Friday, September 24, 2010

Dissection of a Fit

We had a crazy morning the other day. Do you ever have those? Most of the time we have normal mornings- we are busy but not rushed, kids are cooperative if not happy, and everyone gets to where they need to go on time. Occasionally we have a wonderful morning, and occasionally they are horrible.

Quite often, in our home, one of our children throws what we have come to call The Morning Fit. It could be triggered by almost anything- the wrong clothing, a fork instead of a spoon at the breakfast table, or some other minute detail of the morning routine. Sometimes The Morning Fit will last just a few moments, and sometimes it will last up to an hour.

The other day, The Morning Fit was triggered by reality. They had a little extra time after getting ready, and when that happens their favorite activity is to wake the neighborhood ride their scooters down the hill in front of our house. They went out to get the scooters, and one irritated the other, and then the other hit the one. They both came back in crying, so we spent a few minutes consoling and comforting. Unfortunately, by the time the tears stopped, the sad reality was that it was time to head to the bus stop, and therefore no scootering.

Enter The Morning Fit. Included within was crying, screaming, running and hiding, and removal of shoes and socks. Unfortunately, the root cause of The Fit did not disappear just because one of us was in an emotional crisis, so this Morning Fit also included (as a bonus) chasing and finding, dragging up the street, frustration, and shocked looks from the fellow bus-stoppers.

The child got on the bus (thank goodness, because I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do otherwise). The bus driver very kindly got the shoes out of the backpack and put them on. Bless her. The bus drove away.

I felt frustrated, beat up, and like a big giant failure of a mother who just displayed her worst moment to all the neighbors. One of my neighbors looked me in the eye, and simply said “wow, you handled that really well”.

Talk about turning my entire morning around! I knew I hadn’t handled it well. I knew I was a mess and it showed all over my face. But her kind words gave me a lift. They expressed kindness instead of judgment, and compassion instead of horror.

The next time I see a mother, struggling with her child, I am going to smile and tell her she is handling it really well. Even if she isn’t.


mommymuse said...

Me too. I've been trying to do that instead of thinking snottily to myself what a lousy mother the other person is...and whaddya know--it makes such a happier moment!

Katie said...

One thing I have learned is to never judge. You don't know what the situation is. The kid may have not slept for the last 4 days, they may have some kind of actual crisis going on in their personal life that effects their ability to function in their social life, they may have autism, and this is a good day!:) ( can you tell that it's usually MY kid that is throwing the gigantic fit:) What I'm trying to say is that it happens to everyone, and one little fit at the bus stop, whether handled well or not is nothing to judge your entire parenting ability by. You are an AMAZING mom. I wish I was more like you. (Some days I wish I lived with you, and you could take care of me:)
(and cut the fit thrower a LITTLE slack, I would be pissed if I missed out on scooter riding too:)
Hang in there, you are fabulous! And yay for your neighbor, she sounds fabulous too!

ali said...

Whenever I see a mother struggle with a child, I instantly feel for the mother. I've been there too, and heck if I know exactly how to handle it either!