Let me set the scene: We’re in a restaurant with one of Calvin’s best friends and her family after an eventful afternooon at the reptile exhibit. Calvin is almost in full meltdown mode. He pushes his friend and crumples the coloring pages that she is trying to offer him to calm him down. He refuses to eat anything (at the restaurant or that we’ve brought from home). He demands that we go home. He starts making rude comments. I take him to the bathroom for privacy. I spank him and yell at him to straighten up, so that we can stay at the restaurant. We go back to the table, and he throws his tablet one too many times. My normally cool, calm, and collected husband snaps. We’ve told him too many times not to throw that tablet. We’ve replaced one too many tablets, and spent way too much money on devices for this child. He snaps, he throws Calvin’s tablet, and it breaks…… We eventually resign to go home. Calvin spends the rest of the afternoon crying and Chris and I sulk and reflect on our terrible parenting choices.
Since I began this homeschooling journey, I’ve been getting tons of compliments on what great work I’m doing. And, let me say THANK-YOU! I need those. Keep them coming. Moms and Teachers are some of the most thankless jobs in the world and, when you homeschool, you’re both.
However, there are days that I don’t feel like the best parent-teacher in the world. There are days that I feel like this homeschooling thing is the best decision I’ve ever made, and days that I feel like a total and complete failure. There are days that I see real progress in my child, and days like the one in the scene above.
I think my story reflects (at least metaphorically) what it’s like to be a parent. You may never have lost your temper and accidentally smashed your child’s tablet. But, the reality is not what’s in your social media photographs.
The world sees three smiling faces at Disney World, ecstatic to be at the “Happiest place on earth”. But what they don’t see is the epic toddler meltdown because he can’t get the $30 glow-in-the-dark bubble maker while his parents argue behind him about how to best handle the situation.
The world sees the pinterest worthy art project that my son completed. What you don’t see is that during that time that I researched and prepped the activity, my son sat in front of a screen. And you didn’t see my anxiety attack that took place afterwards as I realized what a terrible mess the house was (Thanks, Pinterest!).
We posted lots of adorable photos when we moved from our apartment into our townhouse, but never mentioned to the world that we didn’t get our deposit back from our apartment, because in his many meltdowns Calvin would take crayons,etc and scribble on the walls.
I had a friend who recently told me “I never would have known that you struggled so much. You hide it so well!” Truthfully, the world sees the me that I want them to see. The ‘perfect parent’ me. The person I want to be. But I’m far from perfect. I think we all are. We’re all totally winging it, and trying to parent the best that we can. Parenting is NOT easy!
I’m still going to post those smiling photos of my family, because we do smile (a lot). I’m still going to strive to be that ‘perfect parent’, and I’m still going to fall short. Nobody’s perfect.