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Maybe It's Just Me

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli
Maybe It's Just Me

Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes it is quite clear to me that I am the Worst Mom Ever.  On these days I realize with depressing clarity that I am probably a much better parent when I’m not with my children than when I am.   Because when I’m not with them, I’m always thinking about them and what I can do to make their life better, happier, more fun, more healthy—that’s the mom part of me that buys the special treat that I know will make my daughter smile or sets out the toys just the way my son likes them or creates a photo album that they will enjoy at some indefinable point in the future.

But then when I’m with them… well, they are 4 and almost-2, and that comes with certain…personalities.     Do you remember the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day?   Well, that’s me only I’m the one giving my children terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.   I’m the one saying “Do this” and “No, don’t do that,” and “Hurry Up” and “Slow down.”   I’m the one that just starts to ignore my daughter when she launches into the fourth crying fit in 15 minutes.

Because, this happened last night:  My daughter and I were having a stand-off over dinner—I wanted her to eat two bites and she wanted to eat zero bites, but she had gotten candy before dinner and the deal was she had to eat two bites of dinner and a deal is a deal after all and so I wasn’t budging from my two bite stance and because she’s four and she doesn’t care about deals or the importance of dinner for that matter she wasn’t budging from her stance and we were at a total impasse.  (and blahblahblahblahblah!  Just telling that story I’m like, “Lady!  Just open up a bag of pretzels and move on with the evening already!”)   ANYWAY.    At one point my daughter had run into the other room hysterically crying over what a horrible mean mother she had.       My almost-2 year old son said to me “Mommy, Marlowe crying.”   And I said “I know, honey.”   And he studied me for a beat, then meandered into the other room and I heard him say “What’s wrong, Marlowe?   What’s wrong, Marlowe?”   And then it was quiet, and then I heard her giggle a little, so I peeked my head into the room and saw him patting her gently on the back.

And in that moment I was simultaneously struck with horror and wonder.  There is nothing more wonder-full than to watch my children develop a bond that requires no prompting or cajoling from the outside—it’s theirs and theirs alone.    And there is hardly a thing more horrible than realizing that, at least in that moment, they were bonding over a common enemy= me.     My favorite blogger, Glennon Melton (www.momastery.com) calls life “brutiful” because it is beautiful and brutal all at the same time.     Yep.

So, maybe it’s just me… but do you also sometimes feel like you are the reason for people’s no good very bad days? 

If NO….   Go out and celebrate!  Seriously, go get a cake or just stick some candles in whatever food you happen to be eating and say YAY ME! Keep on loving your wonderful self, because heck YEAH you deserve it.

If YES…  if yes.    Well, come on over and join the Failers Club, where we fail and fail again… I hope I am not the only member.   Here we try to remember that even though life is brutiful, we are beautiful.     And beautiful is not perfect, not by a stretch.  In fact, here at the Failers Club we think the word “perfect” is kind of like the word “unicorn” and most likely only exists in our wonderful imaginations.    So, pull up a chair.  I’ll be waiting for you.


Interested in having Erika’s blog come directly to your e-mail each Tuesday? Have comments to share?  E-mail her at erika@tlpnyc.com.

Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.