Monster Mommy Moment – Leigh Ann Style

 MommyofaMonster

I am SO excited to have one of my favorite Tweeters sharing a Monster Mommy Moment with us…Leigh Ann from genie in a blog!

Leigh Ann is one of my favorite tweeps on Twitter, a wife and mom to three beautiful little girls…including twins. I think we were automatic friends because she understands my pain!  She has a great sense of humor, tweets like crazy (@latorres), loves hash tags almost as much as I do, and is one of the sweetest bloggers I’ve come across.

So please help me welcome Leigh Ann so she can share her Monster Mommy Moment with us.

If you’re not sure what a Monster Mommy Moment is, you can read all about how my weekly feature came to be here.

Go grab a cup of coffee and a donut, ahem, I mean a low-fat muffin, or depending on the time of the day maybe some wine and chocolate, and sit back and enjoy the story!

———-

When Natalie first unveiled her genius Monster Mommy Moment idea, I immediately knew I needed to contribute. I had a moment stewing in my memory that had been eating away at me ever since it happened, still shaming me with its monstrousness.

Did I just make up that word? Probably. Real monster mommies can do that, you know.

My kiddo situation is the opposite of Natalie’s — my twins were my first children and were just shy of two when my (surprise!) youngest was born. Needless to say, our first year with three children was ROUGH. The twins still needed so much from me at a time when so much of me had to go to their baby sister.

Oh, who am I kidding? It’s still rough, and we’re still working on a lot of that. But it’s getting better. Most days.

When I decided to be a stay at home mom, one of the activities I envisioned taking my kids to regularly was story time at the local library. We’d all sit idyllically in the semi circle, my children in my lap, listening intently to Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

But the reality? It’s like a wonderland of “LET’S RUN AROUND AND BE CRAZY SO THESE PEOPLE WILL THINK THAT OUR MOTHER HAS NEVER SHOWN US A BOOK IN OUR LIVES! YOU GO STEAL THAT KID’S SNACK WHILE I TRY TO PLAY DJ WITH STORY LADY’S CD PLAYER!”

It’s super fun.

But glutton for punishment that I am, I keep trying. We can do this. They just need to get used to the routine of sitting and listening to someone ELSE tell a story, and then they’ll be fine. We could even make this a weekly gig, and I would feel less like a prisoner in my own home. How hard could it be with two 2 year olds and an infant?

Right.

On the monster day in question, I meet a friend and her two kids, the same ages as my kids, at the local library — on time, I’ll have you know. As I fasten Zoe’s car seat into the stroller, a sweet little old man approaches, takes a peek at her, and marvels at how sweet and pretty she is. This is good! I start to think maybe I’m not crazy for leaving the house after all!

I haul my brood into the building, already sweating from the still high September temperatures.

Upon entering the story room, I park the stroller and try to coax them to stand in line for “Ooooh! Nametags!” They’re more interested in “Ooooh! Overhead projector!” and “Ooooh! Emergency exit!”

The story time starts, and I quickly realize that this time isn’t going to be much different from any of the others we’ve attended, save for the fact that I now had A THIRD CHILD to attend to. A whole slew of children, including my friend’s daughter, sit and listen quietly to the stories and partake in the fun songs (just like in my fantasies!), while my two hanyaks run wild, accosting other people’s sleeping babies and trying to yank down the wall decorations. They won’t come sit with me, and I’m playing disciplinary ping pong, going from one to the other, to the other, to the other. I’m exhausted, and we’ve been here 5 minutes.

Constant “Eat? Snack?” requests remind me of the two cups of goldfish I left on the kitchen counter, and of course my notoriously chill 6 month old decides that this is the perfect time and place to start screaming bloody murder. Claire starts rolling around on the floor, obviously near starvation, and before the story time is half over, I’m dragging my stroller and kids the hell out of there, too embarrassed to even glance in the direction of my friend.

As I strap the baby into her car seat, R & C take off for the main portion of the library, where there are a multitude of signs saying, “Kids found running through the library will be instantly drop kicked out the front door and their parents given a stern talking to.” Or something to that effect. I chase my kids down and literally wait for someone to say something to me just so that I can fly off the handle at them in my frustration.

Somehow we make it to the parking lot with three live children, who fight me tooth and nail getting into the car. They’re wailing. The baby’s wailing. They’re hungry. They don’t want to go. The screaming and crying hits my last nerve.

“Shut up! Sit in your chair and shut up! We’re going home! YOU RUINED EVERYTHING!!!!”

I wish I was kidding.

I finally get everyone into the car, climb into my seat, and burst into tears.

All four of us cried the entire way home that day — theirs tears of displeasure and misunderstanding, mine of shame and embarrassment. I prayed that no one had been standing near enough to hear how I spoke to my children in my anger.

It wasn’t their fault. Story times are just so hard when you’re outnumbered and your kids aren’t used to that atmosphere.

Once we got home, I hugged Rachel and Claire tightly, and apologized for my awful behavior. They sunk into my embrace and relished in my comfort. The mommy they knew and depended on to be their rock was back.

And I have never, ever forgotten to take snacks with me again.

———-

Leigh Ann, I hate to say it, but I relate to this post a little too well. In fact, I told Ethan just this morning to sit down and shut up. And he cried. Thanks you for sharing your Monster Mommy Moment with us…and for reminding us all that we all lose our tempers occasionally and while it’s not very easy to admit, it’s okay that we do as long as we acknowledge it.

Now go swing by genie in a blog and say hello to Leigh Ann, and if you’re new there make sure to tell her that I sent you. I know you’ll really enjoy her blog!

Do you like s’mores? Then check out my current giveaway for your chance to win everything you need to make s’mores!

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for hosting me today, Natalie! I can’t tell you all how good it felt to get that story out, even as monstrous as it was.

  2. I understand the things parents have to go through with their kids. I find that keeping well-rested, exercised, and healthy diet is a huge part in keep your cool. Sounds too simple to be true, but trust me on this.

  3. I could have written a very similar monster mommy moment myself. Only I had a 2 year old and four month old twins that screamed bloody murder right before story time ended. My 2 year old lost it that we were leaving early and ran away. A man actually held open the door for her to leave the library. Who does that? I had to abandon my twins to chase after thier sister. Needless to say, I screamed, and we all cried the whole way home. I gave up story hour last Fall, it was too stressful!

    • Oh my gosh! I got stressed just reading that. I think we’ve given up on story time as well. There’s no sense in continuing something that’s more work than it is fun for anyone.

  4. I can so relate to your post. I do not know what it is about the library and story time that brings out the absolute worse in my child. I have finally taken some time off from it. Every week it led to tears and was just awful! It got to the point when I would say lets go to the library he would hide behind a chair. I decided that was so silly, I was just going for him to be around other children and get out of the house. If it makes him so unhappy, and me unhappy because I have to get on to him why do it? Now we just visit the library and check out books and let him play a bit when there is not structured story time and that is going better. Maybe one day we can sit and enjoy all of the fun activities they do.

    • You’re right! We did a few more storytimes with the twins strapped into the stroller and a constant supply of snacks, but really, what fun is that? There are far more fun thing we can do.

  5. I’ve never even had the nerve to try storytime. Though taking all 3 kids anywhere is a challenge.

  6. Oh, oh, oh how I’ve been there with my own 3 kiddos! Multiple times. Sigh. I love that you apologized – I do it too. As monstrous as those moments are, it helps that our children see that we are not perfect.

    Thanks for sharing your moment — makes me see that I’m less of a monster and just a flawed mama.

  7. I’ve said the same thing to my kids before. It’s not my best moment by any means, but it happens. We don’t mean it and it doesn’t make us awful.

    But those story times at the library? Can be an awful nightmare for a mom! I can so relate!

  8. Oh I have so been there. This story was so real for most of us I am sure. I am so glad you shared it. xoxo

  9. I’ve so been here. The crazy kids in the library, the yelling, the ALL of us crying. Good thing is kids still love ya, even though sometimes we blow up.

  10. ok – totally unrelated? Why can’t i get my picture to show up when I post? I’m just a monster. it’s pissing me off. /end vent

  11. Kollette says:

    Leigh Ann, To error is human, to forgive divine. You’re the best for just taking it on, even mom has a breaking point.

  12. That’s it, I’m not taking my son to story time at the library until he’s 10.

    Kidding.

    But seriously? I don’t think I could have handled it any better with just one child, so I think you were a champ to only yell in the car park. Don’t be too hard on yourself! :)

    • Alison, it’s funny how those of us with twins sometimes envy those of you with only one child. But you’re right — it’s all relative, and just having one doesn’t mean it would always be easier!

  13. Oh my friend.
    How relatable is this post!
    Thank you for sharing and making all of us mommies feel normal.
    It’s a great reminder to us that we all lose our cool and it’s ok, but we all have to accept responsibility for losing it.
    Our children learn from us doing that.

    • That’s a good point. They will definitely learn from us showing our emotions, and also from us apologizing for our mistakes.

  14. Oh, can I relate. I’ve lost it like that… more times than I care to admit.

  15. Those times are SO hard! There isn’t one mom who hasn’t lost her cool and done that very same thing.

    I think storytime is the work of the devil, just a way to make the moms with calm kids feel grateful and the moms with active kids feel insane!

  16. I’ve said this to my kids, too. You are definitely not alone.

    I decided to stay home with the kids when our youngest turned 3. When his sister started school in the fall I thought story time would be the perfect thing for us to do. You pretty much described how story time went for us most days. But it did get better. There is hope!

    • I have another fantasy of taking my youngest to story time when my older 2 are in preschool or (gasp!) kinder. But honestly? I’ll probably go grocery shopping.

  17. Wow, I tell my twins to shut up all the time. My boys are 3 and holy cow it’s rough. I can get very emotional and lose it because we are all stressed. That part about all of you crying..oh yeah I’ve been there.
    Thank you for sharing this and making me feel normal and less alone!!!

    • If I’m normal, you’re normal! I have heard tell of you around blogland, but just recently saw you were a twin mom too. Twin moms unite! Even if it’s in agony.

  18. This post really makes me feel for all of you mothers. I know there have just been instances when I’m babysitting and I wanted so badly to scream these things. I can’t imagine being that person that is constantly there to deal with the crying, screaming, and more and having enough patience to calm down and realize that it’s ok.

    Bravo to moms!

    • I think you just start to develop a thick skin, it rolls off like water on a duck’s back, or some other cliche saying. Sometimes even my husband is appalled at the ignore tactics I can institute. Of course this day pushed me to my breaking point, but we all have those days I guess!

  19. Oh my friend, I have sooo been there! I try so hard to bite my tongue; I know words that are spoken can never be taken back. But there are times when I’m so frustrated, I just can’t take it. And last weekend I didn’t say anything terrible, but I just had zero patience and laid into my kids for every little thing. Hang in there. Hugs!!!

    • Thanks! Those early days with toddlers and a baby were so rough. Now at 3 and almost 18 months it’s getting better, but there are still those challenges!

  20. Oh my gosh, do you know how much better this post makes me feel? I’m always the one who has too many kids to control in these kind of settings. We are actually story time drop outs after my kids ran out of the room with the marker for name tages (permanent marker of course) and drew on puppets.

    Thank you for sharing this Leigh Ann!

    • Sorry to hear, but that made me laugh! Part of the story I didn’t include was how I went to move my stroller and then noticed that Rachel was missing. The door to the room was open and she had ditched us for the room next door — which I also later found out was the age appropriate story time for us. My friend had been going to the older kid’s story time.

  21. I think the worst (to date) that I’ve done was try the “scream back in their face” thing – 1. to let off my frustration and 2. apparently it’s supposed to snap them out of their tantrum. OK – so it was a little bit awesomely relieving with a dash of shame and failure. I felt like the Mummy when he turned into a sand-storm and ate the airplane. Rooooaaarrrr!
    Scary thing, it worked – but I’ll try not to do it again – only for a very, very last resort. Besides, if I did it more often, it’d lose the shock value, I’m sure of it – and we can’t have that!! xx

    • Ha! I’ve done the growl of frustration before and it upsets Rachel so much that I can’t even do it jokingly. She gets so sad and says, “Oh no! Mommy scary!” Then I feel like a big ole B.

  22. Sounds like it was a tough day Leigh Ann. Don’t worry though. I used to work at a library and there were tantrums thrown by kids much worse than the no snacks tantrum your kids had.

    I am amazed at how you moms 99 percent of the time can keep your cool. It’s refreshing to see that even the nicest people can even be angry once in a while. Thanks for sharing Leigh Ann.

    • Thanks, Tim. I have to remember that there is probably nothing those people haven’t seen. Despite this story, I usually can keep my cool pretty well. :)

  23. Oh, and I could MATCH your story.

    Throw in irish twins and a showdown with the 120 yr old child’s librarian.

  24. I once broke down crying when my son made a scene at a ski shop in front of my father-in-law who was trying to buy him a new jacket. And . . . therefore we BOTH made a scene (mine much worse since I am the adult!)

    I feel your pain.

  25. I do not know why I am laughing about you two telling your kids to shut up but it made me laugh out loud. I guess because it made me feel so much better! I am so sweet to my sons, right? We lay down, I read them books, snuggle, give them kisses…but when the 3 y/o is still singing his ABC’s and whatever else he can piece together an hour later, I go in there and tell them both to shut their mouths. I tell them I will have to wake them both up in the morning and will be very mean about it. Who does that?? Loved this, Leigh Anne AND Natalie!

  26. Oh wow, I can totally relate to this! I’m always that mom chasing her kids all over the freakin’ library while people stare. Oh and I’m also the mom who unfortunately remembers every snack under the sun while the other kids watch my kids snack away and beg their parents for food. So now not only does the librarian hate me and my kids but the other parents hate us too.

    And to put the nail in the coffin, one of my 4-year old twins stood up at the last storytime I dared to take them to and announced loudly to the entire group that he could see up the librarian’s skirt. I’m still surprised we weren’t escorted out of there pronto by security.

    Thanks for sharing this and for being so real!!!

    • Oh I would die! What is it with all the other moms and kids who can sit nicely at story time? I think we’ve given up. Thanks for your kind words, Helene!

  27. I love this. I can barely handle my ONE 2.5 year old half the time. This had me LMAO, but mostly because I could totally see myself in your shoes Leigh Ann… I’m ready for #2 – but some nights I have to wonder… “am I REALLY?” oh – and did I mention that my mom is a twin? and that so far, they’ve skipped a generation EVERY SINGLE TIME… also – none of my generation has had twins. yet. I’m a little scared that #2 could actually be #s 3 & 4… at least I know where to come for advice and encouragement if that happens – both of you seem to have your stuff together 😉 thanks for the great post Leigh Ann – and thanks for featuring her Natalie :)

  28. I wish I could say that I haven’t told my daughter to shut up… but I have. And she’s only 18 months old. And she wasn’t even that old when I said it to her. Oh, and I may have also followed it up with a, “What the hell is wrong with you?”

    At the time, I was so frustrated and I really thought I meant it. But as soon as the words were out of my mouth, I regretted saying them.

  29. E Kenney says:

    LA- we still can’t do story time, and the girls are almost 4. To K1 & K2, story time and reading is an interactive, hands on, book loving (hard loving), sport. I have given up. We read a lot at home, and they love books, but too much to do it in a library. I’d rather not have the stress and frustration over forcing them into a situation that I know that won’t enjoy. We are all happier at the end of the day when we know our limitations. :) LOVE YA!

    E

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