Can my camera make me a better parent?
When I picture myself as the ideal parent, I don’t just see perfectly obedient children. Oh no. What I see in that magical world of make-believe is me responding with patience and good humour to my family’s foibles and idiosyncrasies. Other moms would watch me and say “She handled that with APLOMB!” because the playgrounds where I hang out are littered with people who say things like “aplomb.”
One of my more cringe inducing memories happened one morning when I was to be the helper parent at playschool. I was still getting the hang of being the mother of two, and getting the three of us places on time was a skill I had yet to acquire. I totally blew up on my three year old as he dawdled, having “lost” his shirt, and pants, and socks, and underwear in his wanderings through our house. “Get your clothes on!” I screamed. “You can’t go to school in your pajamas!”
We eventually got clothed and arrived to find out that it was, in fact, Pajama Day. “See mommy,” my son glowered in front of his teacher and the other assembled parents, “You didn’t have to be so yelly.”
Was I embarrassed because I yelled at a three year old whose Tuesday morning priorities are vastly different from mine, or was it because I got called out in front of other people?
Both. Shut up.
The point is, if I hadn’t thrown a temper tantrum, I wouldn’t have to feel this way at all. But how to avoid the temper? How indeed.
I ascribe to an attachment parenting model, and perhaps, on occasion, I can be just a tad self-righteous about my no spanking stance. So imagine my horror when I came across this article in Today’s Parent: “Is yelling at your kids as bad as spanking?” Uh, no, I said to the magazine. But in terms of developing a child’s self-worth, yelling is a pretty crap tool to keep in your toolbox.
So I turn to the marvel of modern technology that is rarely far from my hands: my phone. Instead of bellowing, I’m taking pictures of the ridiculous circus of which I am ringmaster.
Taking pictures seems to be helping; It’s sort of like counting to ten before blowing my stack. Viewing the current disaster in my home through a lens psychically removes me from my situation. And it is evidence I can wield for sympathy on Facebook.
It hasn’t stopped the yelling completely, but enough to reduce the guilt I plague myself with …or at least focus it on other avenues.
Kids don’t just do crazy things—they say them too! Here’s a slice of Voula’s life with littles: Funny Kids: The stuff kids say that sends coffee shooting out our noses