Some love notes make me fret

I shoved the note into my coat pocket, absentmindedly, as I much too loudly herded my children out the door for school.

I tried to think of it as a badge of honor, but at the time, the words in that note just hurt.

In angry nine-year-old boy scrawl: “You do NOT love me and don’t try to tell me you do because if you did you would not make me go to school today. You are the meanest mom in the whole WORLD!”

Ah yes, THOSE words. The words any parent who has ever said “no” to their child has emblazoned on their heart at some point or another.

They’ve been said before and rolled off of my shoulders without a second thought.

But when you’re divorced, ouch. You just want your children to feel note

Enforcing chore duty when they whine about it doesn’t feel like love to them. Neither does a “homework first” rule after school. But it’s what you do in order to raise kids with the fewest bratty tendencies possible, right? You teach them that the hard thing is often the right thing—and the only way through it is through it.  And sometimes, on days when you are very tired and very weary of arguing about every teensy little thing, you do it louder than you meant to.

And then you get a note.

That damn note needled me all day. I fretted that I had been too harsh in my words. That my raised voice started his day off terribly. That I would kick myself if, God forbid, a school shooting occurred and our morning had been angry. Crazy, huh? Not so much. These are just the thoughts of a very human, tired mama.

2715cef1212c9609f9402139c173b3e9I fretted that I would be a grandmother who saw him impatient with his children—and it would be all my fault. And I rehearsed what I would say when I picked him up to reinforce my actions, but apologize for my demeanor that morning.

When he got into the car, bubbly and smiling, I asked how his day went. He prattled on happily. I said, “So I guess it ended better than it began?”

He looked at me quizzically. “Our day started with a disagreement,” I said.

“Oh, that. Really, Mom? I’d forgotten it even happened until you just mentioned it.”

Ah, yes. I had forgotten the most important lesson of all.

That children with “mean” mothers know they’re loved. Even when they think they’re not.

Go easy on yourself today, ladies. I mean it. Or you may just get a note from me. And I’m mean. We all know that. I have it in writing.



10 Comments Add yours

  1. Kevin says:

    I don’t feel like I’m doing a good job as a parent until I get that note daily! Just kidding, on the serious side that stuff does happen and as you can see, it sometimes isn’t a big deal to a child. At least your kid is smart enough to write a note to you an express their feelings! See? You have to look on the bright side of things! On a side note, I really have to stop offer good advice because it is totally going against my blog’s advice.

  2. Chris Edgar says:

    I appreciate your willingness to share about your communications with your son, and about how you think about the ways you influence him — it actually gives me somewhat of a new perspective on my relationship with my own mother, and what may have been going on for her in her communications with me.

    1. candidkay says:

      Probably one of the nicest things you could have said, Chris. Thank you:)

  3. My son can only write his name right now but I see notes like this in our future! It’s so hard to find the balance between giving them what they need but not making it feel like a punishment. Maybe it’s just not possible. Great post!

  4. My friend told me once her son would shout at her “Mum, you are the second strictest parent at school!”
    I asked her who her son thought was the strictest and she just smiled at me. Guess who?

    1. candidkay says:

      Wear that badge of honor:).

  5. How pertinent that you posted this today. I had a helacious morning trying to get my eleven year old son to go to school. You see, he was very sick over the weekend, his school was off Monday, and I decided to let him have Tuesday to get fully recuperated. So, I was very surprised when his anxiety about school reared it’s ugly head this morning bigger than it’s been in several months. It was quite an ugly scene, my trying to get him to get dressed, get his stuff together and get in the car. As we sat together in the car, he couldn’t stop crying and was so beyond overcome with anxiety. He wouldn’t have been able to function at school so I let him stay home (with a few stipulations). My blood was boiling. I finally asked myself just what was so bad about letting him stay home one more day.

    Days when he’s just having a little difficulty getting off to school, by the time he comes home, it’s all forgotten, as with your son.

    1. candidkay says:

      So very sorry. AMs like that one are the pits. But, it is good to see how resilient they are–even as we get the white hair!

  6. Anne says:

    Oh, how I remember those guilty days when even though you knew you were doing the right thing you had doubts. You fretted over it & they forgot about it. I do not miss that thank you. Hang in there moms, you are the best.

  7. Ann McHugh says:

    Wait till you start looking at colleges then you will be mean, stupid and don’t even care. This was my day today.

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