Writer wife teacher mom is on summer vacation! Two weeks in now, and I’d like to say I’m totally relaxed, reading books by the river, watching my kids frolic with one another in the yard, “Mom, this is the best summer ever! Can we just stay home and play outside all day? ” Yeah, no, this is not the reality of my summer vacation. In fact, just the other day, I took discipline of my argumentative seven year old boy to a whole new level. I don’t even know what he was back talking about– could have been any number of things:
- Why he can’t fish in the middle of 100 people swimming in the river, also his favorite fishing hole?
- Why he needs to put away his own laundry and make the bed: see summer 2017 goals for developing more independence, not going well for me.
- Why we now have hidden the snacks in the snack drawer and the formerly known snack drawer now holds cook books (“because, Mom, you don’t even use cook books”) and water bottles?
My brother Greg, Holly and the girls were visiting, so there was an element of showing off happening now doubt, but I did a few things right in the moment. I quietly removed him by taking his hand gently and leading away from the crowd, speaking to him in low whispers to not exacerbate the situation further. Classroom management 101, without the handholding of course. Then I did some things not so well because I was frustrated and pissed off actually by the level of sass and disrespect. Oh, I remember now, it’s all coming back to me. He had referred to me in a not so quiet whisper as his “stupid mother.” Yes, that’s right. Awesome moment and not the last. Given his obsession one year ago with the F bomb, I suppose even that could have been worse.
But when I sat him down “to think it over”, time it out, whatever you want to call it, I was also drinking a glass of water. So when he sarcastically shared how “ridiculous” this was that I was taking time away from his cousins visiting, I promptly threw my glass of water in his face. That’s right- Threw. It. In. His. Face. Sheer parenting awesomeness. And even now, a week later, there is no guilt even if the water punishment didn’t solve any of his disrespect; it did stop him from talking, which is what needed to happen for his life to remain in tact.
Then I remembered this bar of soap my friend Julie Rothemund from college sent me back in the fall right after I posted the article: “I’m Done Being Amazing” (https://heatherkrill.com/2016/11/27/im-taking-a-break-from-being-amazing/. She sent me the soap “Soap for OKAY MOMS, smells like TRUTH” because she felt I needed it. Maybe she felt like I also needed a hot bath. So I loved my friend Julie even more for deciding to make the purchase and just sending it to me in the mail as a, “It’s OKAY, Heather, you got this.”
And so I do. It’s 7:25 AM at this writing, and I’ve just moved the bike arsenal to the side of the house because our neighbors who write formal complaints to the condo association are up and tomorrow is July 4, the anniversary of our first official complaint (https://heatherkrill.com/2016/07/16/for-our-grumpy-neighbor-who-complained-about-too-much-going-on-in-our-yard/). Of course, if I see them out in the yard, I will offer the invitation to join us in celebrating our nation’s independence. Yesterday, they must have enjoyed the peace and quiet of our cul de sac as we were fishing the day away in southern New Hampshire. Today, we are heading over to North Conway to go strawberry picking. But tomorrow, tomorrow we celebrate Independence Day, first with a lemonade stand downtown to support Geoff’s program Eastern Adaptive Sports. Yeah, I let my kids paint signs outside on the deck under an umbrella during a thunderstorm. Then, following our second parade of the long weekend, we return to our our community yard with about 10 other families, stragglers, neighbors, anyone who walks by really for 75 feet of adaptive slip n sliding, small sided soccer, and barbecuing .
Something else that makes me an OKAY mom this morning is that my kids are watching unsupervised youtube videos right now just so I can finish this blog and be on our way. No day camp for us this summer. We are together 100% of the time, minus Tuesdays when I’m hiking in the woods with my big girls of summer. I will relish the sunshine and not being a teacher; I promise to dig deep to find the inner strength and patience of child psychologists and kindergarten/first grade teachers everywhere; chances are I will throw water in my child’s face again at some point– because I’m OKAY and so are you. The strongest people on earth must be stay at home parents so I raise my OKAY SOAP to you too!