It’s 6:15am and Wednesday; we (Audra, Genevieve, and I) have just arrived into my office. I want to emphasize that I am tired, a broken nights sleep, waking at 4:15am, carting kids to work… it’s making me cranky. I unlock the door to the office, punch in the security code and BOOM, Audra initiates planet meltdown. She needs a pencil and when does she need it? Now!! Why? Why does she need a pencil now? Because she has a packet of homework, a packet of homework that she failed to mention since Friday, a packet of homework with math that she could have finished with her tutor yesterday, a packet of homework that has now become a priority and if i don’t find her a pencil now, then her life is over.
At 11 years old Audra should have some ability to control her emotions but why hold back when you can impress an entire organization with your amazing irrational emotional outburst? Excuse me for sounding selfish and cold but the pencil is not my problem. By the way, what the heck is it with my kids and pencils? Pencils seem to bring on the most freakish behavior.
Back to the story. Here I am just trying to get my head straight and Audra is crying and repeating “I need a pencil”! I calmly look in the obivious places for a pencil and there are none. Right before we left this morning, she had a pencil but chose to not bring it; of course this is my fault too. She follows me from one room to another displaying emotion right out of a Hallmark movie… Over the Top. My employees filter in, looking in my office surprised and shocked. I work with all males, part of me wanted to shout “See, this is what your wife gets to deal with when you leave for work”! Instead, I smiled and said “Good Morning”>
Luckily, I have one employees with enough insight to see my struggle and he finds a few pencils. Meltdown over.
After I gave myself time to cool down, I walked into the conference room and sat down in front of Audra and said this to her. “I understand why you were panicking over not having a pencil but let me tell you why I don’t care/ You chose to be irresponsible and had natural consequences for your actions, luckily they were small and meaningless. If you don’t learn to deal with making better choices and what happens when you make bad ones, how will you survive as an adult. I won’t be there to bail you out every time and wouldn’t if I could. I love you; it should be very clear that your behavior was unacceptable and embarrassing, if it happens ever again, I will return the favor by embarrassing you at school.”
She got it, she crawled in my lap, said she was sorry and the world continues to rotate.
I understand having balance between work and your life but I don’t have the luxury to not work and I am also not paid enough to throw money at daycare all of the time but I make enough for the government to deem me “rich enough to do it all”. Being in the Middle Class, means you are handed a lot of hurdles. I am harsh with my children because those hurdles will only get larger as the middle class faces more problems, I need to teach them to be survivors, that pencil one day will turn in to a college application, and then into a potential job. All lessons need to lead to growing for the future.
Taking it one day at a time and hating another pencil,
Mom Under Siege