It’s a beautiful and sunny Sunday afternoon, and I’m moody. Similarly, I just made a big parenting mistake.
In an attempt to make my daughter happy and snap me out of my cranky mood, I asked her a question that had played out well in my mind before thinking it through.
I blurted out, “I am going to let you decide what we’re going to do today! If you could do anything you wanted to do, what would that be?”
She paused and quickly replied, “Go swimming at the YMCA
Wow. I did not see that one coming. AT ALL.
Sitting poolside sounded lovely, but I am not a member at the YMCA. In addition, going to a busy and loud family pool did not peak my interest today.
This is parenting 101 and I dropped the ball. If you’re not in the mood to follow through with a promise to a child, do not give them decision-making control.
I managed to say “Ok! Great” through my fake smile and called the YMCA. I asked if they offered guest passes so we could come check out the pool for the day. The woman on the phone told me no problem, come on by! I managed to sound excited, but deep down I was disappointed that the pool was even open and wished I could give my daughter an excuse as to why we couldn’t go.
As I became slightly irritated on top of my moodiness, things were not looking up. I tried to snap myself out of it, but I continued to drag my feet for no other reason except I chose to. I packed up a swim bag and managed to get us out the door and into the car. That was as far as we made it to the YMCA.
Every day is not filled with sunshine and rainbows. There are days I don’t feel like jumping into the camera with excitement to do push-ups. Why? Because I’m human. I have days when I’m in a funk and not my best. It’s life and it’s reality.
As I got in the car, I did something I struggle with doing. I looked at the reality of the current situation and made a decision that was best for me. Even though I knew there would be consequences of not staying true to my word. Today I didn’t want to suck it up and put on my best face to tour the YMCA. Most times it is necessary to keep moving forward in your commitments, especially when you give your word. Today I decided this was not one of those times and although I like when my child is happy, she’s not the parent. She would be upset and I was willing to take that situation over losing my shit at the YMCA.
In one last hail mary to save the YMCA plan, I texted a friend to ask if she wanted to come swimming with us at the Y. I also told her I was moody. Way to sell my great idea, I know.
“Sure! I’d love to come hang out with you while you’re moody! That sounds great! Can’t wait!” said no one ever.
Within seconds I got a text back with a better idea! She recently moved into a new downtown condo that had an awesome pool and waterfall for the kids.
“Ya’ll want to come to my pool!?” she asked. Followed by, “We can be moody together 😊”
Dang, that’s a good friend!
After my daughter proudly said she would NOT be swimming if we went to my friend’s pool, she gave me the silent treatment till we got downtown.
I parked the car and braced myself for an upset strong-willed child. She was disappointed and that was ok. I used it as a teaching moment for both of us. I told her it was ok to feel disappointed and was sorry for not following through with my word that she could choose what we did today. I explained how sometimes plans change and in some cases, we do what is best for the other person.
I told her she could sit in her car seat and be sad while I waited on the sidewalk.
“I’m here if you need me and when you’re ready, we can go inside to swim at a new fun pool.”
She didn’t cry, but eventually, I had to peel her out of the car seat and lift her into my arms. She sulked into my shoulder as I carried 40 pounds of dead weight to the front door. Once we got to the pool she told me she needed some alone time and sat in a chair for about 15 minutes. I kissed her and said I’d be on the other side of the pool when she was ready. Gosh, she was cute as she sat there and pouted, looking like I made her go to a paint drying contest.
After that, it was smooth sailing!
My friend and I sat poolside and caught up while our kids swam in the pool. We enjoyed the hot tub for a short time before ordering Uber Eats and having it delivered poolside! I’d say that’s a pretty good date! It turned out to be a great day and a very nice date!
I joked to my friend that my date for the blog could be a day relaxing alone in the hot tub. I laughed and told her to attempt to snap a picture of me relaxing by myself and looking zen.
But let’s be real, that’s not how the day went down. Not even close. The truth is, I was on the verge of tears all day, I disappointed my kid, and was having a crappy day for no reason. And I’m ok with that. It’s part of life.
What transpired from my crankiness was an opportunity to connect with a friend I haven’t seen in years in addition to teachable moments for both us.
Later that night, we sat on the couch together to watch a show before bed. When the show was over, I took my daughter’s hands and expressed how proud I was of her in how she handled her disappointment. I was so proud. As a result, it made me appreciate the crappy day we all have from time to time. We learned from it and came out stronger.
We will be ready for what tomorrow’s sunshine brings!
Not every date can be exciting! Sometimes you must go with the flow and do what’s best for the other person. And sometimes you must do what is best for you. I believe the trick is to balance and ensure all parties involved understand what’s going on so there are no misunderstandings. By owning my crankiness, I made light of it and eventually the mood subsided. I did what was best for me today and made a tough parenting decision. In return, we all ended up having an awesome day at the pool!
I can handle that…. Even on a grumpy day.