When you are a mom, you usually have an instant camaraderie with other moms because you can bond over the successes and challenges of motherhood. Even more so if your kids are the same age and you are in the throes of similar day-to-day stuff.
This morning, while getting something in the kitchen at work, I started chit chatting with a co-worker who has little girls in the same age bracket as my daughter. We trade war stories a lot actually. The convos usually start the same way every time – “Does your daughter (insert crazy behavior here)?” And are followed with an “OMG, YES!” response.
Today, she said I looked overwhelmed. She was totally right. Why? Because yesterday sucked. Because I got the dreaded call from school around 10am, “Hi! She’s sick and running a small fever, can you come pick her up?” From there, it becomes a logistical nightmare. Like musical chairs. Looping in parents to babysit, having to work from home, getting back to work the next day and again getting home to a tired and sick child. No bueno. So yes, my concealer clearly did NOT conceal any of the physical evidence. Bags: 1 Rachel: 0
This morning’s session was all about whining, throwing a fit, tantrums, etc. I told her that fortunately I didn’t have a child who threw tantrums. However, what she lacks in public displays of blood curdling screaming and back arching, she sometimes makes up for with melt downs from pure exhaustion at the end of the day over nothing. And the example I used was her freaking out one day because before bed time I gave her the wrong color cup. To which my coworker said with complete empathy, “Ugh! I HATE the cup situation!”
I felt an immediate sense of relief about parenting woes, knowing that I am not alone. You know, kind of like being at a concert, singing your face off, knowing every word, dancing, having the best time. And then realizing it’s Fresh Beat Band and it’s ok because you are not the only asshole who has the playlist memorized. You are amongst a sea of parents all in the same boat, singing (and in my case doing the choreography) with a band made up of grown adults in their 30s pretending to be 16. Totally normal.
Sidenote: If you are a parent and have a child who is perfect, gets straight A’s, is currently writing a dissertation on sharing, farts rainbows and asks for brussel sprouts and green juice with chia seeds and hemp hearts everyday, good for you. Really. But 1) I think you are lying, or at least exaggerating, because sometimes a child wants a cookie. 2) Maybe you should tone it down a bit because as awesome as it is (and trust me it is – I’d fall over if my child ate something green), you are making the “normal” moms resent you. Just saying. Keep it real sister. Keep. it. real. Perhaps pepper your stories about your perfectly behaved, voracious eater with “real” stories of how he chucked a brussel sprout at his sister during dinner.
We all experience “the cup situation” in one way or another. It may be over an actual cup. Or…you can replace the cup with needing specific pajamas, the amount of cream cheese on a bagel, a ponytail being too high, a favorite pair of shoes that don’t fit anymore but she would gladly surgically remove a toe to wear them just one more day. Or, it can be about nothing. Literally nothing. I have experienced my fair share of meltdowns (and they’re always at the witching hour, leading up to bed time.) One minute, we are skipping upstairs to take a bath. We’re laughing, singing, joking. And then…I put the wrong color bath fizzie in. She asked for blue and I accidentally used red. Shit. Shit. SHIT. Maybe she won’t notice. I’ll distract her by telling her how awesome she is….wait a minute….that’s what she does to me! Am I using her tactic or did the student become the master?? Then, there’s that brief moment of silence, and you know in your heart what’s coming. It’s not going to make sense. It’s gonna happen quick. And you won’t even have time to hunker down.
It’s the cup situation.
It’s anxiety evoking, nonsensical behavior that in adult life would be unacceptable. Similar to something a delusional mental ward patient would do after they pretended to take their meds but instead fed them to the imaginary pet they think they have living in their room, which is really a shoe, and then had to be strapped to their bed and thrown in a padded room. But because it’s a child, let’s chalk it up to exhaustion.
At dinner with my girlfriends last night, we had a similar convo. Because we always talk about our kids.I know what you’re thinking – Wild and crazy night! (Just for the record, I had one of those last weekend – a real one. A true crazy, old school, get stupid with your girlfriends night. And it was SUPER fun and also educational, in that I learned I am way too old to go anywhere they slap paper bracelets on your wrists. Fact.)
Kids, food, diet habits and sex. That’s pretty much what’s on the conversation agenda. The four staples in a moms’ night out.
This is what it boiled down to, an executive summary if you will. All of us have our kids sleeping in our beds for at least some portion of the night. They are all master negotiators. They are smarter and stronger than us. They’re taking over and staging a coup. We are exhausted. Screw sex.
I’ve made no apologies and have fully admitted that my child is pretty much the boss of me. And for all of the people who try to lecture me and tell me I need to put the kibosh on it, there are twice as many that commiserate with me and tell me they are in the same boat to varying degrees. But you know what else? Despite all of the mistakes I may be making as a mother, our relationship is amazing! We have a ridiculous bond. Everyday when I come home from work, the reaction is the same. It’s like I’m coming home from a two-week trip and she’s seeing me for the first time. Maybe it’s part of her plan. But I’ve learned to pick and choose my battles.
1) “Mommy, I want to sleep on your side of the bed, not my side.” First of all, the whole bed is her side considering she jack-knifes me and I get a kick to the gut as soon as I hit rem. But if I let her fall asleep on my side, sometimes it makes for a quicker bedtime and I can escape to my garage for a treadmill session a full 30 mins earlier. That may not sound like much, but in my world it’s a huge win. Sign me up.
2) “Mommy, I want to wear the black leggings and black tank top.”
“You wore that yesterday, where did you get it, from the hamper?”
“Yes, and I really wanna wear it…please!?!”
“You realize you look like the guys from Sprockets on SNL in all black from head to toe?”
“Mom, I don’t even know what you’re talking about, but I cleaned my room, organized my toys put my shoes away.”
Well played. Wear whatever you want.
To the naked eye, it may look like I have lost these battles. But guess again. There is great reward for me veiled as earlier bed times and a clean room. We all have priorities.
Mine can’t sleep in her bed half the time anyway because the amount of clean laundry on it that needs to be folded is staggering. It looks like a bomb went off. You can’t even see the comforter. I am failing as a laundress.
The good news is, we have reached a deal. It took some major negotiations, lots of bartering, she drove a hard bargain. But apparently, she will occupy her bed full-time when she starts Kindergarten. That’s in August people. Stay tuned.
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