Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Sometimes My Kids are...


It's true.

Individually, they are incredibly kind, lovely, happy, cooperative.  But when they get together, it's all kinds of ugly.

Tonight, one of my four-year-olds cried incessantly because he wanted to make sure he had a toy that his brother did not.  Like, not a specific toy.  He wanted to make sure he had something, anything, that his brother did not have.  What an asshole.

My daughter cried for 20 minutes because she wanted the straw out of her brother's cup.  She had her own straw.  It was the exact same.  But, she wanted the straw that was specific to the cup that her brother was holding.  She kicked, screamed, yelled, and howled about the fucking straw.  What an asshole.

I know, deep down, I am responsible for the sibling rivalry.  And, even if I'm not, the assholes I am raising will find a way to blame me.

However...this really makes me wonder...why is it that kids tend to fall apart the second you bring another child into this world?

Attention?  Not in my case, I  ignore them all equally.

Stress?  I mean, what do these kids have to be stressed about?  They don't even wipe their own asses.

I have to think it has to do with the idea of identity.  They want to be individuals, to be their own people, and they don't know how to communicate that without being, well, assholes.

So, I've been trying to read up on what to do.  I'm not really a problem-solver, but I do love a good research project.  The advice out there, though well-intentioned, makes me believe that I'm going to be living a life of vodka in my cereal.

Here's a snippet of said advice:

1.  Children closer in age tend to compete more.
Great!  Let me jump in my handy-dandy time machine and get rid of one.  Which one should I choose?  The one who is throwing a full-on temper tantrum because his free fucking cookie from the grocery store doesn't have a blue M&M on it, or the one singing, "Mine has a blue M&M"?  No, really, which one?

Which leads to the next piece of advice that's out there...

2.  Don't play favorites.
Really?  Because of course I have a favorite.  My favorite is the one not acting like an asshole.  Which tends to change from minute to minute.

3.  Anticipate Problems.
Yes.  I can TOTALLY predict when one of my heathens is going to go apeshit over something small and insignificant.  Children are so predictable.  Like that time, my four-year-old laid down on the ground of the dollar store because his brother got a more expensive toy.  It's the fucking dollar store.  Everything costs the fucking same...a dollar.  I totally saw that one coming.  How do you anticipate that shit?

4.  Don't make comparisons.
Come on.  It is hard not to compare.  And most of the time, I'm not comparing my children to each other, because, really, they all fall on the same side of the nut tree.  But, when you are in a store, and you see the kids sitting nicely in the cart while your ankle-biters are trying to shove each other out.  It's hard not to compare.

5.  Encourage good behavior.
Is there really a parent out there encouraging bad behavior?  I mean, seriously, is there a mom out there saying, "Come on, Jack, hit Sally again because you're jealous that she got to sit in the carseat on the right and you were forced to sit in the carseat on the left which happens to be the same carseat, just on the left fucking side."  No.  Nobody does that.

I'm sure there is other advice out there regarding the care and keeping of assholes.  However, all of it seems to point in the same direction.  And that is, we, as parents, are screwed.  Until these kiddos develop rational thought processes, and some never do, we will be stuck playing referee.  In the meantime, here are my five pieces of advice.

1.  Cherish their fighting, one day you will miss hearing it.
2.  Take time with them individually...they're much nicer that way.
3.  Do compare them, but find kids that are worse than yours.  
4.  Remember that most people only post their highlight reel on Facebook, their kids are assholes too.
5.  Always take the side of the one you think will let you live with him/her one day.

It's true, they're assholes.  But, aren't we lucky to be the ones they feel safe enough to fall apart with?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I'm No Expert...

I'm no expert.  Like all moms, I fuck up.  

But what I lack in experience, I make up for in creativity.  I think the world of Facebook has us believing that if you don't have a baby attached to your nipple while having him swaddled in his co-sleeper covered in essential oils while you work, than you are doing it wrong.  It wasn't until I started posting about my way of doing motherhood, not the highlight reel, that I realized that other moms are  just like me.  Normal.

Not long ago, I was watching drama unfold on an an acquaintance of an acquaintance's Facebook page.  It was amazing drama.  The kind of drama you think only happens in a bus full of drag queens on the way to a wig sale, and it was unfolding right there in my feed.  However, my children were in my presence and they wanted to be entertained by me.  I had options.  I could put the phone down, after all, I am a mother and it is my job to parent.  I could screen shot for later enjoyment.  Or...I could fake an incredible bout of Irritable Bowel Syndrome so that I could lock myself in the bathroom and stay abreast of the drama-train derailing right before my very eyes. While there are some moms reading this hoping I took the high road.  Have no fear...I took the road less traveled, straight to the voting booth.  And as I sat there upon my throne, I wondered how many moms sat exactly where I was sitting...well, not exactly where I was sitting, but in their own homes in their own bathrooms faking gastric distress just to get a moment of peace and quiet.  It wasn't truly about Facebook or drama, it was about me taking time for me. 

If I were my past self (pre-motherhood) reading the story that my current self (mom of three) just wrote,  about the fabrication of Montezuma's Revenge just to be by myself, I'm sure I would be appalled.  I was such a good mom before I ever became a mom.  But, now, as my current self reads the story of my past self (past, as in last week), I am proud of myself.  Because I did what I needed to do to be a better mom.  After my imaginary butt-wipe and the flush of the clear water, I was ready to be mom.  And just as if I had done the real act, I felt relief.  

Moms...don't be afraid to fake a trip to the bathroom.  Or to get something in your eye.  Or to take a little extra time to switch over the laundry.  Sometimes that's what we need to be ready to tackle the most amazing, yet exhausting, job in the world.