Operation “Be a Better Mommy”

When I used to work full time, I had less than 2 hours each day to spend with my kids before bed. Between cooking dinner, clearing up the day’s wreckage, and prepping for tomorrow, there wasn’t much opportunity for finding out how everyone’s day went. So, as I tucked each girl in at night, I’d ask “What was your favorite part of the day today?” More often than not, the response I got back was “Having fun with Vicki.” Vicki was our babysitter, so the answer was bittersweet.

Now that I’m home all day, I know everything about each kid’s day, right down to how many squares of toilet paper they use. Asking for highlights each night seems a little redundant. Plus, truth be told, now that I’m always around, I’m more nervous that they’ll cite moments I wasn’t a part of. So, instead of asking for favorite parts, I tell my daughters what made me most proud of them that day. In other words, I share my own favorite moments.

Then, I kiss each girl’s head and make the same vow each night “I promise to be a better mommy tomorrow than I was today.” I’ve been saying this for so long now that I almost forgot to keep true to my word—that is, until my 2-year old reminded me.

The other day, we were at the grocery store and she was throwing her signature fit at the the checkout counter. The one where she screams for the chocolate I promised to buy her if she behaves in the store. But in Sloane’s opinion, the shopping trip is over the minute the first product hits the belt. And that’s when she wants her candy opened.

But I was especially flustered that day because I had left my credit card in the car, which meant I’d need to abandon the groceries and haul all three kids through the busy parking lot and back again. So I snapped at her. “JUST A MINUTE SLOANE!”

Usually when I loose my cool with the baby, it pushes her over the edge and into a massive tirade. But not today. Instead she looked at the cashier and then back at me and said very matter-of-factly: “Be a better mommy tomorrow.” It certainly wasn’t my favorite part of the day, but it’s the one that mattered most and I’m glad I was there to hear it.

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