It’s a weird time in our lives. This little being is so amazing. He learned to walk and talk and grew way to fast before my eyes. He is sweet and kind and adorable and a great big asshole. Yep, you heard it. I said it. My kid is an asshole.
Not everyday, not every moment but on Monday afternoon, as we drove to karate and he snarled at me because I had a snack in the Jeep, but not the one he wanted. Not today buddy, don’t be an asshole. He is lucky I have a snack. What makes this ball of energy think that I am a mind-reading snack machine?
Don’t get me wrong, I love the small boy more than I ever knew possible. I can’t imagine my life without him. He brings out my sparkle in ways I never knew possible. He makes me laugh. He makes me want to be a better person. He makes me want to bang my head against the wall.
At some point, between that sweet, snuggly baby and 6, he developed an attitude. It is strong and I am not equipped with the patience to accept it. “He’s strong-willed,” they say. “Strong-willed children grow up to be successful adults.” Great, but could someone please explain to the screaming banshee in my back seat that today is not the day and I can not magically grow more snacks out of my butt. And even if I could, he’s not getting one. Not with that attitude. Man, wouldn’t it be cool if you could grow snacks out of your butt? He is not being strong-willed. He is being an asshole and I will not raise an asshole.
So, guess who cried the entire way to karate? My kid. Want to be ungrateful for the snack that was offered? Fine, go hungry, no snack for you, today. Turn up the radio a little louder and drown out the yelling. You will not starve to death and I will not give in because I will not raise an asshole.
It’s pretty simple. Please, thank you, ask nicely, be grateful and don’t yell. It’s so hard for them. I have tried many times to teach Riley gratefulness, just when I think he gets it, bam, the asshole. When did I raise this?
Well, not today. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Don’t you just love being a Mom? Honest answer, some days, it is my most favorite job. Some days, I want to hide in the closet with a bottle of wine and a pack of cigarettes blaring some Tom Petty and pretending the small boy doesn’t exist.
Does this make me a bad mom? Nope. I am a great mom. I build legos and erector sets. I design doors for his classroom with matching coloring sheets. I take him for ice cream. I pick him up when he falls. But some days, I can’t, so I don’t and that is okay. The mom thing is hard.
I remember the days when I could lounge for hours with a book. I believe that was 6 years ago. Today, I’m just proud that I did my hair and my clothes aren’t wrinkled. Somewhere along the way, I missed that this mom thing was a full time job. And not just the 40 hour a week kind. Is he hot? Is he cold? Did he eat his lunch? Did I remember to put money in his book bag? Is he having fun? Did he drink enough water? What does he need for the field trip? Is his uniform for karate clean? Even when my kid is sleeping, my mind is running circles around his day and his schedule. It is exhausting and I am tired.
So show yourself a little grace. Let them sit in front of the screen, so that you can have a quiet cup of coffee. You deserve it. Sometimes, I need to recharge. I need to put myself first. I am a better mom when I do. I deal with assholes so much better when I am rested and relaxed. And, I don’t care if you think your sweet, angel is perfect, they will be an asshole and you need your best self to deal with them.
Momming is hard work. We need to stop being so hard on ourselves. Every child has a mind of their own. Each special and unique. Each one with a special kind of sugar and spice. Each one with the power to exhaust, frustrate and make you burst with pride, all at the same time.
I sparkle because the small boy brings me so much joy and I flicked because he challenges me. I will not feel bad taking a moment for myself. I will not feel bad when I don’t give him a snack. I will not negotiate with a mini tyrant. It’s not good for me or for him, but man, it’s hard. So, the next time your precious angel is being an asshole, show yourself grace. They all have it in them, just don’t let them make you be one back. Strong-willed children may become successful adults but assholes are assholes and no one likes them, big or small, not even their moms.
So, I am going to go find the small boy, give him a hug, play with some dinosaurs and pat myself on the back that I made it through another day. So, Moms, in the midst of chaos, sparkle. Don’t let life dull your shine.
The Manicure Mom
P.S. These are my Color Street nail strips on day 12, the grow out is bad but they still look amazing.