Lessons in the Face of Rudeness

Do you ever have one of those days where nothing goes right and you decide that you’re a terrible parent, only to have your entire mood turn around when someone tells you something unexpected and wonderful about your children and your parenting skills?

Isn’t that the best?

Yeah, I had the exact opposite of that happen to me today.

We were at OT this afternoon for Sam, because Sam gets OT now because he has some handwriting issues, and my children were all insane in the membrane, as they are wont to be, running around like little maniacs while the OT was trying to talk to me about how we can just get Sam to slow down and write neatly already.

I flashed back to when I had all three of them at a doctor’s office and they weren’t even being all that, let’s say “enthusiastic,” and the doctor told me, “I feel for you.” I’m not sure if that’s because I had just made a joke that even though Jack is autistic, look at him drawing quietly in the corner, and she was “feeling for me” because I have a child with autism or that she was “feeling for me” because my children have the decorum of wildebeests.

Honestly, I’m a lot more upset about the latter.

I spend a lot of time when we are out in public giving lessons when my children are rude. If you were to run into me somewhere, you would likely hear me saying, “This is a place of business, so we do not run,” or “We walk on the right side of the hallway,” or “If someone says ‘excuse me,’ you look up to see if they are talking to you and then you move out of the way.”

That last lesson was taught in a 7-11 and resulted in the gentleman next to us sheepishly saying “excuse me” and moving out of our way as we left. He told me it was a good lesson.

The lesson I taught in the face of rudeness today was, “When your OT calls your name, you don’t just ignore her until you are finished reading your sentence.”

Anyway, all of this constant correcting makes me feel like I am the worst mother in the world with the worst behaved children in the world. I said something to that effect when Jack tossed Quinn into a glass wall this afternoon.

The therapist then told me, “No, you’re one of my favorite moms. I think you’re doing a great job with them. You’re trying. So many parents don’t seem to try.” That may not be exactly what she said, but it was the gist of it. I don’t remember exactly because I was too busy feeling happy, trying to pay attention, and attempting to prevent any of my kids from getting on the elevator without me.

I do remember driving home feeling pretty proud of myself.

I was proud right up until I had to make a stop and, on the way back to the car, accidentally threw Quinn to the ground, bloodying his gums and injuring his cheek on the door to the car. What followed was a carnival of “I hate you, Mom!”s and “You did that on purpose!” from one child, followed by a vigorous defense of me by another child, which resulted in a verbal fistfight between the two of them.

I arrived home to an untidy house, dinner that had to be made, homework that had to be finished, and a rapidly disintegrating self esteem.

Parenting is hard.

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