Scene: In the girls bathroom, brushing TD’s hair. We are in get ready for school mode.
TD: (frowning at her reflection in the mirror. A permanent scowl has been on her face all morning.) “Mommy, you are a bad mommy.”
Me: (Stifling a sigh and the urge to rip through her hair because all morning has been this way. The frowns. The whines. The cries. The dissatisfaction.) “I’m a bad mommy? Hm…”
I wait a beat as she nods in confirmation.
Me: “TD, if I was a bad mommy I wouldn’t care that you said that. It hurt my feelings. If I was a bad mommy I wouldn’t be combing your hair or helping you get dressed or feeding you breakfast. Would you like it if I said you were a bad daughter?”
Me: (Feeling overwhelmed by sadness and guilt at that moment) “What do you say then?”
TD: “I’m sorry, Mommy.”
Truth is, I’m sorry too. I am feeling harried and just a bit guilt-ridden lately. I just had a two day work trip last week and while that isn’t a long time it is the first of five trips that I have this month. I leave again this week and after that I won’t see the girls until almost the end of the month. The tiny itch of doubt about my mothering skills is there now, no matter how hard I try. Being told by my own kid that I’m a bad mommy doesn’t help. Even if it is because she doesn’t like me combing the knots out of her hair.