So there we were...two rows of mommies waiting anxiously to see what our precious 3 year old ballerinas had learned in class so far. We had been invited to view the last fifteen minutes of class to see their progress.
I had strapped the boys in and entered the room with 'the big caboose'-- and yes, that is the actual name of our stroller. I sat in an end chair, rolled the boys up next to me, and pulled out my phone to video.
The girls were all lined up, each standing on their own star--symbolic, don't ya think? The teacher started the music and prodded them on... telling them each step to complete. They were all so cute and the videos were a rollin'. They finished the song and Sister ran over to me and said, "Mommy! Was it beautiful?" I smiled and answered that yes, it really was! Many of the moms laughed and commented on how sweet that was. The mom next to me even leaned in and said, " I wish some of that would rub off on my daughter," as her daughter seemed a little shy. I smiled as my little free spirit went to get in line for them to walk by one by one showing their graceful jumps and hops.
And then it happened.
My sweet little 3 year old became not so sweet. She decided that she was not going to stand in line and show me...well, anything. She came over to me crying, and I did the typical mommy steps to get her back in line--literally and figuratively. "Do what you are supposed to and we will get a surprise after class...Go get in line or mommy's going to leave...All of your friends are showing their mommies what they learned, can you show me?...If you're not going to participate, then we will all leave right now...Fine, no surprise, and mommy is very upset..."
Ultimately, all that got me was tears and more defiance. I was getting angry...but trying to be cool. After all, the other mommies were watching. And then it got worse. She finally went to get in line through the coaxing of her teacher--and a promise to be the line leader. She got in front of the line, and froze. She would not go. So the kids continued without her. Once they had finished, she stomped her foot in protest. She had not been the line leader.
She pretty much cried the rest of the time, and then wanted a sticker...and a surprise.
I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I was upset with her for acting that way...and upset at myself for being embarrassed. I could just hear all of the other mothers thinking how glad that they were that their child didn't act like that.
We have to take the good, the bad, and the ugly crying with our children...but come to think of it, we have to take it with everyone. Unfortunately we are not perfect, and we make mistakes--whether we are three, or ninety three.
I have yet to understand why it cuts so deeply when we feel that our parenting is being criticized by others. If I am seen as a bad friend, I hate it, but so be it. If I am seen as a bad daughter, I can deal. If I am seen as a bad employee, I'll go somewhere else to work, but if you tell me that I am a bad parent, the claws come out. Why does this cut deeper than the others?
I think that perhaps, it is because our children are seen as a reflection of us. And I suppose that they are. If our children are great--it is because of us. If our children are horrible--it is because of us. Talk about high expectations on us as parents.
The way that I see it, we parents are all just flying by the seat of our pants. There is no great book of parenting that we receive at the hospital that has all of the answers. We just hope and pray that we are doing what is best for them, and continue to move forward.
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."--Proverbs 22:6
*This does not mean that our children will, therefore, be perfect, just hopefully guided.*