Monday, September 23, 2013

Mother's Guilt and a Family Affair

Saturday night, as A and I walked through the pouring rain, trying to dodge huge puddles while I carried the umbrella and he manned the flashlight, we started talking about the comedy of errors that led us to that sopping baseball field.

"It's basically been a family affair Mom...everyone contributed, but I still think it's D's fault."

It all started with a typical Saturday around these parts with D and L both having baseball games AND pictures, and L having a soccer game sandwiched in between.    D's game was very early, so the day started with early rising and making sure that I had all of the various uniforms and gear for L's transitions between sports.

Oh, and we had snack for L's baseball game, which plays an important role later on.

D had a great baseball game, pitching three great innings, hitting two doubles, scoring three runs and making some other great infield plays.  He was really stoked.  L and I left early from the baseball game to rush over to his soccer game in which he was equally fierce.  I swear, that kid is SO tough and works so hard running up and down that field.  He had three great goals and was also very happy with his game.  After the game, he and I swapped uniforms in the car, while K and D went to grab a sandwich and pick up the snacks for L's baseball pictures and game.

At this point, everything was running like clockwork and I was secretly patting myself on the back for managing the logistics.  (on the backside it's important to note that I arranged E's pickup from the airport for a college recruiting trip and the other two minions were fed and occupied). 

L and his cousin W both had some great hits and fielding plays and loved batting back to back with their "cousin" bombs into the outfield.  D came back to the game with his dad because his friends were playing on a field next to his brother's. He walked up to me sitting in my green, sideline chair and handed me his itouch. I have told him a million times NOT to bring his touch to games, the beach, etc. and once again he didn't listen.  I told him as much and then he placed the touch in the cup holder of the chair.

Game over, I went over to bring the kids snacks, while K wandered over to the majors game next door to watch D's friends.  I hustled L through getting his gear together, grabbing the leftover snacks, because we (me, K, A and M) had to get home to get ready for the b'nai mitzah of a boy on A's team and his sister. 

Are you still following?  I was rushing because we all needed to shower AND I still had to iron A's shirt.  While walking out, I arranged with one of the dad's of D's friend to let him stay till the game was over and give him a ride home.

Again, virtual patting on the back occurred as we all pulled up to the country club right on time where the b'nai mitzvah was taking place, looking lovely and ready to enjoy the evening.  And enjoy it we did with the moving ceremony, great food and fun dancing.  A and M had a blast.

We got home around 8:45 and D asked me where his itouch was.  I immediately said, oops, must still be in the car with the green chair. As I walked into the garage I yelled back over my shoulder, "D I've told you over and over you shouldn't bring this thing to games!"  I opened the hatch and, as I'm sure you've figured out, the green chair wasn't there.  I'd left it at the field.

D started crying and went into his bed.  I yelled for A to change quickly and we'd headed over to the field to see if it was there.  At this point, it was pouring down rain and had been for several hours.  I hoped that I had just left the chair in it's bag next to the spot where I parked and that the touch would be okay.  I also thought we could use the rice trick and dry it out if it was caught in the rain.

Much to our dismay, we found my chair sitting exactly where I had left it, and no itouch.  Someone had taken it.

I got home and felt terrible.  He loves that thing.  We got it for him when he turned 10 as a way to try to show him that we thought he was a grown up boy and in an attempt to break him out of the funk he was in at the time.  It is such a stress relief for him.  He listens to music, checks sports scores, texts with his friends (under my supervision) and plays fun interactive games with his soccer buddies.

Somehow, I got myself to sleep knowing that I had an early morning drive an hour away in MD the next day for soccer.  I woke up at 3am, however, physically feeling awful.  I could not go to sleep.  The anxiety was terrible.

So I did what every logical person would do at 3am and ordered him a refurbished itouch from the same generation on ebay for $129.  I even bought him another VT silicone cover on amazon.  As I clicked the buttons, I felt a calmness come over me and the physical symptoms left.  I was able to read on the couch for a few minutes and then fall right asleep when I went back up.  I went completely against all of my parenting instincts, but at that point I would do anything to stop feeling the way I was feeling. The thought of him not having it for 3 more months pushed my mommy guilt in major overdrive.

The next morning, I started to tell him about my middle of the night purchase when he said, "I know it was my fault Mommy, I can wait till Christmas."  I could have kept my mouth shut, but I told him what I had done.  We are going to work out a contract for his behavior to see if this will be an incentive to keep the touch.  I'm crossing my fingers.  I'm not sure what I'm going to say to the other kids.  I also haven't told K yet (he's in a totally stressing about money mode lately).  Not sure how I'm going to swing that one. 

While it was D's fault, it was also totally my fault for leaving the chair.  He is only 11 after all.  K also dropped the ball by not helping me get things together after the game.  A even added (dripping with sarcasm) that if I didn't have to iron his shirt that I wouldn't have been rushing.  Hence, the family affair.

I'm proud of D for processing the situation overnight and taking some blame.  He did show me how grown up he can be.  I'm not very proud of my parenting in this situation, but can forgive myself for once again doing the best I can do at the time.  I think holding him to some changes in his actions around here might work.

Mommy guilt and a crazy schedule can create a formula for a hopefully minor parenting blunder.  It's at least nice to see my little boy smiling that his mommy did something just for him that didn't involve laundry, feeding or driving.


  1. Your day made me feel tired! That's a lot of running around to do in one day! xoxo

  2. Oh, poor sweet boy. At least it was something that can be replaced. I have nightmares sometimes about if we lose my daughter's stuffed bunny, or something along those lines, that we can't do anything about if it disappears.

  3. (From same commenter who posted about having a morning schedule) --

    I don't think this was a parenting blunder at all! In the circumstances of lots of chaos, mutual mistakes/forgetfulness (he forgot the ipod, you forgot the chair), and an object that means a great deal to your son, you acted with love and compassion.

    One way that you could turn this to your advantage would be to possibly tell him that you "own" the ipod until Xmas, but he can use it in the meantime on a limited basis (when homework is done, etc.). So you control it and keep possession, but you give it to him for limited time periods. So there is a consequence to his breaking the rule about no electronics at sports games, but not such a severe consequence like waiting until the end of Dec. for a replacement. And surely your DH would understand that you simply did some early Xmas shopping for D, so it's not an "extra" expense.

    Your mastery of logistics is rockstar-worthy!


  4. I have to say, you TOTALLY rocked the scheduling, Missy! So, there was a blip and a stolen iTouch. You got the rest of it together and made it where you needed to be, right?

    Did I ever mention the time I lost Beanie's Bunny? Yeah, that was really REALLY bad. Three nights of trauma and drama and we never did find it. :o( Like Kory said, at least it was replaceable.

    I really like Davidah's idea with regards to using the iTouch as a motivational device. And, one thing I've learned from Hannah is, I really have no right to judge anyone's parenting decisions because I've not walked in their shoes. We make the best choices we have in the moment with the information we have right then. You did just fine. :o)

    Again, kudos for managing the logistics of that crazy weekend!

  5. As a parent, I don't think it makes sense to hold yourself up to arbitrary rules that don't feel right to you in real-life situations. Yes, he was irresponsible, and there was a natural consequence of that. However, the punishment was affecting you as much as or more than it affected him, which isn't fair to you. In a family like yours, you have to be flexible. I think you did the right thing.