play with her friend downstairs now that she forgot her homework.

In the end, I let her play with her friend for 30 minutes (I’m such a sucker.)

As I was writing yet ANOTHER note to her very strict first grade teacher(who I’m certain thinks we’re not on top of things)I began to wonder if I’d been too harsh with her. After all, she’s only six and she’s kept it together all day long and beyond. Perhaps there’s a better way to work WITH her to help her become less absent-minded but it’s hard to know what that is — especially when I’m not with her all day.

In the moments, I feel as if I SHOULD be upset that she keeps forgetting things but then we lay in bed together and look at book picks for her school’s book fair in a catalog and chat, I wonder if I should be taking this all more in stride. I know it’ll serve her well not to be forgetful as she goes through school and ultimately life, and I don’t think I should stop enforcing the importance of this but when I look into her sweet sleepy face and feel her soft skin and see her vulnerability, I think about the fact that before we know it, there won’t be night time snuggles and leaving homework at the after care will be the least of our worries. I know this is not a good reason to stop enforcing rules but it sure makes me want to sometimes.

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