I'll be saving up for therapy, not college!

As my profile description states, I am a homeschooling mama. I absolutely love it! As parents, we are our kids' first teachers in life; they learn their most basic life skills from us. And with homeschooling, I get to teach Language Arts, Math, Science, etc., along with continuing to educate him about morals, ethics, values, and spiritual growth. Despite having to make sacrifices, like having to survive on one income versus two, this is definitely the best decision we could have made. We are on year four of our educational journey, and it's been wonderful.....mostly.

Now that I've got that little disclaimer out of the way, please allow me a teeny tiny moment of whining as I tell you about one eensy weensy thing I don't love about homeschooling: I am with my son ALL. THE. TIME. We are practically attached to the hip almost 24 hours a day. Some of you are probably shaking your heads, making *tsk tsk* noises because you think I'm a terrible mom for not wanting to be with my 9-year-old ALL. THE. TIME. All I'm gonna say to that is, don't judge until you've walked in my shoes! Truth is, for the most part, I do love it. Jer and I have a great relationship and are very close. One could even say we're great pals. This is him:

...such a cutie right? Of course he is, he inherited his good looks from none other than yours truly. He has my hair, my smile, overall facial structure... and I've come to realize lately that he has also inherited some of my personality traits. Normally I would be bragging about how great that is, because I do believe that he's learned a great deal about kindness, compassion, charity, and love from me (and his daddy too!). But...and of course, there is always a big fat BUT... something happened a couple days ago that made me realize just HOW MUCH this kid has evolved into a mini-me.

The homeschool group we belong to hosted an indoor game-day this past Monday. Jer loves it because he and other homeschool kids get to just hang out and have fun playing board games or Twister. Each family brings in any game(s) they wish to share. This time around Jer decided to bring Jenga, Sorry, and Connect 4.

[Fast Forward To End of Game Day..]


Everyone is packing up, all the kids are doing a great job of helping tidy up. Jer and another boy, we'll call him Joe, were putting tables away. Joe picked up Jer's Sorry game off of a table, and accidentally dropped it. Playing pieces scatter, cards go flying...you get the picture right? Well, to say that Jer was not happy is putting it mildly. I watched him, and that precious oh-so-cute happy tween baby-face transformed, and was replaced by something that can only be described as the "Gollum and The Precious" look. He was markedly irritated, and he was not trying to hide it in any way. Joe's mom was saying in a slightly irritating a very sweet voice, "It's ok kids, it was an accident. We'll get it picked up." Meanwhile, Jer is scrambling to find every playing piece, taking a quick inventory to make sure nothing is missing, and making sure it was all packed neatly in the game box. And y'all, it was something straight out of an episode of Monk. And poor little Joe, who was trying so hard to help, had to endure my son's snotty little "I got it! I'll do it! I'll get it put away right!" comments. Needless to say, I was mortified. I could just feel all those other mommy eyes darting between me and my anal-retentive with psychotic tendencies son, wondering if any minute now either of us would spontaneously combust...Jer from irrationally motivated anger, and me from sheer embarrassment. All I could do was kneel down to his level and help him finish putting the damn game away. I told him to look at me, and I gave him my most effective 'you better stop embarrassing me' look, and said, "Jer, it's ok, it was an accident. Let's get it all cleaned up, ok?"

I said my quick goodbyes to the other moms, giving them all a smile that said "please don't banish me and my crazy child", in the most non-desperate way possible, and we high-tailed it out of there. Soon it was just Jer and I in the car, and I sat there for a minute just breathing, calming myself down, before starting the car. During the ride home I of course gave Jer the standard lecture on how it was very inappropriate for him to react that way, that Joe didn't mean to drop his game, that accidents happen, etc. {I know most of you are familiar with the dialogue of this particular type of lecture, so I won't bore with you salient details} In the midst of my discourse, I was hit with a gut-wrenching epiphany: OH. MY. GOSH. He got all of that from me!!

Whenever we play board games at home, I'm the one making sure ALL the pieces are put away just so. If you open the Monopoly box, you'll find that all the money and cards are stacked neatly in a ziploc baggie, as are the little houses and hotels. The same goes for the Life game, and of course, the Sorry game. I'm also very particular to make sure that none of the pieces are broken, that everything is tucked away neatly, because heaven forbid pieces go missing or get broken...the game can't be played if pieces break or get lost! This is the explanation I give my hubby and son when they give me the "I think she's gonna blow!" look after they ask why I'm being so O.C.D. about a silly board game. So what answer do you think my son gives me when I asked him why he got so upset with Joe over a teeny tiny accident? Yup, you guessed it: "Well, he could have broken it or lost the pieces."

I felt about *THIS BIG*. What the heck am I doing to this poor child?! It goes without saying that I've realized I have to seriously take the biggest chill pill I can get my hands on learn to relax and not be so anal-retentive, stop sweating the stupid small stuff, and let this little boy have fun being a normal sometimes-messy kid. Sure, I can still teach him to be neat and organized for the most part, but I do admit that I should probably not fly off the handle so much over tiny little details. I told my hubby about this whole incident, and he gave me that "Mmmmhmmmm!" look, and proceeded to tell me that I have to learn to pick my battles, and relax. Man I hate it when he's right!!

I'm a constant work-in-progress when it comes to this parenting thing, since this little human child didn't come with an instruction manual. In fact, I think as parents we are CONSTANTLY learning about our kids, and the journey will never be without challenges. So, I've chosen to look at this as a moment in time when my kid taught me a thing or two about who I am, and how I can change for the better. I know I'll get better at this, and hopefully my PSYCHO-MOMMY MOMENTS will be fewer and far between as time goes on. I certainly hope so... because otherwise, I'll be saving up for therapy, not college!

Have YOU had any PSYCHO-MOM MOMENTS lately?
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5 blissful whispers...:

Jenny said...

Really funny post. Maybe you can hide in the bathroom once in awhile.

Working Mommy said...

You could look at this one of two ways - either the initial "oh my god he got that trait from me"...or the "thank goodness he knows how to take care of little things so we know he can be trusted when it comes to bigger - more expensive things - like a car." You gotta be glass 1/2 full type of gal :)

~WM

Aunt of 14 said...

That is an absolutely GORGEOUS picture of Jer!!!! I love it!

Life is good! said...

i must say that the things i don't like in my children are the traits they got from me! sad but true.

Amanda said...

I'd never judge you for getting worn out sometimes - indeed, I know that I *wouldn't* be able to handle it. I mean, it's a non-issue because 1) I don't have kids and 2) I won't have the option of not working (hello, law school loan payments!) but I SERIOUSLY respect those moms who can make that kind of sacrifice to stay with, and educate, their kids.
Major props to you! :)