You don't have to like your children. Right?
I wrote this post about 3 years ago. Now, as I re-read my words and realize that I didn't know Luke had autism at the time (he was diagnosed one year after this), I'm a little sad by my words and impatience. But if nothing else, this proves that motherhood is a journey, not a destination and you never know where the next path will lead. For the record, now he's my favorite child. Don't tell the others.
So my husband and I were having quite a laugh last night. As Luke, our beast of a 2 year old was throwing himself off our bed, head first and screeching at the top of his lungs at 10:30 pm, we started to vent. "He sucks," I said. "Seriously, where did we go wrong?" My husband agreed and we laughed a little at the thought of hating the child who we both loved so much. I am pretty sure one of us even openly debated whether or not it would be THAT bad if he fell so hard he knocked himself out for just a bit-- after all, we could both use a break. My husband had worked all day and I had spent the day wrestling Luke at Target to stay in the cart, keeping him from suffocating the baby with his body, and continuously telling him to leave the dog poop in the backyard alone. What can I say, the kid has an obsession with the dog's poop.
I was done.
The kid pushes the limit and then goes a thousand leaps further --head first taking out anybody who gets in his way while thunking through life in his red boots. Those damn red boots that he never takes off. Even at 10:30 at night in MY bed.
You can bet your ass that when I get kicked in the face with red boots as I am just starting to doze off to sleep, the words, "I loathe this child," slips out between my gritting teeth as I try to hold my frustrations.
So here is the issue: why is it not okay to say out loud that you think your child is a pain in the ass? Why is it only appropriate to speak their praises? Our children are human beings with strengths and weaknesses and as a parent, we shouldn't have to always like our child. We sure as hell better love em' regardless, but shouldn't it be okay to hate them just a little too?
I was reading this article on how American Parenting is Killing American Marriage and I could not help but relate to a lot of it. Why has our culture become so strict on parenting? Why do all of us moms have our claws out trying to prove who is the strongest Mama bear? When did parenting become THE ONLY topic of conversation? When did we stop considering our own needs and only focus on our children's? When did everyone's life become this perfect little Pinterest board on the outside?
Now, before you start hatin' on me, let me just say that I too have been told by my own husband that I need to stop revolving my life around our children-- that I am more than just their mother. I am just throwing that out there so that you all know I am not a horrible person.
Anyway, the article that I referred to above discusses how parenting has become this obsessive almost-cult like religion in which our culture clings to. In this parenting religion we are completely unable to speak of our children poorly, to say that we don't enjoy being a mother, or even just to yell at our children in public. It has become unacceptable to show any weakness or to let our guards down. Maybe it has something to do with social media and the fact that we all post these snip-its of our lives that are happy. Ya know? No one ever shares a picture of their toddler throwing sand in their face or a video of them saying the "F" bomb like a parrot right after you said it….that one time.
And we see these Pinterest boards and blogs that make life look so colorful and organized and we start comparing ourselves to others. Then our competitiveness breaks in and we all strive to be. the. best. mom. and that means that we must all keep our shoulders up, eyes forward and pretend that we are marching through motherhood like it ain't no thang.
I wish we would all just stop for a second and get real. Let's start sharing pictures of our children throwing tantrums on the floor. Let's start pinning blog posts like this that tell it like it is. Let's instagraming the reality of having children--- you know, the piles of laundry in the corners, bath toys spewed all over the bathroom floor, and goldfish between the couch cushions. I want to see the chaos. Show me the chaos.
Let's stop sugar coating motherhood for just a moment and allow each other to vent through it without judgment. I want to be able to tell you that today sucked without you thinking I am a whackadoo or a bad mother.
Honestly, I cannot remember the last time I heard another mother yell at her children in public; even when her children are throwing sand buckets at her head and throwing tantrums in the middle of a quaint little family beach.
I know I don't yell in public. Nope, I shoe my children to the car, playfully telling them to get in and to "stop misbehaving" in my calmest voice. I keep my shoulders up, eyes forward and march through the sand like I have my shit together. When really, I just want to slump down and drag my children out of there like dirty towels. Maybe I threaten no desert or early bedtime, but I do not for one second raise my voice.
But you know what? The second I am alone in my car, I roll those windows up, blast my AC to mute the sound, and I let my beast out. Oh come on, you know you have a Mama-beast inside you too. I typically yell something like "THAT WAS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE" or if I am feeling completely defeated and sunburned, I will yell, "I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU JUST PULLED THAT SHIT IN PUBLIC." Yupp, I curse. Sew me.
Don't my children know that we aren't suppose to let our shit hang out like that in public? We wait until we are alone to go bat-shit cray cray.
So here's the thing:
When you have children, you are playing the lottery, man. You can't guarantee that you are going to get a kid with a kick ass personality. You can't guarantee that your newborn will be the one sleeping through the night or that your toddler won't be a picky eater. And you can't guarantee that your child won't become the child who you always swore you would never have-- you know the one who throws his body onto the ground in the middle of the grocery store because you won't let him open up a box of Cheese Its.
Yeah, that's my kid.
My kid is a piece of work. We call him the devil. He IS the devil. I've spoken those words to my friends before, telling them how difficult he is to deal with and they always look at me sideways with their mouths open. It's almost as like the entire universe expects us to only speak words of praise about our children. But, I am just being honest. Shouldn't we all just be honest?
Being a mother is tough. Throw in a kid with a strong-will and a destructive nature and it becomes even tougher.
My Luke is the cutest, most lovable, little devil in all of the world but he is a devil, regardless. And I don't think I am a bad person for telling you that life with Luke is not all rainbows and butterflies.
He cuddles and kisses for 5% of the time and terrorizes the house 95% of the time...but that 5% man, it makes it all worth it.
So is it a crime to tell you that 95% of the time I don't really like my kid? Gah, maybe it is. Maybe I am the worst mom in the world to speak the words that so many of us zip up and tuck in our closest. But ya know what else? I can also tell you that I love him 100% of the time too. Hear me? 100% of the time.
I could tell you a million things I love about my little Lukie. I love the way his little nostrils flare when he laughs and the way his voice sounds oddly deep when he is attacking us with his play sword (haha). And I love the way he thunks so heavily when he walks and how he drags out the "muah" sound as he goes in for a kiss. And the way he says "chah mok" instead of chocolate milk.
And oddly enough, just as I am wrapping up this post, here he comes waddling over to me with his arms open. "Hug" he says, which is his way of saying "pick me up." So, I do and he nuzzles his nose into my neck. And just like that, I want to take back every bad thing I ever said about him because he truly is an angel.