Kid’s do as they see, not what they’re told. Lets be real, young kids do exactly what their little, psychopathic brains tell them to do.
Pre-kids, I was guilty of always judging a parent by her child’s behavior. If a child talked back to his Mother in public, I was appalled at her tolerance to allow such behavior. Now, as a Mother of two, I’ve eaten my precocious words and Karma is laughing her ass off.
Let me tell you what I do not spend my day promoting, but my kids seem to believe is acceptable, and some times hilarious, behavior.
Greeting someone with a smile and a slap upside their head.
Announcing of flatulence, giggling and then blaming the random stranger next to me in the check-out aisle.
Sticking one’s fingers in her ears while being asked a question.
Requesting an object, that is within reach.
Repeatedly kicking the person who is trying to clean the toxic poo from his butt.
Flushing the toilet…20 times in a row.
Telling one’s Momma NO! before she can even finish her sentence.
Loudly referring to a person sitting at the next table over as “funny looking”, and pointing of course.
Throwing a fork at the waitress walking by and laughing like a crazy person.
Pulling down one’s pants, just for the hell of it.
Sharing gossip she overheard while eavesdropping at the most inopportune time, like before school, when all the parents are really close by.
Feeding a home cooked meal to the dog and then pitching a fit worthy of leather restraints, in order to get yogurt for dinner.
I could go on…and on and on. But won’t. If you have small kids or have survived already raising them, you get what I’m saying. If you do not have kids, prepare yourself. Your children will make you look like the world’s worst parent, every chance they get.
Luckily, parenthood has an ironic way of stretching your sense of humor and tolerance. Picking your battles, becomes a matter of keeping your sanity.
Babysitters and friends say to me, “You have such well behaved kids.” I always thank them and truly appreciate the compliment. I suppose as long as they have everyone else fooled, we are doing something right!
Is there one thing your kid does that sends you over the edge? What’s the most embarrassing thing one of your children has ever done in public? Don’t worry, I won’t hold it against you.
I can’t believe I never realized this before. My fresh-out-of-college position as a psychiatric assistant on a Mental Health Unit (MHU) schooled me on raising my young children. The resemblance of my day to day back then compared to now as a SAHM is uncanny. Let’s review.
1. Meal Monitor
Three times a day, and for never-ending snack-time, I prepare food and watch kids eat it. I monitor breakfast and make note of any out-of-the-ordinary behaviors that clue me in to how my day is going to go. I always have an eye open for aggressive behaviors and flying food and silverware. It’s my job to make sure I handle it if someone loses her shit over spilled milk.
2. Tend to Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
I move into assisting with ADL’s, better known in my current position as brushing teeth, getting dressed and fixing hair. This seemingly simple routine can flip you on your head and have you chasing naked butts and fighting off fits. This is just as much true when working with a paranoid schizophrenic or manic depressive as it is for dealing with my Sassy 4yo and her completely wild little brother.
3. Safety Checks
As I walk the circle that is my kitchen/dining room/living room downstairs, I’m constantly scoping out the place for hidden dangers or safety concerns. I’m eye balling the countertops (now easily accessible to Little Man) for a knife left on the cutting board. I’m confirming the scissors were put away after crafting (term used loosely…we were cutting Easter eggs out of construction paper). I never doubt the capabilities of my Little Man to cause bodily harm to himself or others. No one truly knows what he is capable of …it’s just better to hide the pens and lock up the forks.
4. Take Downs
It was not a part of the previous job nor of the current gig that I enjoy. However, when faced with the choice to take down the one year old, with a hatchet coming at you, or bail…well, you throw on your Momma balls and proceed with caution. Although his daddy was dumb enough forgetful in leaving his kindling-cutting-hatchet where Little Man could get it, at least the blade was in its locked case.
5. De-escalation Techniques
This is a priceless tactic I learned while watching people ‘go off’ for three years. A four year olds emotional instability is classifiable, for sure. The panic alarm in my Momma gut has learned to recognize the signs of dramatized, and some times verbally aggressive, melt downs before they happen. The future of everyone else in the household’s happiness rides on me being able to talk her through her four year old insanity. The tricky part is, and always was, not antagonizing with an over emotional reaction a.k.a. losing my shit.
6. Art Therapy
On the unit, it was my job to keep the patients busy and from time to time talking. My best trick for down times was coloring. Adults are no different than children when it comes to the simple motions of adding color to a page. It encourages their brain to put color to their thoughts and words to their feelings. Crafting (again, it’s really just crayons and scissors) can be a therapist’s and a parent’s best tool.
7. Delusions, Flight of Ideas and Manipulation
When you think of spending most of the day with a preschooler, one doesn’t first imagine taking on the role of psychiatrist. I am no doctor but I spent half my days back then trying to figure out if what was being said to me was a delusion, a lie or an attempt to manipulate me. If you don’t know already, four year olds are the most imaginative creatures on the planet. They are also liars. Bold face lying little fuckers. By the end of the shift day, the constant flight of ideas streaming all. day. long. will exhaust you.
Working on the MHU, it wasn’t uncommon to hear, “Shut the doors! He’s trying to elope!”. I quickly learned that eloping was just lingo for “breaking the hell out of there”. It’s like deja vu in my house these days because at least once a day I hear, “MOM! He’s out the front door!”. Little man has learned to turn a handle…and he is psychotically quick and daring.
9. Job Hazzards
I was spit on. I was verbally thrashed at least a few times a week. I even had my ass handed to me by a woman in her 70’s that thought I was trying to steal her cat. This morning I poured juice in a cup and put a lid on it. I paid dearly for it. My adorable son crossed over and turned in to a swinging, kicking, flopping, screaming, completely unstable little being. There was no warning or reason. His little brain is just wired to flip the fuck out if things don’t go his way these days and I, unfortunately, am at the brunt of it.
10. Shift Report
At the change of shift, a report was given. A summarizing of information pertaining to each patient was passed along. This now occurs for me when the hubs gets home regarding his (when they’re naughty they’re “his”) kids. While I am finishing up dinner, I’m usually reporting on crazy antics, steps forward and two steps back.
By end of the shift dinner time, I could give at least six examples why I can’t possibly show up wake up tomorrow and do it all over again. But I’m Momma, that’s what I do. Like I did when I walked the halls of the MHU, I’m constantly schooled by the very people I am there to help “get better” and am a better person for it. .
If you see a Mom disciplining her child in public, back her up by not paying attention.
Do not engage Mom or child and for the love of God please, do not gawk at the situation with disapproving eyes. If nothing else, high five Mom afterwards for not caring what you think and taking care of the situation as needed. When Moms feel less humility about disciplining her child in front of you, you will feel less aggravation with the youth of tomorrow.
Please try to say something other than, or at least in addition to, “You are so pretty” to our daughters.
Moms spend every day trying to instill that beauty is not just skin deep. Enforce that. It will work to make the next generation of women that much stronger.
Please engage Mom before her children.
It’s off putting for a stranger to start a conversation with a child without acknowledging the parent first. Please remember that young children are in the midst of being taught vital lessons on how to keep themselves safe and that includes not talking to strangers. Moms need to give her kids the impression that it is ok to converse with you. She can’t do that if you don’t look at her first.
If you are going to acknowledge one child for his adorableness, please do so for his sibling(s) as well.
It’s understood that babies and toddlers are adorable little creatures with their puffy cheeks and mischievous smiles. However, if you only point out the younger one because, “He is just so cute”, the older child sees and feels that. Please don’t make a Mom point out that there is another child standing right next to her. The older one notices and feels that too.
Offer to return her shopping cart for her.
Odds are if you don’t, it’s going to get left because Momma bears won’t stray too far in order to put it back; although, she’ll feel guilty about leaving it. Your car may thank you for it later.
Open or hold the door for her!
This will serve your conscious well; as well as, your karma. Ignoring a Mom with kids in tow (or anyone for that matter) and letting the door close behind you because you don’t want to wait two seconds is going to piss the universe off. You’ll get yours and when you do, just remember that time you forgot to use your manners.
If you currently have children, or remember what it is like to raise them, give a Mom that knowing smile.
An understanding, “I totally get it” or “I’ve been there” smile is worth a thousand compliments. Confirmations from other club members are priceless.
** Have any you would like to add?? Please do share! **
I’d dare say there is a significant amount of danger upon entering my house these days. Those without children should probably just stay away . Actually, four out of five doctors and therapist would probably recommend avoiding visiting my house at all.
Once in a while, I actually get visitors. I have come to realize, disclaimers are necessary before making oneself comfortable though. Let me give you the run down on things any guest should be aware of before visiting.
If you don’t break an ankle slipping on one of the invisible-in-plain-sight Legos or matchbox cars on the floor, you are at least certain to stub a toe on the gaps between the pergo flooring in the living room. Prepare for it. My kids astounding ability to overload your senses is so perfected, even the wooden floor is cracking up.
I’d recommend standing over sitting. Apparently, adults sitting down start to resemble a jungle gym the longer they sit. You will be pounced on without notice. You’ve been warned. Pouncing has led to busted lips, black eyes and knees to the gut in this house.
You can hang your self esteem by the door. I have a four yr old and those crazy bastards invented the “no filter” hoopla, so it won’t do you much good here. If something about your appearance is “off” today, she is sure to let you know about it.
I always have extra bold roast coffee brewed. I want all guests to be on the up and up so you don’t miss the fire poker coming at you with the force of a crazy 18mth old behind it. I can offer you a helmet in order to help ward off concussions. It’s not required to wear them but highly recommended. The little guy often shows affection by pimp slapping you with whatever is in his hand at the moment. I have junk cups for the guys. Momma’s sweet boy stands about crotch high now and has a right hook that will leave the boys crying.
You will surely want to have your eyes peeled if you have a bite to eat while you’re here. My dogs are sneakier than a vengeful ex-girlfriend. If you don’t eat fast enough, it will be taken from your plate or even hand so fast you’ll question whether or not you actually ate it or not. They arealways watching you.
Let me be clear in saying that engaging my four year old in conversation may cause anxiety. The rate of speed to which words and complete randomness comes out of her mouth may trigger double vision and/or a minor brain explosion.
I hope you don’t scare easy. My son will make a man of steel’s heart skip a beat. Trust me when I say, don’t worry if you see the little guy jump from 5 steps up the staircase or dance like he just dropped a tab of E on the dining room table. Those are actually two of his safer activities.
I always leave some Vicks Vapor rub by the door. Please do yourself a favor and rub some underneath your nose before you enter my home. Recently, I’ve changed diapers that could be used to torture terrorists in to giving up their own mothers. Ironically, when the little man eats hardly anything at all, his ass shoots the most toxic poo. Oh and I have two dogs that firmly believe it is their right to race to the couch before you have a chance to sit down. Their wet, snowy fur clings to the fabric which will also leave the gentle aroma of ass wafting all around you.
I have some extra ear plugs if you need them. For what, you ask? Oh just wait. When the third round of What Does The Fox Say begins just trust me and put them in as deep as they’ll go. Repetition in this house is like crack and my kids are hard up for that damn fox. Their mission in life seems to be figuring out what that hell he says, leaving me wanting to run directly in to the woods with a rifle to find out myself.
We can hang out in the kitchen but your doctor will probably not be happy with your presentation at your next physical. I have a slight addiction to peanut butter and chocolate, which means you will most definitely be within arms reach of something irresistibly, sinful to eat. Seriously, don’t look too hard or long at my Crayola Turd cookies, your ass will puff up and you will immediately fall in to a white sugar induced coma.
Finally, I must warn you, the kitchen it quite possibly the most dangerous of all places we could be. That’s where I keep the wine. Just apologize to your liver now. The amount of wine you will need to ingest to tolerate the volume level and energy my kids have to burn off will most certainly leave your head thumping in the morning. I’ve learned that if you mix it with juice, it lessens the guilt that comes with drinking wine at 10 am.
Oh wait, what did you say? You can’t make it over? No, I didn’t realize I talked until your ears bled. Maybe the ear plugs will stop the bleeding. You’re right, I probably should get out more but the children…THEY FOLLOW ME EVERYWHERE! I promise if we hide in the bathroom and take a couple swigs from the vodka bottle I keep hidden with the towels, we’ll have a very nice visit.
No, it’s ok. I get it. I disassociate often and the view from above makes me shudder too. I’ll just throw on some Nick Jr. and pray they don’t eat me alive.
10. The children constantly demand food and attention!
It’s those stolen moments online when the kids undoubtedly will be starving to death or need assistance that ONLY you can provide. One knows these moments are a far cry from depriving her children of actual needs; however, putting herself first will not doubt bring on the guilt.
9. Your spouse wants to talk and stuff.
Your spouse has probably grown a bit jealous of your creative brain. He may dream of you working on him like your fingers work the keys on your lap top.
8. You’re so tired because you stayed up too late writing.
After the kids have gone to bed and any last minute daily things have been taken care of, it’s time to get your blog on! Before you know it, midnight is creeping up on you. You know those little, human alarm clocks are going to go off before the sun comes up but you just have to finish this one last thought!
7. You have to make lists to keep your thoughts straight.
You binge on list making. When you are in the groove and the motions of the day align just right, all you want to do is write. There aren’t enough hours in the day, so you jot down random thoughts that may or may not make sense to you by the time you actually sit down to write. Next to that, you manically scribble your to do list, grocery list, phone calls list, projects you want to start list, and on and on and freakin’ on.
6. You become a comedic genius at bedtime.
Your best material floods your brain while you are trying to sleep. Naturally, you don’t have anything around you to record the funniest or deepest thought you ever had. Despite telling yourself that if you repeat a line several (hundred) times in your head you won’t forget it in the morning, you will most definitely never remember it in the morning.
5. Becoming topic of conversation.
When you live in a small town or have children in school and blog, your stories often have characters that you will eventually run into. Caring what other people think is taken to a whole new level when the busy bodies feed on your blog confessions.
4. There is only enough time to comment or write.
Both are just so very necessary!
3. The kids won’t be quiet in line at Target so you can hear the hot topic discussion going on behind you.
Some times material does not present itself very easily to your brain. That doesn’t mean the drive to write disappears or stops hounding you. Mom’s mission then becomes staying sane in the grocery store with her kids in tow while also eavesdropping on interesting looking people conversating.
2. Swearing on your blog is offensive to your kid’s friend’s parents.
The F bomb is perhaps a blogging Moms best friend and makes for a powerful tool. Even when used sparingly and effectively, some may fear their kids will come home from your house reciting the 7 dirty words.
1. Someone thinks it’s too cold for your kids to go to school.
Ok so maybe it’s cold enough outside to freeze off little fingers in 3.25 seconds; however, these delays and cancelations are cutting in to your “down to no/one” kid, easier to slam down some thoughts time. It’s simply unacceptable.
Finding a balance between being Mom and being a Mom that blogs is never easy. How do you make it work? What is your first world blogging mom/dad problem??
It’s a funny thing to choose to struggle for a greater cause. Especially when the cause is only partially understood.
I have decided to continue on in SAHM-ville for now. A lot of soul searching and thinking about the big picture going on in my head lately. When I first learned about the possibilty of getting my old job back, I was excited and quite relieved even at the possibility of bringing in a second income. It helped to know that I would be walking back in to something that was familiar. But familiar started to become less desirable the more I thought about it. I think it’s because I’ve learned more about myself in the past year than ever before and at the same time I have been the least comfortable.
Being “the constant” to two little people was never on my map remember. I am way more comfortable assisting others (and by others I mean other adults) at navigating their own lives, which is essentially what my previous career consisted of doing. But I’m starting to see the reasons why I was pulled in to this new career. It’s almost like someone saying, “see you CAN do this” and I am meant to do it. Somewhere in the mix of all of my pros and cons lists I realized there was no wrong way to make this decision…just my way.
As crazy as it may seem to some, I sometimes worry that I’m causing more harm than good by being home with my kids all day every day. My faults mixed with mood swings can make one feel that way on a bad day (or any day really). But it’s when my baby boy smiles with his eyes and perfect little lips when he sees me, regardless of the fact that I only walked out of the room for five minutes or when my daughter looks at me and says “You’re the best Mommy ever” when just an hour before I was yelling at her, probably louder and longer than necessary, that I see how my presence alone is all they really want. They don’t care that I’m not perfect, just that I am here. And that’s when I remember how much I wish my Mom could have been my constant.
At times I laugh to myself and feel like I’m cracking up when I think about the small, intricate details I’m choosing: long, cold winter days with two high energy kids in doors, the continuation of sick to my stomach Thursdays a.k.a. pay day and the ongoing lack of brain stimulation. But believe me, I am laughing (and twitching) with joy.
From time to time, I venture out on my own. It’s usually to fetch more food for the fam at the dreaded grocery store or something of that sort. Some call this the Mom-cation. Sad isn’t … that swaying to Dido, sipping on a Dunkin’ coffee and gazing down the aisle of the overly packaged, processed food can be equated to “taking time for herself”.
While I’m out “on vacation”, I sometimes run in to people I knew in my past life. The life that involved my brain synapses firing in directions other than figuring out how to burn off four year old energy or reminding myself, for the forth time, to take the chicken out of the freezer for dinner. I genuinely like running in to people I know, as long as it isn’t on the third day I have put off showering. The opportunity for adult conversation doesn’t come up much so when it does, even for a small talk quickie, I enjoy it.
I revel in the common, “How are the kids?”. I’m usually prepared for the, “Are you finding time for yourself?”. However, I dread hearing, “Do you love being home?” The first two can be answered simply and in truth with minimal guilt and judgement. However, “Do you love being home?” makes me want to run and find that family size bag of Doritos on sale that I am way too excited about.
Answering this question is tough. I don’t want to come across as an awful human being by admitting that some days being home with small children makes me envious of Thelma and Louise’s last road trip. I certainly do not want to sound ungrateful when the awkward pitch of my nervous laugh scares the elderly lady behind me. I stumble at best with my response to this one every time.
I find it difficult to articulate the fine line that weaves between raising your children and enjoying them. To me that line can be straight, jagged, strong and broken all within a ten minute time span and how do you communicate that without giving a bad impression. I was so tired of answering random questions from my four yr old today I found myself whispering “Please God make her stop” before I even figured out what was for lunch. I pulled so many things out of my 14mth old’s mouth and hands today that at a certain point I convinced myself that as long as it was the colored pencils, and not the crayons he was in to, he was fine.
I’ve come to realize that there is no such thing as good days and bad days. There are good moments and bad moments and each exist in EVERYDAY. I do love being home with the little tyrants. I would hate to miss that moment when little man walks up to his sister and just lays his head on her shoulder. Or when my girl busts a move with me in the kitchen and tells me, “Mom, you’re an amazing dancer”. But those moments, the ones that fill your soul and the ones that frazzle your last nerve, are hard to portray in the realms of small talk.
Is there one question you get about being a SAHM or about your kids in general, that irritates you? Am I the only one that feels like driving to the grocery store alone and the two hours away from my family is a mini vaca?