Am I the only Mama who feels like 5:00pm – 7:00pm are the worst hours of the day? I mean, what good occurs between 5:00pm – 7:00pm?
Nobody likes what we had for dinner.
You can smell my cat’s litter box from the driveway.
The dishes are teetering over the edge of the sink.
I can’t understand my 1st grader’s homework.
My girls are tired.
Let’s be honest – even the cat’s in a bad mood.
And yet… it’s still… not… bedtime.
I call these hours the Evening Vortex. It’s never-ending. If you call or text me during this time, and I respond, it’s because I’m begging you for help.
I don’t know what possessed me to sign up my 1st grader for a dance class that starts at 6:00pm – RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE VORTEX – but I did. Last week, on the day of her dance class, she also had P.E. at school, which she has to dress out for. She got off the bus in her cute little gym shorts and t-shirt and I thought, Perfect. She doesn’t even have to change before dance class.
I needed to run some errands (AKA, enter another, far more enjoyable vortex called Target), so we went straight from the bus stop to town. When we got back in the car to drive to dance, Lilah said, “Well, who is going to bring me my leotard?”
I remember I was sweating, trying to get my 2-year-old buckled in her carseat (a practice that is a lot like wrestling with an enraged baby bull). I absently said, “Lilah, you’ll just wear your gym shorts, babe. We don’t have time to go back home.”
AAAAAAAAND CUE A LEVEL 12 MELTDOWN.
We argued the whole way to dance class. “But Mama,” she said, “all the other girls wear leotards!”
And I said, “Lilah, I’m not going to make you go to dance class. I’m tired, we all need to eat dinner, the house is a wreck… just decide what you want to do.”
And as her big blue eyes filled up with tears, she said, “Okay… what would YOU do, Mama? If you were me?”
AAAAAAAAND CUE MY OWN LEVEL 12 MELTDOWN.
In that moment, I was filled with so much conviction.
What would you do, Mama? If you were me?
In other words, Put yourself in my shoes.
Why had I not done this before? Why do I not do this more ALL THE TIME as a parent? It’s one of the first things we teach our children –The Golden Rule – Treat others the way you want to be treated.
Would I want to walk into a room and feel completely underdressed? NO! I wouldn’t wear jeans to a wedding. And, no, I wouldn’t want to wear yucky gym shorts while everyone else was wearing beautiful leotards.
Here I was, trying to get my 7-year-old to do something that I wouldn’t even want to do. And I wondered how often I had done that… How often I had expected adult-like behavior from my kid.
You better believe this Mama yanked that baby up and squeezed her to me for about thirty seconds. Then I dashed home, getting her into her most favorite leotard, and took her back to dance class.
We were only ten minutes late. (In full disclosure, there may have been several traffic/speed violations involved.)
I want to be better at putting myself in my daughters’ tiny shoes. I want to treat them the way I’d like to be treated.