Monster Mom

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli
Monster Mom

Last spring I talked about my realization that I was the Worst Mom Ever, and I’ve just reminded myself of that again.   Last weekend I became a Monster Mom… my five and two-year olds took my patience to the limits and then sent it flying off a cliff, and as a response I heard myself being snarky, snappy, and sarcastic.   Seriously, I’m not anywhere close to that big of a jerk with anyone else on earth—even people who might deserve a little snappiness from me—and yet there I was, failing the two people I love most wholly and deeply on this entire planet; the two people who, should you choose to harm in any way, I would spend the rest of my life hunting you down and making sure you regretted the moment you laid eyes on any of us.    But I digress.

Anyway, at the end of my Monster Mom day I just wanted to curl under the covers and cry—so sad for not having more patience, for not being more loving, for letting myself get so upset at them, and for what?  Really, just being kids, in the end.   They are learning and finding their way in this world—why can’t I give them space to do that already?   Why do I expect them to act like fully formed and rationale adults?   And also, how is it possible for me to go from Super Mom to Monster Mom to Meh Mom and right back to Super Mom again all within the same hour, much less the same day?

The problem with those Monster Mom moments  of course, other than the certainty that my actions will cause my children to close their hearts to the world and pay thousands of dollars in future therapy,  is that thinking of my Monster Mom behavior makes me think about all the other ways I am, and have ever been, a jerk.   I let down my team at work because of dropped communication; I was rude to the waitress who wouldn’t allow substitutions on the menu; I forgot to send my friend a birthday card; I didn’t eat right or exercise again today; and man, how is anyone who knew me in my ever-so-annoying college days even still friends with me, seriously?

The list could go on and on, and it’s a dark and stormy list.    It’s both trivial and too deep to comprehend.    And it’s inviting me to stay and wallow.

But if I stay and wallow then I’m not trying again.  I’m not trying again to be loving and joyous and forgiving with my children.  I’m not trying again to be nicer to the idiotic, I mean nice, waitress.   I’m not trying again to let someone know that I’m thinking about them.

We all talk a lot about forgiveness, and forgiving ourselves, and it occurs to me now that it is even much simpler, and more difficult, than that…  don’t wait to forgive yourself—carry on beating yourself up if you’d like.  Just show up and keep trying again and again while you’re at it.     Because those at the receiving end don’t know what we’re thinking, they just know what we’ve done.  I think my children don’t pay as much attention to my Monster Mom moments as I do, especially when I follow them up with Super Mom moments.   I think my friend appreciates a belated birthday card or even a simple text message, as much as a perfectly packaged and on-time one.     Simply, I think most of us are much less-Monsterish than we might think we are, especially when we just keep trying.

So I may pour myself a glass of wine sulk about the fact that I snapped at my precious five-year old, but while I’m doing that I’m also going to take a deep breath, get down on the floor, and play “school” for the five thousandth time today… and I’m going to be the best dang student she’s ever seen (until I’m not).

 Have you had any “Monster Mom” moments lately?  If so, how can you just try again?   


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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.