Oops, I didn't handle that right

So, last night, after spending 45 minutes in traffic on the way to the game, and two and a half hours in an uncomfortable folding chair at the game, and a long drive home, I got the mail and found a progress report from school.  Unfortunately, it hit me when I was down, when I was tired, when I was discouraged, and when I was feeling hopeless about making a difference.

And, for about 97 seconds, I foamed at the mouth and barked like a rabid dog.  And, then I went to bed. 

I am embarassed and I am upset with myself because I've been doing so good at maintaining control.  I was upset because I did so much bragging on myself yesterday morning, just to have it all go to pot last night. 

And, I know I'm going to lose parenting points with some of you, but it IS all about me.  And, I cannot let grades and school be the only thing my whole family is focused on.  And, for the last few weeks, it has been just that.  Grades, basketball practice, inconvenient rides, uncomfortable seats, learning new skills, reminding the kid to do her homework, following up with teachers, reminding her to wash her face and wash her clothes and take her knee brace and turn in her homework and talk to her teachers and turn in her projects and feed her dog and wake up in the morning and does she have her shoes? 

And, I need it to be about me sometimes, too.

So, last night, I calmly handed her the progress report and advised that I would be contacting her teacher for more information.  And, then I brushed my teeth and came back out and went to hug her.  And, that's where she made her mistake.  She asked "why are you upset about this."  And, in 97 seconds, I summed it up.  For all the world to hear.

After I laid in bed for a few minutes, I apologized to her for yelling and I also apologized to Rob for yelling. 

And, I woke up feeling terrible this morning.  While I would have liked to pull a pillow over my head and just stay in bed for the day, I didn't.  I walked Rob's dog and I gently woke Sydney and I filled all the food and water bowls and I made breakfast, and when we got to table, I said very clearly and plainly that our every conversation as a family could not be about her and that she had to take care of her business and make room for the rest of us to be the focus once in a while.  We talked briefly about her grades and made a plan for some makeup exams and tutoring. 

And, then I got on with life.  Because that's also what parents have to do.  But, I don't have to give over my whole life to parenting.  I get to be important, too, and I know that some parents would disagree with that and say that when you become a parent, that's all you do.  But that's not going to work for me.  And, maybe that makes me selfish.  But, I can tell you at least one thing that is true for me.  If I'm not happy with me, if I'm not the focus of my own life, if I don't take some time for me to be important, then I am not going to be a good parent. 

So, on a lighter note, keeping my own scorebook at the games is going well.  I did much better last night, but I also watched the official scorekeeper and what she was writing down and she is not tracking all the things that I've learned to track.  So, after my official training next week, I should be plenty ready to track what they want me to track as opposed to what the NCAA requires.

And, there was another ball incident last night that I handled much better.  In fact, I was a ball magnet last night.  The first time, it was coming right for me and a coach in front of me caught it and Rob and I had a good laugh and I said "almost a repeat of my embarassing ball moment" and he said "I wouldn't have let that happen again" and we laughed some more.  A few minutes later, here comes the ball again and nobody stopped it but me.  I caught it with my one free hand and it bounced on my hand a few times, but I never lost control and then I tossed it back to the girl that was waiting for it.  And, I looked at Rob and said "what happened to not letting that happen again" and we laughed some more. 

Sydney sprained her ankle.  It's pretty swollen today and I sent her with a handful of OTC pills to help and told her not to participate in practice today.  She's off her foot for at least a couple of days.  But, next game is not until next week and she'll be fine by then. 

Take care and have a great Wednesday.  And, thanks for being my group that I can unburden to.  Sorry nothing quilty.  There is just so little time during the week. 



lw said...

Don't be too hard on yourself, Lane. What you're trying to do is really difficult-- how much to help and how much to let her fail so she learns to be responsible for herself. Balancing her needs against yours and Rob's. Letting you know you love her but won't let her get away with anything.

You're doing much better than you realize.

birdmommy said...

Kudos to you for reminding yourself (and your daughter) that the universe is not all about her. In the long rn it will help her grow up into a lovely person who cares about others as well as respecting herself.

Shevvy said...

Vent away, it's better out than letting it fester. You are no good to anyone if you don't look after yourself first!

Elizabeth said...

I am always fighting with the thought that I need to do more and be better when it comes to parenting, but honestly, I need a little "me" time too. And then I feel guilty. The thing I hate the most about parenting is that I never know exactly the right thing to do. Emotionally, I always want to make it "better" for my kids but rationally, I know they have to learn consequences and how to take care of themselves and how to work. It's all about finding the right balance, and I guess my balance must suck.

When you figure it out, let me know, because I'm always muddling through it.

xo -E

Patricia said...

I think I am probably the oldest one here---I have five adult children, the youngest is 40, and I can tell you from experience, you MUST make yourself #1 occasionally. If not, when these young "honey bunnies", become adults, they will be the first to tell you, they are NOT responsible for making you happy! Never mind all you did to make THEM happy---so you might as well make it about "YOU" every once in a while.


qltmom9 said...

I'm not so sure venting anger is so bad as long as you are doing it within healthy parameters. Like no name calling, no bringing up things that would hurt the other, etc. Sometimes it is good to let the other know how mad it makes you. But, yes, grades can't be YOUR life. You want her to be kind and smart...aren't you doing a GREAT job of THAT? WRITE your priorities and keep those in mind. Work them out together...the 3 of you.

Anonymous said...

You haven't lost any parenting points! First, you do have to have a (non-parenting) life. (In other parent combinations, there's the wise saying: "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!") And second, you have the grace to apologize, a valuable lesson in itself. Elle

Cindy said...

When my oldest was Sydney's age we had the same problem with grades, etc. I would scream and lecture until we were all miserable and it really accomplished nothing. Here was my solution. I told him that his grades had NO effect on my life. I had a good job, car, home, etc. and if he was content to dig ditches (or whatever) that was fine, but that he needed to be able to support himself that I would not. Then I let it go.....well he became a Fulbright Scholar, teaches for the military in Europe. I can't say that it was always easy for him or me but the best thing I did was realize that his grades didn't affect my life, I knew that he would have to find his own way and but the outcome on his shoulders.

Laura said...

I agree with Cindy. When I let go of making my kids' grades my problem, things got much better. My slacker child is now in his 3rd year of college and is making A's and B's. When he was in high school, I wouldn't have thought he would even go to college.
Doesn't the basketball team have certain academic standards? If you make her coach aware that she isn't performing in the classroom, she may lose her place on the team, and that could be more effective than all the punishment you can dole out.

Kate said...

There are seriously people who think that being a parent is all a person with children should be? They must be VERY tedious. And you, dear Lane, are not tedious.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Cindy,too. Kids can sometimes feel the responsibility is all on your side. You sometimes have to let them know that they are the one ultimately responsible for themselves. And that you are on their side, but that you aren't going to do it for them.

Carla said...

I didn't subtract any points. You're normal or at least my kind of normal. That could be scary. ;o)
Sydney needs to take some of the responsibilty on too. Quit being so hard on yourself.

Vesuviusmama said...

I'm right there with you, Lane. I was a person before my kids, and I don't cease to be a person while they are in my home. People often ask me how I find time for things like quilting, and honestly, it is because it is all about ME, what I want to do with my time. S much of our time is taken up by catering to others. I swear, when you blog about parenting, you channel my thoughts, insecurities and frustrations. I hear you.

DangAndBlast! said...

Yes! The only time I ever accidentally listened to Dr. Laura was one caller mentioned he had a business trip over his child's first birthday and wanted to celebrate it two days off, and she made out that he was a terrible parent... Switch off! And with the new baby, I thought maybe the "attachment" people would be a good fit, since I'm relatively earth-mother by nature and the super-scheduled baby thing isn't for me... But it's all, you're a bad parent if you go to the dentist and leave the baby to cry with Granny, or, as Dr. Sears says, you're "immature" if you'd rather teach the kid how to be careful around things than entirely redecorate and remodel your home... Having been around enough " look at everything I sacrificed for you" guilt-trippy parents of friends growing up, I know that way lies bitterness, resentment, avoidance (or codependency... which the parents might actually end up minding!), and all sorts of bad things. Yes, it *does* need to be about you. If she wants to be her own person, then you need to be your own person too.