I could scream.
I just dug myself into a classic parenting hole. One of those hideous black holes where you issue some decree or other in the heat of the moment, fuelled by fury, only to wonder moments later if perhaps you over-reacted. Just a tincy bit.
And then what do you do?
Climb down off your high horse? Admit your error? Apologise?
Or stick to what you said, even though pangs of guilt make you wish you could take it back?
If, say, you declared a bedtime story ban (harsh, I know but it seemed to befit the crime) and then think better of it when bedtime comes, does reinstating story-time undermine your argument that drop-kicking your brother on the trampoline won’t be taken lightly?
And if you relent and read stories anyway will the fact that drop-kicks are ill-advised pale into insignificance?
And will you inadvertently reinforce the message that mothers can be manipulated, and that a heartfelt apology is all it takes to wriggle out of trouble and reverse unappealing consequences?
And if you accept the caveat that it was an accidental drop-kick and the cheeky claim that the ensuing bad behaviour was justified on the grounds that you didn’t provide a thorough investigation and the opportunity to make amends – if you do that, are you setting yourself up for trouble in the future, or showing yourself to be patient? Gracious? Kind?
And if the latter, does modelling those things instill them and so help reduce the likelihood of drop-kick related drama in the future?
Or does it just make you a push-over?
In the end we brokered a compromise, snuggled up beneath my duvet. There were no stories but I did apologise.
So why do I still feel like the bad guy?