I'm pretty secure in my parenting abilities. I've been doing this for a long time, babysitting for a good twenty five years, being an overly involved aunt for about fifteen, and a mother to my own children for nine years. But there are times, like today, when I'm pretty convinced that I'm flat out awful at taking care of children, instilling manners and values and self control, and I'm just humiliated, mortified and feeling very much like I'd benefit from having a full time nanny to care for these kids.
Sam had a birthday party today. At three fifteen, which is right after school, and he didn't want to go. Unfortunately, I had already RSVP'd, bought a gift, and arranged to drive Jordyn to the party as well. So not going wasn't an option. And Jessie came out of school in a wretched mood, she was angry and frustrated about not being allowed to sit in the front seat.
So the deck was somewhat stacked against me. But I drove down to Pump It Up, about a half hour away, with the kids fighting and arguing over snacks and Sam happily insisting that he wasn't going to any party. I pulled up in front of the building, and there were two other moms, getting their happy, contented children out of the car. And my oldest two took the cue to go completely insane, screaming at each other. I opened the van to get Jordyn out and unbuckle Julianna to take her inside to drop Jordyn off with me - and the screams... oh the screams. I slammed the door quickly. I started explaining to one of the other moms (one of the ones with happy, smiling, contented children) that I was going to drop off Jordyn, and her mother would be there soon to pick her up, and then I heard this ungodly screech emanating from my vehicle - because my two children had lost their minds screaming insanely at each other.
It was just ... mortifying. I felt like the worst mother in the world, embarassed and horrified that my kids were behaving so badly. I could NOT stop them from screaming at each other, short of taking them out of the car and duct taping their mouths shut (and dammit, I didn't have any duct tape handy).
It wasn't a fun ride home. For any of us. Because by the time I got back to the car, I was literally almost in tears, I was so embarassed. Every other kid was thrilled to go to the party, delighted to see their friends, I couldn't get my five year old out of the car. And worse, my nine year old was a screeching disaster.
I'm tired tonight. Tired and discouraged and desperately in need of a little break. Bedtime is coming up soon, thank goodness.