Wait, wait, wait. You mean you and Dad do that?!” my daughter asked with a look of horror and shock on her face.
We were discussing an age-appropriate book about marriage and sex. Her question hung awkwardly in the air.
It was one of those mom-moments when time stands still. When you’re frozen like a deer in the headlights, clueless about what to do next. When you’re grasping for the “right” thing to say and are coming up totally empty. When you’re convinced that there are countless perfectly composed moms who handle situations like this expertly while you, on the other hand, are a bumbling fool.
Ever been there?
Truth be told, I’m there a lot. Sometimes it seems that the longer I parent, the less I know. Mom-in-the-headlights moments happen on a frequent basis in my house.
At times those I-have-no-idea-what-to-do moments are pretty funny, like my stunned bewilderment when I discovered my toddler had “decorated” her bedroom with the contents of her diaper. Or the many times I find a child’s disrespectful “attitude” so hysterical that I crack up in uncontrollable laughter rather than doling out appropriate discipline.
But sometimes those mom-in-the-headlights moments aren’t so funny, like when siblings are bickering over the same thing for the thousandth time and I’m simply exasperated. Or when all my attempts to handle disobedience the right way have failed miserably and I’m about to lose it. Or when I do actually lose it, then stand there wondering, Why did I use that tone of voice? Or Why did I say those words? Or How do I make this right?1
Mom in the Headlights
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