Have you ever set out to do something fun with your children and by the end of it, you are yelling and wondering why you even had the idea in the first place?
So we went strawberry picking Wednesday. An iconic childhood activity, right? Mom in the field, the hot sun beaming down, and the strawberry stained kids picking and eating until their belly buttons are sticking out. Well, that is exactly how the afternoon started. Everyone was in a good mood and excited for a little road trip. I was thrilled to have them all contained for an hour so I could hear stories about their school day. Once we got to the farm, all three were ecstatic to get their own buckets and they ohhhhh-ed and ahhhhh-ed about the oversized fruit. We were all laughing and taking in the day. That lasted a magical 30 minutes, which I captured in these pictures!
I am not sure at what point things went South (no pun intended), but I look up and my kids are throwing perfectly good strawberries at each other. And I mean pelting each other in the face. I almost lost my mind. First, if you are going to get into a food fight, use rotten or bird ravaged berries, not ones that I can make a pie with. Second, a farmer makes his living off selling these berries. This is how he pays his power bill. I am now yelling. And just when I think I have everything under control, I see my middle child, no longer throwing berries, but jumping on them to see how far they will squirt. Like cannon ball power force. I made myself take a deep breath … and when I opened my mouth, I found myself yelling again – going into a tangent about how children in other parts of the world are starving to death. Literally. Which was followed by, “The second we get home, you are cleaning up and going to bed!” I get it. In their minds, they were just having fun. But as their mother, I could not allow this blatant disregard for fresh produce.
Ohh, it gets worse, as I am loading the strawberries into the trunk, I see my 6-year-old peeing on my tire … (don’t worry, the SUV was parked far away from the actual picking ground). My 3-year-old is throwing melted Easter candy all over the backseat and my 9-year- old is telling inappropriate tooting jokes! Y’all, I really about came apart! I was so mad. Not because anything they were doing was overly atrocious, but because I just wanted a peaceful afternoon picking berries and laughing with my children. I did not want to be yelling at them to behave. Disciplining them for being disrespectful. And threatening them with an early bedtime for being wasteful.
My point in sharing all of this, sometimes being a parent stinks. It’s no fun. We have the best intentions, and then poof. The vision we have in our mind of the perfect day goes up in flames. I wanted to explain to them I was trying to create an iconic childhood memory for them. Instead I had to #adult. I had to exchange a food fight for a lesson about honoring God’s fruit. Everything I said was true. A farmer makes his living off his land. Some children are starving to death. But it didn’t make me feel any better about yelling when were supposed to be having fun, darn it!
If you are a parent reading this, I hope you realize the following. We all yell at our children sometimes. Do not beat yourself up over it. We all loose our cool in public when our children act like they were raised by Tarzan. Don’t wallow in regret. You are doing the right thing by being the responsible one … and teaching values over a food war for example. And more than anything, know that your children will forgive you for yelling at them. We forgave our parents, right? And one day, they will actually be happy we made them toe the line …. or at least their spouse, boss, and the general public will be grateful.
Happy Parenting y’all. And today, if you have to yell at your kids, think of this post, and know you are not alone. Structure is needed to raise good citizens. And berries are needed for jelly!