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There Goes "Mom of the Year" Honors! My Award-Winning Lesson on Personal Responsibility

I just blew my shot at "Mom of the Year." Again. Like a storm that I didn't even know was brewing inside of me escalated to flood stage when my daughter said casually, "Mama, I don't care for the blueberry pudding."
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I just blew my shot at "Mom of the Year." Again. Like a pop-up thundershower, a storm that I didn't even know was brewing inside of me instantly escalated to flood stage when my daughter said casually, "Mama, I don't care for the blueberry pudding." I heard my own non-sensical words shoot forth:

  • "You begged me for it at the store."

  • "I am so tired of you asking for everything when we are out shopping and then not even wanting it by the time we get home."
  • "If you don't eat it now, don't ask me for anything else to eat today. There will be no other snacks and I mean it!"
  • And the kicker...
    • "Don't ever ask me to buy any more junk food at the grocery store again, young lady."

    You know you're in trouble when your mom busts out the "young lady" designation -- a term worse than being called by your first and middle name.

    So, what was the big deal anyway? Why was I so angry? Since when do I work so hard to convince my kids to eat a sugary dessert?

    I wish I could explain away my sudden delirium by saying that I was sleep-deprived or stressed from a long day, or at least suffering from low blood sugar. But in truth, I was well-rested, relaxed, and recently-fed. For a solid 20 minutes after my pudding tirade, I said over and over to myself that:

    • "The kids are gonna have to pay me every time they plead for something and then don't want it/use it/eat it/like it," and

  • "We are gonna have rules about not asking for things at the store anymore," and
  • "Things are gonna change around here."
  • But what I really figured out after venting sufficiently in my own head was that any real change was gonna have to start with me! I was the mom who was carried away by the ease of saying yes in the pudding aisle. I am the parent who sometimes tries too hard to avoid the bad feelings associated with saying no. I made a poor parenting decision when I chose to let my kids get a sugary dessert that we didn't need in a flavor I could have guessed they wouldn't like.

    Would I prefer they didn't ask me for such items in the supermarket/mall/craft aisle/department store? Of course. Is teaching them not to ask for what they want the answer? Of course not. While I didn't treat myself to quite the same earful my kids received, I did lecture myself sternly:

    • "My job as a parent is much bigger than satisfying my kids' every whim. I am ultimately responsible for being willing to say 'yes' and being able to say 'no.'"

  • "I'm gonna have to say no to unnecessary purchases and be okay with whatever disappointment my kids feel."
  • Being a good mom doesn't always equate to feeling good in the moment -- for me or for my kids. Deal with it. Disappointment happens. You can't always get what you want. Life isn't always fair. Blah, blah, blah.
  • The good thing about "Mom of the Year" honors is that kids give you lots and lots of opportunities for do overs.