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Mommy Fail #2679 (or thereabouts)

It was not a good morning. That’s definitely  not the way you want to start a Monday. But I didn’t sleep well, and I’m still not feeling fabulous. Combine that with boys who wouldn’t listen, and a tattle-telling daughter, and my patience was at an end.  Did I also mention the dog who apparently has no bladder control following her being spayed on Thursday? Or the cat who likes to spray on my vacuum cleaner? All of that combined was the perfect storm for disaster and failure.

Ethan hates loud noises. They overwhelm  him.  We take his noise-blocking headphones with us lots of places anymore because of the potential of noise. And forget getting him to go willingly into a movie theater.  He has been known to start crying during lunch at school when it gets too loud. If you ask him about it, he says “I have very sensitive hearing.” Him with his hands slapped over his ears is a normal sight. I know all of this, and yet took advantage of it this morning.

He has reverted back to not listening at all. Well, I know he hears me because of his “very sensitive hearing”, so when he does not respond to repeated inquiries or commands, I lose patience. This morning, it was time for him to get his jacket on and out the door for carpool to school. Yet he sat there at the counter in the kitchen calmly eating his bagel (second breakfast), completely unresponsive to me telling him it was time to go. For three minutes, I repeated myself expecting him to put his bagel down and make a move toward the door. I even got his jacket ready for him, and put his backpack together. Still nothing. He looked right at me and continued eating (thank you, oppositional defiant disorder that just *had* to be added to the ADHD and PDD). I knew if I yelled it would jar him. I  knew it would hurt his ears. I knew it, and yet I still did it. Epic failure.  The look on his face when I yelled didn’t stop me. He still didn’t move and I yelled again. He slapped his hands over his ears after throwing his bagel down. And then he moved.

I thank God he didn’t throw a tantrum or have a meltdown. I did apologize as he came to me to get his coat, but I was at the end of my rope. I was done. But as soon as he was out the door, I wanted to cry. I took full advantage of one of his issues to get him to respond. And I yelled, which I hate. I’ve been berating myself all morning long.

I never believe it when people tell me I’m a good mom. I focus too much on moments like this morning. I  know all the doubts in my own mind. I know with very specific detail all the ways I’ve failed, done wrong, or not done what I should have done. I will spend days agonizing over this morning. The look on his little face when I started yelling will stay with me, there every time I close my eyes. I failed him in that moment. I failed myself. I know what I was supposed to do, how I was supposed to respond to his unresponsiveness. But in that particular moment, after fighting with all three of them for 45 minutes, after a night of non-restful sleep, feeling this cold/flu zapping my strength and energy, I could not muster the will to not fail him.

He and I will talk later. I will apologize again. We will talk about him not responding to cues and commands. We will talk about how we both should have handled it. And hopefully when he’s thirty years old he won’t be talking to his therapist about how his mom ruined his life by yelling at him when she knew he had “very sensitive hearing.”

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