It's taken me two weeks to work up the courage to write this blog post. I mean, look at me, intentionally posting on a Friday so less people will read the post. I'm a total chicken shit, but I am going to hold myself accountable for my poor parenting.
I yelled at Oscar.
Let me just say, I grew up in a house of yelling. My parents yelled at us kids when we misbehaved or weren't listening; they yelled at each other when they argued, right in front of us. That's just how it was in my house. And I hated it. I knew I was NEVER going to yell at my kids, or argue with my spouse in front of them, because it felt so awful.
And yelling does not work. Yes, there are situations where yelling to startle your kid may be appropriate - when they are about to step into the street unattended, or stick a fork in a light socket, things like that where you want them to pause just long enough for you to get there.
But this is not what happened when I yelled at Oscar. I just totally lost my cool.
It was a couple of weeks ago when Miles first started his growth spurt, so he was nursing all. the. time. Danny had just gone home and I was trying to get dinner ready. I put the dogs outside and Oscar asked me for some more water. As I grabbed the water pitcher out of the fridge, the dogs started barking at the neighbors. I carried the pitcher into the living room, where the back door is, and set it on the table so I could let the dogs back in.
Oscar is tall. Almost three feet (I KNOW!). And as I opened the door to call for the dogs, he snatched that pitcher and dumped the WHOLE THING onto the floor. "Uh-oh. Mess? Mess? Mess?" he said.
I turned around to see about a half gallon of water flooding my dining room. I spun back to the door and slammed it in my dogs faces to keep them from coming inside and running through the ocean of water in my house. And then I yelled.
"NO OSCAR! NO! WE DO NOT DUMP OUT WATER! NO NO NO!"
And then, I kept yelling. Not at him, really, just yelling in general. About the number of times I mop up water in a day; the number of hand towels I go through; the increase in my laundry because of these towels; the number of times a week I have to change Oscar because he's soaked himself; how tired I was in general and how if I never had to clean water again it would be too soon.
After I finished cleaning the water I called for my dogs, who were STILL barking at the neighbors. They did not come. I called again because I could not see them from the door. I checked the front yard, since Valentine has been digging holes under the fence. Nope, not there. Then, I got really angry because I though they'd escaped the yard and I was going to have to go looking for them at 6:30 at night with two children, one of whom was wearing no pants or socks because they were soaking wet.
I stepped into the backyard and saw them standing there, just looking at me. "COME ON! LET'S GO!" I yelled. "COME ON!" No movement. They were afraid of me, because I was so angry. "FINE, YOU JERKS! STAY OUT HERE ALL NIGHT THEN!"
I stormed back into the house, fuming. And there was Oscar, standing by the door. He's started crying. He was holding up his little arms to me, to be picked up.
"All done? All done?" he said through the tears.
"All done?" I repeated, trying to figure it out.
All done. He wanted me to be all done. All done yelling. My 20-month-old was asking me to stop yelling.
I was a total asshole and quite possibly the worst mother ever.
I picked him up and squeezed him.
"I'm all done baby. I'm so sorry. I'm all done."
So there you have it. My worst parenting moment thus far in my nearly two year career as a mom. I've never felt so terrible in all my life as I felt in that moment. I hope that I never, ever yell at my kids again. It did not make me feel better, it did not help the situation, and I am still completely ashamed of myself. My kids deserve better than that.
Nelson got home ten minutes later. He let the dogs in, Oscar was playing happily, but I was a wreck. I'm still not over it. I wasn't even going to write this post and I know my finger will hesitate over the "Publish Post" button, but I wanted to hold myself accountable. To say in this public space that I made a mistake, one that I hope to never make again. I want to be a better mother than that. I hope I can be.