“you’re doing it wrong”

Please tell me you’ve seen “Mr. Mom”. In this movie, Michael Keaton is staying at home while his wife works and as he tries to learn the ropes of being a mom, he drops off his kids at school. He enters the wrong way and people keep yelling at him (including his kid) “you’re doing it wrong!”. That’s how I felt today. I must be doing something wrong. It shouldn’t be this hard.

It’s Veteran’s Day and so nobody had school today. I woke up with a plan. I was going to make this a very productive and wonderful day, not one of those laze-about-do-nothing-wastes-of-a-day. But within the first 45 minutes of the day I should’ve realized that I needed to simply put on a movie for the boys and crawl back into bed and hide. Just getting my boys to do their normal everyday stuff was awful! Getting dressed, making their beds …. it was painful! All I heard myself saying was, “stop, no! Are you dressed yet? What are you doing? Why would you hurt him like that? You go on time out. You clean up. Don’t touch the baby. Stop. Switch, you go on time out and you get dressed. Do I have to do it like this? Can’t you get dressed without me?” …. awful. For 45 full minutes. No let up.

Daniel sweetly texted me this morning that he missed me and I texted back that I was losing my mind and it was only 8:30 am. He said I should forget about clean rooms and just go on a bike ride. So I took his advice. The boys had already finished cleaning their room, so we hopped in the car and ran some errands, then came home and I asked if they wanted to go for a bike ride. Yes! Yipee! Noah was in and Liam sounded mildly happy about it too, so we got home and I gathered some waters, pumped up tires, found helmets for everyone and we were off! … except for Liam.

Liam started saying that he didn’t know how to ride and his steering wheel always got all wiggly. I kept reassuring him that it would be great! So we started on our way. It took 10 minutes and some serious coaxing and positivity from Noah and me to get Liam around the first corner. By the time we got down the street and to the train tracks (we live right next to the train tracks), Liam was in tears.

I used a myriad of tactics with Liam to get him on his bike and going. I started with positivity and encouragement, “Wow, look at how far you got that time? Good job!”. Didn’t seem to help. So I tried sounding confident, “you can do this, just get on and let’s go! Come on, you can do it!”. But that proved fruitless. So I said, “Well, Noah and I are going to go on this bike ride and you can either choose to come or walk your bike the whole way. You’re choice.” He chose to cry very loudly and walk/trip next to his bike, then scream, “Stop! You’re going too fast! I can’t keep up”, to which, I responded, “that’s because you’re not actually riding your bike, get on and ride!” Seriously, it was not going well.

I’m sorry to say it ended in many tears from Liam and me losing it and yelling/threatening him that if he didn’t be quiet, get on his bike, and ride I’d punish him. Yes, it deteriorated quickly from a “fun break on a holiday” to “the worst bike ride ever”. But after the negative encouragement, Liam got on and did it. Then we got back to our block and I made him ride around the block twice and he didn’t fall once. He turned, slowed down and sped up and he did great. But he was just not confident that he could do it. Oh man, learning that lesson, that way, was terrible. I must be doing this wrong, right? Happy little bike ride? … fail.

Then we got home and had some downtime of just reading. During that time, I fed Ray and put him down for a nap. I was picking up my room when they were done with reading. I told them they could watch cartoons. I was still stressed out from the morning. It’s funny to see what I did to release pressure … I cleaned my bathroom. What??! I know. I don’t know why. That’s just what I found myself doing. Then I put on Jillian and worked out like a maniac.

Then I felt like an hour of TV time was plenty and we needed to get back on track for the day – we still had plans. The bike ride was a disaster, but we could come back from this. I decided we would try khanacademy.org. It’s a learning site. So I set up Noah and Liam on different computers and felt good about this. Here we go – learning! I would only say this was successful in the fact that we did it. Was it pleasant? no. Did the boys learn something new? I don’t think so. Did I go crazy running from the front room to the family room trying to help them navigate the site? yes. Did both of them complain? yes, differently though – Noah said he was bored and Liam said it was too hard. Yet I had them working at different levels … sigh. I must’ve been doing it wrong. Learning moment? … fail.

At this point, I kind of gave up and let them play games on the computer while I showered. Now it’s 4 pm and I have no more plans. Motherhood always seems to kick my trash and I don’t know why. I must be doing it wrong.

But right now, the house is quiet, the boys are upstairs playing and Ray is crawling around and coming up to me and smiling. Maybe I should leave well enough alone and make a bunting for our thankful tree. hmmm.

One thought on ““you’re doing it wrong”

  1. You are so real, Francesca! I love reading your blog. Be assured that all moms go through this EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! You’re an awesome mom with super smart, super handsome, super sweet boys. I miss you.

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