My kids have become unbearable lately. Well, not all the time, but a good majority of the time that I actually see them…
I don’t blame them for their behavior, or myself for that matter. After all, my kids are four years old. They are wired to have temper tantrums, whine, and challenge authority; all the things that we HATE as parents. They have a schedule that is physically and mentally challenging – they go to school at 8:30, don’t get home until AT LEAST 4:00, and generally have very little downtime. Their little bodies are running at 300MPH, and they are just tired and cranky.
Every waking moment that I see them on the weekdays – which is between the hours of 7AM to 8:30AM, and again from 6:30PM to 8:00PM – they are tugging at every last string of my patience. My daughter, the quintessential drama queen, whines ABOUT EVERYTHING…it doesn’t matter what it is, she just whines for the sake of whining. My son, a more sensitive soul, cries or gets angry when things don’t go his way.
They’re not like this ALL the time. On the weekends, they have a period of awesomeness from about 9AM until about 5PM, and every day right before bedtime when their bellies are full, they’re warm from their baths, and are comfortably lounging in their beds, their playful personalities come out. Those moments of awesomeness and playfulness remind me of the sweet babies that I know they are, and remind me that all of the torture that they subject me to is just a phase.
This is just the suckitude of Mommyhood…and it will eventually pass, I tell myself.
Three nights ago, I had finally had enough. It was 10 minutes past my kids’ bedtime – my daughter was being defiant, whining that she didn’t want to do whatever it was that we were doing. My son was in the background screaming about something or other, and demanding my attention which was firmly focused on scolding my daughter. My blood pressure was high, my patience was thin, and I was not enjoying myself. Finally, I decided to say so.
“Mommy does not like when you are like this…” (yes, it was mean, but considering the alternative, which would have been to scream “Shut [the f*ck] up because I’ve had enough!” I’d say I showed some decent restraint).
Both kids looked at me, confused, as if they were thinking: But you HAVE to like us because you are our Mommy…
“Bree, do you like it when your friends complain because they don’t get what they don’t want?”
“Bubba, do you like it when someone is screaming at you because you’re not doing what you want them to do?”
“Then why do you do it around Mommy?”
“I don’t know…”
You could practically see the wheels turning in their heads.
Little Drama Mama scrunched up her nose. “But Mommy, what if I want something?”
“Then use your talking-voice to ask me…”
Bubba piled on, “Mommy…what if I need something but you’re busy with Bree Bree?”
“Then you wait until I’m done, or you use your talking-voice to ask Daddy.”
They both nodded their heads in acknowledgement, noodling on what I had just told them.
Since then, their behavior has been more like it used to be before they entered this torturous phase. I’m not saying that they don’t whine, cry, or stomp their feet, but all I have to do is remind them: “What did Mommy tell you about when you whine or cry when no one is hurt??” and this successfully shuts down the torture. Sometimes, you can see that it frustrates them because they want nothing other than to complain, but that frustration quickly dissipates when I pull them in to snuggle and praise them for being “good big kids.”
This is the suckitude of Mommyhood…but we will turn it into the awesomeness of Mommyhood one little snuggle at a time.