Saturday morning grocery run. Struggling to fit my 50 million plastic bags (I’ll save the planet another day) into the back of the car, along with the two school bags, keyboard and ballet bag, that were all meant to be brought inside last night. My attention is diverted. Through the fence, to the play area where there are about six or seven kids playing quite happily.
Four year old sees two other girls playing with a balloon.
Four year old tries to take the balloon.
Other girls, politely but firmly, take their balloon back.
Four year old starts crying…..loudly.
Mum of said four year old comes over and LOSES it. I’m talking yelling in her four year old’s face to stop crying over a “bloody balloon”, and even at one point screaming, “Tough Shit! It’s theirs.”
My thought….’She’s four.’
She’s four and at four, you see a balloon, a purple balloon and you want it! You don’t think about whether it’s yours or not. You don’t know that you are supposed think about that! You see a balloon and you get upset when you don’t get to have it.
The distress on this little one’s face and in her body as her mum towered over her and screamed in her face stuck with me the whole drive home and into the afternoon.
My thought…..’She’s four. She’s a little girl.’
Have I ever lost it at my kids? You bet, I have.
Have I ever lost it like that Mum….No.
I have however, had my share of Mummy Meltdowns and then later on thought, ‘That was ridiculous. What was that over? Who is the adult?’
I sometimes forget, you see, that my kids are just that…… little kids.
I forget that kids don’t remember to pick up their wet towels off the bathroom floor, because they are not thinking about having to come back and do it later. They are thinking about what happened with their friends at school that day or wondering what mum’s cooking attempt they are going to have to force down for dinner. They are imagining weird and wonderful versions of Hogwarts, where they combine forces with Harry and Ron to overcome Darth Vader and Lex Luther.
They are not thinking about picking up their wet towel…..because they are kids.
I forget that at twelve and six, when they see me cooking dinner, they have no idea about the parent that yelled at me today or the timetable that I stuffed up or the long To Do list that I didn’t get to…..again. They don’t know that I would love them to set the table so that the dinner I have just spent over an hour cooking doesn’t go cold. They are thinking, “Oh God, what is she trying to cook now and am I going to have to eat it?!”
They are not thinking about all this…..because they are kids.
As a mum (or dad), we forget. We forget that they are just kids. That they don’t think like us, they don’t plan or organise like us. They are not thinking an hour ahead, or about lunches for the next day or for the busy week ahead.
They are learning. They are learning to be responsible for their own things and pick up their wet towels. They are learning to think of others (namely, Mummy ;) before themselves......
and they are just learning that if a child has a purple balloon that they want, that they can't always have it....
So this is my new mummy goal…..that next time I am tired, frustrated or ready to just crawl in under the doona and sleep for a decade, I will remember that they are not an adult and that they don’t think like an adult
because they are kids.