Wednesday, May 21

Not-So-Fun Mom

Last weekend was a long weekend in Canada - Victoria Day.  We did the usual for us, camping with almost 30 people.  It was a bit chilly this year but mostly dry.  If you dress right, cold is manageable, but cold and wet is miserable.  I didn't pack quite enough extra blankets so it was a bit cold over night on Friday.  Thankfully we camp close enough to home I could pop back and pick up some flannel sheets so we were toasty the rest of the weekend.

The down time was good but certainly had some challenging moments.  Some friends camp with their kids, others just drop by for an afternoon, this year there were anywhere from 5-12 kids running around ages 10 right down to a visiting baby.  The one challenge with this kind of extensive time with other peoples kids is that I get a little annoyed with some of them.  It becomes clear to me, I'm not going to be a fun mom.  I'll be a good mom and there will be lots of love and fun moments, but I'm not going to be a fun mom.  My kids are going to hear no, and I am going to mean it.  When I read about adoptive parenting, I see the need for consistent and firm parenting.  I suppose with longer exposure to other families while camping, I see what happens when any child doesn't get that.  When no means maybe, or not yet, or someone else will say yes.  I see the manipulation that goes on and how often the kids win when no doesn't mean no and it irritates me over the weekend. 

Sunday afternoon, I was making dinner.  Jambalaya in my cast iron dutch oven on the fire.  It's a bit fussy only because it's hard to tell just how hot the coals/pot are but I'm getting better with practice and burning the bottom less.  I brought little silicone pot holders with me to the fire, they look like frogs and worked pretty well with the hot cast iron.
From Cilantro Cooks

Mr. Lina was wearing my pot holders and chasing kids around the camp site while the jambalaya simmered.  It was pretty funny as he stomped around snapping the frogs open and shut.  One of the (non-chasing) kidlets asked me for s'mores.  I'm not sure what made her think I was the owner of any marshmallows, chocolate or graham crackers as I watched my dinner cook.  I said no, she should ask her dad.  Which is also the answer I gave when asked if she could have a drink the previous day, and when asked for a snack earlier in the day.  You see the pattern?  She wandered off and came back with a huge bag of marshmallows (which I'm pretty sure did not belong to her family) and pestered me again to make her s'mores.  She wasn't the only kid around, another parent was giving his 3 kids popcorn as a post-dinner snack (hoping salty snacks would make for better bed time than sweet).  The middle kid (about 3 I think) in that family had been the focus of the Mr. Frog-a-Lina chasing and wanted in on the marshmallows, more because Mr. Frog-a-Lina was there and they wanted to feed the frogs popcorn and marshmallows.  At this point, Mr Frog-a-Lina got silly about the desire for popcorn s'mores, knowing I did not pack any of the required ingredients and could not fulfill what he was asking me to do and in my head I wasn't sure how well hot melted marshmallow, chocolate and popcorn were going to work on small fingers.  The popcorn wasn't going to offer much protection from the hot parts.  I got tired of  being pestered for stuff they should ask their parents for and knowing that at least one father probably didn't want his kids having popcorn s'mores and my inability to actually do what they (or I) wanted to do, and I lost it on Mr. Lina.  

Thus popping the bubble of happy fun time for Mr. Frog-a-Lina and the kidlets.  

We went for a walk so I could get away from the s'mores insanity and apologize for my behaviour.  I knew I was snapping at Mr. Lina because he was there and an easy target compared to the kids that weren't mine to discipline.  I don't lose my cool often so it has more impact when I do (at least on Mr. Lina, I don't think the kids were all that phased).  A few tears were shed and oddly not by me.  Mr. Lina loved running around and being silly, but it was also leaving him feeling sad that those weren't his own kids he was chasing after.  And boy, do I understand that.  Popping that happy bubble was pretty bad timing.  

After a little walk around, we went back to the site, we had dinner.  I had a little alone time while I changed into warmer clothing for the evening and prepped the tent for bed time.  Mr. Frog-a-Lina returned for more chase, with even more kids involved.  I could hear him (and the kids laughing) 4 sites down as I walked to the washroom.  I ended up with a 3 year old frog-chaser snuggling up with me as the sun was setting.  Not surprisingly, Mr. Lina fell asleep at the fire at dark o'clock (camping is not about clock watching).  Who knew pot holders could be such great exercise?  And did you know they come in monkeys and dogs and pigs and roosters...

2 comments:

  1. I HATE the parents who don't discipline their kids!! It does those poor kids no favors for later in life, and makes other parents not let their children play with those kids. I have had several moms ask if my son can come over and play and I always tell them no because I know that their kids are brats because "discipline might traumatize their special little snowflake" and I don't want my kid(s) to act like that. I'm not a fun mom either, at least not in the sense that my child(ren) will be spoiled rotten, given whatever they want just because I want them to quit bothering me or quit crying or whatever. I'm the adult, so I need to act like one and giving in only makes it worse the next time. I make my "fun-ness" by planning scavenger hunts in the park, random picnics, taking them to the zoo, things like that.

    It sounds like you'll be a great mom, and while your kids will probably say that dad is more fun, you'll be the one they come to when they have a problem. :-) I know that doesn't sound very comforting, but you'll see what I mean. :-)

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  2. It's good to hear I'm not the only one. The mention of "special snowflakes" made me giggle. I also didn't mention I took a soccer ball away from another kid who didn't seem to understand you don't kick it AT people or AT the fire pit. Not sure where that came from because I know his mom says no, although she wasn't there that afternoon now that I think about it...

    Seems to me that you can have more fun scavenger hunts or at the zoo when your kids know what is expected behaviour and follow through rather than having tantrums and whining because they know that they will eventually get what they want if they pester enough for it. We all have grumpy days, not to say it's always going to be sunshine and rainbows, but it is just constant for kids that know that enough pestering gets what they want.

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Thanks for your comments, I love to have a two way conversation. I seem to be getting a lot of spam from anonymous users and am turning off the ability to comment that way. I really would like to hear from you so if you do want to add your two cents without an OpenId, email me at seraphinalina at gmail dot com.