Thursday, December 13, 2012

It's been awhile since my 'other' side has come out in my writing.
You know. . .the 'other' side?  
My sarcastic, witty, snarky, cursing side?
So, here.  Have some.
There is a side to motherhood that's a titch schizophrenic.
(I had to google schizophrenic for the spelling.  But I didn't spell it like that.  Google was like, "WHA?  Huh?  No idea what you're asking for.  Did you mean. . .falafel?)
How in one breath we could just EAT our children and their beautiful little faces and their sweet little breath and their vibrant little spirits. . .
and the next. . .
could drive the car full of 'em off the road in to a ditch.
Horrible.  But true.  
They make us crazy.
I had my mom and sister rolling the other day, sharing with them how I've changed my tone in the house.  Literally.
How for weeks I've decided to take it down a notch and instead of my usual huffing and puffing and yelling at the kids,
I don't.
I speak at almost a whisper, laced with assertiveness and power.
Bending down, coming nose to nose with my child. 
"Listen here, Jackie."  (That's what I've been calling Jack, lately.  Partly because I love it.  Partly because it annoys him.  AND I thought I once heard my grandmother called my dad Jackie, who is John, because she always wanted a girl.  Nice.)
"Listen here, son."  I whisper in to his eye. 
"If I see you do that again?  I'm going to knock your head off your shoulders."
(I think if I could make my eyes cross while I'm saying stuff like that, it'd REALLY seal in the crazy.)
My mom and sister just stared at me.
"GEEZ, Liz.  WE'RE scared!"
THIS one.
I do.  
And here's why.  I'M doing this job.  
Most of it, at least during the week, on my own.  
I am the disciplinarian.
I am the man, the woman, the teacher, the maid, the cook, the personal shopper, the nurse, the chauffeur, the counselor. . .keep going.
And no, not boo hoo, poor me.  I'm not asking for pity.
I'm just stating facts.
For 130+ hours of the 168 hours of each week, the kids are in MY care.
So I get crazy on 'em.
I need just a little more respect and appreciation, especially from my 8 and 6-year-old who I know are fully capable of finding some.
Now.  Is this the right way to command it?
No, of course not. 
Is it easy to respect a bat-shit crazy woman?
Ah, no.  I can imagine not.
But let me tell you, it works.  From a fear perspective anyway.
When mommy is speaking in crazy-quiet-hushed tones?
They listen.  
Jack knows I'm not REALLY going to knock his head off.
But he knows I mean business.
Grace KNOWS I'm not really going to sell her to another family, 
but she gets I'm not tolerating her unacceptable behavior anymore.
Charlie?  Well, he's 4.  

I hope he knows I'm not REALLY going to pull over and stick him head first in a snowbank if he doesn't quit kicking his sister.
But I'll threaten.
This time of year, I'm kind of a curmudgeon.
Oh, I know.  How could I be?
Trust me.  I try not to be.
In my heart, I love the magic and joy as much as everyone else.
I want it to be special and harmonious.  
But, like every other mother,
I feel a 'slight' pressure to do it WELL.
To go above and beyond each year.  
Fill my kids' sweet, innocent, enthusiastic spirits with more awesomeness and adventure.
Guess what?
They don't care!  And they don't appreciate the extra stuff you do anyway!
Not yet, anyway. 
I KNOW this!  Yet continue to try to do it even BETTER, year after year.
Every time Brian and I do something fun and adventurous, we almost always turn to each other and ask, why?
Why do we CONTINUE to give?
They don't deserve it.
Let's just get a sitter.  Worry about ourselves.  Screw them.
They just want more! 
(Now, in their defense, and in defense of my own parenting, which, the picture I've painted in this post doesn't look so 'nurturing,'
I have to say, we keep on them about it.
About appreciating what they have, being thankful. . ."you get what you get and you don't throw a fit". . .I toss that out between EVERY silent whisper. 
Day after day after day, following every complaint and gripe about this and that, I remind them that there are children that would KILL for a cup of water, an orange peeled by their mommy, shoes, a BED.
A touch too deep for young kids to comprehend?
That there is a world of children out there who live with NOTHING?
No.  Not in my book.
I'm crazy.  Remember?
I have a dream of bringing our family to a third world country some day to SHOW them what I blibber blabber on about all the time.
Maybe we'll do that next year!  For Christmas!
I know they're getting it.  And I'll keep reinforcing it.
I want them to be kids and enjoy the luxuries and freedoms they're fortunate to have, 
but with a humble heart.
With gratitude and appreciation and compassion and generosity for those who don't.
Our kids these days are SO babied.  SO entitled.
We hover, we pick, we pace around them, we feed their every want, fold to their every need, show them that if they want it, they can have it, we can get it, or fix it for them and make it better.
I know this isn't everyone.  And a lot of this is me.
Hence, the curmudgeon-ness this time of year.
They have it all and we give them more.
I LOVE the idea of tough love.
REALLY tough. 
It feels so good and natural for me to step aside, to disengage, offer love and support when needed, 
but let THEM figure things out.
Work it out in their heads.
WORK for what they have.
(I told them they'd have to help me stamp Christmas cards this year if they wanted their friends and family to get them.  They jumped right up.  Except for the kid in the back with his hands down his pants.)
I'll continue to BE TOUGH (or talk big about it, anyway,)
send a little rain down on Christmas to remind them how good they've got it.
Quietly whispering in their ear,
that they have it all.  And to be mother, loving, GRATEFUL.
And to always, always, always, give back, in thanks.
As for me?  
I need to take the edge off a lil' bit.
It's Christmas after all.
Heed my own advice.
Keep life a little more simple.
Appreciate what I have.
Three really, great kids.
 (Er. . .two kids and a walking blanket.)


gabbygrace said...

one of my sure!

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