I really try hard to be patient with my kids. The first 3/4 of the day, I feel like I do a good job of working through misunderstandings and tantrums in a calm & positive way. When they disobey a direction, I talk to them calmly about about why I asked them to do such & such a thing. If they make messes, I let it roll off my back and move on, because kids.
But in the afternoon, usually around 3 or 4pm, I start to get a little less..... tolerant.
The other day, Bennett asked me for some Feta cheese to eat for a snack. Wait, your kids don't eat Feta cheese regularly? ;-)
Anyway, I dumped some in a bowl, got a spoon, and served it to him at the table. We have a strict rule that the kids are not allowed to have toys at the table while they're eating. It never ends well. Amiright? As Bennett was eating his feta cheese, he started playing with some legos that were sitting on the table from earlier that day. He was flying his helicopter around, only he wasn't just flying it from a seated position. No no, he was standing up on his seat, then sitting down, then standing back up, zooming the helicopter around like a maniac. I saw what he was doing and asked him to stop playing with the legos, because he would probably either fall and get hurt, or more likely, knock his snack onto the floor and make a big fat mess.
No less than 10 seconds after asking him to stop playing with his toys at the table (which he blatantly disregarded), he literally flew his lego helicopter right into his bowl full of crumbly, sticky feta, and knocked it all over the table, bench, and floor.
I'll admit, my reaction was less than impressive.
"BENNETT!!!! I told you not to play with your toys while you were eating!!! Why do you think we have this rule??? Get down and clean up your mess, now!! UGH!"
He immediately started crying and I knew in that moment he felt badly about what he had done.
And though I knew I over-reacted and instantly felt horrible about yelling, it was his response that really caught me off guard.
Before I had the chance to apologize, he said to me: "Mommy, you're a bad guy. A bad guy, Mom"
It hit me like a ton of bricks.
Even though he was doing something he wasn't supposed to do. I was a bad guy. I WAS A BAD GUY. That is how he saw me. I mean, in 5 y/o language, that's equivalent to throwing out a bunch of F-bombs. It was really hard for me to hear Bennett say that I was a "bad guy". He's such a kind, thoughtful little boy. He always has the best intentions and I know that he's ALWAYS trying his best. So... why couldn't I do the same?
I know I sound like a broken record, but patience is something I am trying really hard to work on. Obviously, there will be times I will lose my cool, or the situation will call for discipline. But really, I don't want to be a "bad guy" in the eyes of my children. I really don't.
I guess this has turned into another one of those, "I'll do better next time" posts. And I promise, I always mean it when I say it ;-)