Last week I realized that my driver's license had expired. By about eight months. Which meant that I had to have my mom bring up my birth certificate so that I could verify my identity. So, this afternoon I went to the tag agency with my children to get my new license. Thank goodness they didn't make me take the test again; I can't park to save my life!
Anyway, it turns out that the tag agency late on a Monday afternoon (the first Monday of the month) is full of people, FULL! Also, it is about 100 degrees right now where I live. So, there I am with my kiddos, crowded into a small, hot room with a bunch of strangers (emphasis on the word strange). Like the smart kids that they are, mine quickly realize that mommy is trapped and distracted. Perfect opportunity to start running, screaming, needling for snacks, playing with the signs in the window, anything they can do to be as obnoxious, aggravating, and distracting as possible. For extra fun, my son took to throwing tantrums on the floor when I tried to make him sit. Have you ever tried to drag a screaming toddler off of the floor, while wearing a dress, in an overheated room full of strangers. There is no modest way to do that.
My kids are good kids, but they have their moments and today was a perfect storm of bad decisions on all of our parts. So, finally after nearly an hour of torture, I drag my sweaty babies back into the car and try to head for our next stop, a small grocery run. My daughter is in the back seat shouting demands of me over and over. My son has taken his shoe off and is shrieking at the top of his lungs to have it put back on. Somewhere on a residential street, I did something that I have thus far never done as a mother. I put the car in park, turned around and screamed "Shut up!!!" And maybe again...and again. We then actually drove in silence for a few minutes to our next stop. I did apologize when we got to the store but I made sure that they apologized to me as well. I don't know if they really got it, but it made me feel better. I was horrified by this behavior, my own and theirs. Ugh, this motherhood thing is so stinkin' hard sometimes! But, I have learned a small lesson...get the errands done in the morning (particularly in the summer), when kids and mommies are still a little fresh and energetic, not an hour before dinner time when everyone is becoming tired and cranky.
This little episode did make me think though. My kids are loved, wanted and well cared for. My husband and I are married college graduates, homeowners with supportive families, great friends, and money to pay our bills. Consider the single parent, the teen parent, the unemployed parent, the grandparent on their second round of this madness. Parenthood is hard and we all make mistakes. I am embarrassed by my behavior towards my children today but I chose to share hoping that it will help us all remember to show our fellow hard-working, well-meaning parents a little support and understanding.