Thursday, July 7, 2011

What the neighbors know

I yelled at Little Guy this morning. Barked, is more like it. We were running late because he'd been slow about putting on his shoes, and I don't like being late. I especially dislike it when someone else is taking my kid to camp, and we're holding up the person offering transportation.

Moments after I shouted at Little Guy we walked out of our apartment, and there was the young couple from next door in the hallway with their two little kids, looking rather shocked.

I could say that one thing I hate about life in the city is that your neighbors know more about your temper than you'd like. And yet the real problem is the temper, not that people know about it.

Like every other mom, I have days I don't handle things admirably. I have times when you'd gape and think I was a bad mother -- and in that moment, for that reaction to that kid, you'd probably be right.

But in its own mortifying way, it's good to have others overhear what we say in anger. Because sometimes the only way to see what we need to change in ourselves is to see ourselves through the eyes of others. It startles us into re-realizing that no, this is not okay. 

Anger may be understandable and it may be normal, but it's still not okay. Accepting that we're going to make mistakes is one thing; figuring out how not to make them repeatedly is another. And so this morning I am prying the exasperated Why can't he get his shoes on in a reasonable amount of time? question out of my brain, and exploring different ones: Why doesn't he get his shoes on? How can I prevent the problem from repeating? And how will I handle it differently if it happens again?


  1. lol I was watching a tv show last night where the mom video'd the kids not listening and obeying and in an effort to "show" them how they were being disobedient, she played the video. But in each instance, there she was yelling at the kids. It's true, moms yell. But that's ok too. And for the young neighbors, well, their time is coming. Love your blog and love hearing about your family. I received Guideposts as a Christmas gift a few years ago and fell in love with you and your family. Blessings today!

  2. Anger aside.....What is it with little boys and getting their shoes on????????????

  3. It's not just city living. We live on 19 acres, but have neighbors probably 100 yards away through the woods. When their kids were younger and outside, we heard every word "yelled" at them, as I'm sure they heard us. It does remind one to keep a lid on it HA!

  4. @Mary, Brilliant!

    Unfortunately, he's got a pile of sensory things going on, and there's not a chance he'd wear them. These were, in fact, Keens. Slip on and velcro shut. Sigh.

    @Jamie, if I figure that out, I'll share my millions with you!

  5. I love the fact of how real you are Julia. I just had a flood of memories flash through my mind of times that weren't my finest moments.
    You hit the key question, "How can I prevent this from happening again". And I'm sure you'll figure that out!! :)