Motherhood Personal Posts

Bad Moment or Bad Mama? I’m Not Sure. Motherhood is hard

motherhood is hard via @chgdiapers

Motherhood is hard

Day 6 of my husband being out of town. Me at home with all 3 kids, alone. During the summer so no “breaks” for school. 2 1/2 or so more days to go before Daddy gets home. I’ve been trying to keep them busy – we’ve gone to the park, had a picnic, taken a trip to Target. It’s been rough!

On this particular day, we went over to our local cloth diaper/toy store, chose & paid for a few items, then headed next door to have lunch. This place is in a very old building. Near where we were sitting this visit, my 5 year old noticed a door.

door near coffee bar at mellow moods

Photo via, used with permission.

My son asked where the door went, and I eyeballed the space & said it was most likely a small storage area. In hindsight (which is 20/20), I should have asked an employee. Do you see where this is going? Yep, he waited until I had my back turned and my hands full, then unhooked the lock and leapt back from the door.

It swung open, and revealed an ancient, narrow, steep staircase to the cellar. Mind you that I also had my extremely energetic two year old with us, so I had to try to put the things I was holding down, then lunge back towards the door to yank it closed before one or more of my kids tumbled down through the doorway.

After sloshing drink on the floor, I grab the doorknob to close the door and…the doorknob came right off in my hand. I was totally not expecting that, and it bounced to the floor. So I grab the doorknob, shove it back in and try to close the door. It was held closed by a very tight, bent hook & eye closure, which (naturally) I couldn’t for the life of me get closed. (Yes, I was able to laugh about this later.)

At this point I am utterly mortified and was muttering to my son that he absolutely is not to touch things that don’t belong to him, why did he do that, do they do these things solely to ruin my day? Thankfully, an employee came and rescued me, got the door locked, and tried to make me not feel like quite as much of a jerk.

Kids are kids and kids are curious. Especially this little guy. He doesn’t do things to be malicious, he is just insatiably curious. I told him later that if he was really curious, we could have asked, but that it wasn’t OK for him to open the door like that.

I’m ashamed that I allowed myself to be so embarrassed & flustered by this, and that I didn’t respond the way I should have. I’m still really not sure if I should have somehow “punished” him for this (he is great at trying to hide things, so he won’t get in trouble – likely he jumped back hoping I’d think it just opened itself, or that he could peek without me seeing.)

I’m really bothered that I feel like I’m worried as much about what others think of my parenting skills, as I am of actually properly parenting my kids. I should have just calmly told my son that I know he was curious about what was behind the door, but that it wasn’t OK for him to open it. I panicked when I realized how easily someone might fall down the steps while I tried to put things down that I was holding, and when I yanked out the doorknob, then couldn’t get the door closed I panicked some more. I hate looking like my kids are uncontrollable hoodlums and I hate looking like I can’t handle their misbehavior. If I could just never take more than 1 child at a time anywhere myself, I’d be thrilled, ha.

Motherhood is hard. I could really use a glass of wine. If only liquor stores delivered.

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Maria Moser
Maria is the mother of 3, writing about cloth diapers & going green. You'll often find her juggling her preschooler and typing 1-handed in between sips of cold coffee. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development and other services.
  • Erin
    August 12, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    I don’t think you or your son did anything wrong. The restaurant owners should lock that door!

  • August 11, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Tell me about it. My husband and I took all 3 kids to Publix yesterday and our 6 1/2 and 5 year old children acted nutso! He said that the kids never act that way when he has taken them some place. Well, he usually only takes our 6 1/2 year old son places with him, and once in a great while, our 5 year old daughter. So even when he takes all 3 kids with him some place alone, they act very well behaved, because they know better then to act up around him. But when it’s me, him, and the 3 kids, it’s a whole other story! When it’s me and my 2 year old daughter, she’s an angel!

    • August 11, 2014 at 6:40 pm

      My hubby usually just takes them on short errands to get them out of my hair. Like to Wal-Mart for one item. No real need to be there, everyone’s relaxed etc etc. They are generally fine for him!

  • Athena
    August 11, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Love that place. So glad my toddler never noticed that hook and now that I know what’s behind it I’ll watch out for her being curious around it. We all lose it sometimes momma, it’s ok your human. Now next time her asks somethinglike that you’ll be better prepared for the lets ask someone who knows question before her starts diving in.

    • August 11, 2014 at 6:40 pm

      Seriously, next time he asks “what is that” I will put down my sandwich & immediately find someone to ask, LOL!!

  • Sarah Griffin
    August 11, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    I’ve been there with feeling overwhelmed and flustered out in public with my kids. Now that I am older, I think it bothers me more what others think. I really need to get over it and remember I am doing my best. I am glad you were able to get the door closed before anyone fell down the steps being curious. At the end of the day it only matters what God and you think.

    • August 11, 2014 at 6:42 pm

      Thanks Sarah. I wish I didn’t care about that as much. People judge mothers SO harshly. Had I not been worried about that I would have just quickly closed the door, said oh look it’s a staircase, I’m afraid someone will fall. Can you ask the woman behind the counter to help me close this please? I’m sure I was beet red. I know I was sweating by the time we got out of there, ha ha.

    • August 11, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      Someone on my Facebook posted this along with one of those a million ways to be a good mother images: “Don’t forget, there are also a million ways to be a terrible mother, no matter how hard you try not to be.

      Society needs to stop treating parents as unquestionable. The effed up kids they raise affect the rest of us, not to mention it sucking to be that kid.

      Motherhood (really parenthood–I am so not singling out moms) is not just a show up and do your best, and it will all be ok kind of job, no matter how much we all wish it were.”

      It continues beyond that, but that’s the pertinent part. :-/

      I wouldn’t think too much of it but this person and I connected on FB after I ran into her in a waiting room where my boys weren’t listening and I was getting flustered. It was the second day IN A ROW I had them in a waiting room for an HOUR for DD’s appts. Generally wouldn’t do that but DH had to go to work instead of watching them like I expected. I had nowhere to take them. I couldn’t go stand on the sidewalk and risk someone darting out into the parking lot, not to mention DD coming out & not knowing where I was.

      The previous day I brought a ton of toys but they were being entirely too loud with them. This day they were climbing on the chairs etc etc. and I was getting more & more flustered, my voice getting louder & higher pitched…I didn’t realize until she got up that it was someone I knew, then I was trying to replay what all I’d said & how bad of a mother she thought I was.

      That Facebook status really made me feel lower than low.

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