“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did - that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that - a parent's heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.”
- Debra Ginsberg
Parenting isn't easy.
There's no manual that tells you what to do in sticky situations. No black and white... and today I found myself in a situation where I just went with my gut.
I took Jack grocery shopping with me. He insisted on wearing his batman costume, and I've chosen as a parent, not to pick unnecessary battles like a silly costume. It doesn't hurt anyone, so I went shopping with batman.
He was an angel during the two hour shopping trip, but as I was checking out at the last store... I saw Jack hiding something inside the back of his shirt. I asked him if he was hiding anything and he lied and said, "no." He did this in front of me, the lady behind me, and the cashier. We all knew he had a toy and intended on stealing it.
I looked him in the eye and told him to put it back in a stern voice. Then I told him that the lady behind the register could call the police and have him arrested for stealing.
He quickly put the toy back without a single word.
After I checked out, and pushed my cart out of the way... I got down to his eye level and let him know how serious the offense was. I told him how we don't take things that do not belong to us. I told him that people go to jail for stealing all the time. Then I pointed to the lady at the cash register and told him to go back and apologize.
And he did without hesitation.
My heart hurt for him. Life lessons are not always easy. And as a parent I kept thinking... was I too hard on him? He's only four.
The lady at the registered thanked him for apologizing, the lady behind me in line said he was right to put the toy back, but I could tell they thought I was making a bigger deal than necessary.
But it's my sole purpose in life to raise him right, and it was a big lesson that needed to be taught.
In my Mommy heart, it felt right... even if it hurt me more than it hurt him. He needed to know how wrong it was. He asked me a few questions on the way home about stealing and I answered every one of them.
My heart is still a little heavy from tonight.