Ok, so how many of you parents (this isn’t mom exclusive…) have found yourselves suddenly sweating, heart-beating madly in your chest, rage bubbling to the surface over something your little ones are doing–or in many cases—are not doing? How often does this happen? How do you deal? I actually said the F bomb in front of the boys yesterday. My oldest laughed later and said I was now perfect for Ricky Bobby , you know, the star of Talladega Nights? One of my 14-year-old’s favorite quotes is: “I’m Ricky Bobby. If you don’t chew Big Red, well, F*ck You.”
So, yesterday, I didn’t say F you to my kids, but I did drop the F bomb. And, yes, it was exactly one hour after I did yoga in the back yard.
How does that happen? It’s like emotionally cruising along happily in 2nd gear, filled with gratitude, noticing the clouds and butterflies—to suddenly catapulting into a rage-filled Mach-7 explosion. How do kids DO this to us?! Do you feel me? Know what I speak of?
For me, it happens slowly. I do and do and do too much until I just can’t handle it anymore. My ex-husband used to say I was the most patient person he had ever known—especially when we were traveling across Europe with our oldest when he was only 3. We’d experience tantrum after tantrum. Sometimes he just wouldn’t get out of his chair at a restaurant and would cling to the sides, so when I’d lift him the chair would come up too. Kids are nuts. But when you’re in the trenches, as a parent you know what I mean—when the kids are say 2, 3, 4, 5 years old—you know to expect this craziness. It was easier for me to deal with because I just could. I’d get quiet. I’d count to 10. I’d take deep breaths and then try to mirror their feelings until the kiddo got quiet. Or, if they were in full tantrum mode, I’d hug so hard they couldn’t hurt themselves or hit their head on anything and shush them until they stopped and started crying and saying how sorry they were. Then it was over and we’d talk about it. Now, however, I’m SOOO not used to it. I have a 7-year-old and a 14-year-old and they are really good kids. We rarely have any sort of outburst. I mean it’s super rare. I even take my 7-year-old to my yoga classes and he sits calmly for an hour and doesn’t interrupt, or he’ll join in.
But yesterday morning, the first Saturday of our summer, all Hell broke loose within a 20 minute period. We had a soccer reunion to go to. The Black Dragons were to meet in a park with parents playing the kiddos, then a picnic. My oldest is their assistant coach. We were to be there by 11 a.m. Now don’t judge, but I hadn’t properly showered in 3 days. I mean, I showered with my hair pulled back for 5 minutes. But I hadn’t washed my hair, deep conditioned, shaved my legs, put a mask on my face…you know, really had a shower that made me feel like a woman. I had fallen asleep 2 days in a row with my youngest, who’d been having trouble sleeping, and not brushed my teeth at night either. Yeah gross. So, yesterday morning, after a quick run to the grocery store, I sneak in a little back yard yoga, come inside and tell my oldest, who had been out 3 nights in a row with friends, end-of-the-year pool parties, sleep overs, etc. that he needed to help me and make sandwiches for the soccer reunion picnic. I tell my 7 year old to put on his soccer uniform, mommy was taking a proper shower. Just to be on the safe side, I announce this to my oldest son’s friends who were on Skype in his bedroom as they played a video game together. Then I pulled out all the sandwich fixings AND pulled out my youngest son’s soccer uniform, shin guards, socks, cleats…
Phew, shower time. And you guessed it. Within less than 5 minutes, before I’ve shaved my legs, conditioned my hair…banging starts on the bathroom door. My 7-year-old is screaming that his shin guards feel funny. He has 3, so I tell him to put on another. He is hysterical saying none of them feel right and that his older brother won’t help him. He then tells me the older brother is still playing the video game in his room and hasn’t made the sandwiches and won’t help.
Can’t a single mom get a break? Really?! I look at the deep conditioner bottle with longing and my legs with stubble and my heart starts racing. So, you can imagine what happens next. I wrap a towel around me, stomp into my older son’s room. I don’t care that there are teenage eyeballs on me via Skype. I drag my oldest into the kitchen to make the sandwiches. I then go into the youngest room and announce that if he can’t put on his shin guards and socks and go to the car holding his cleats, he can stay home. But if he can do this much, I’ll help with the cleats at the soccer field.
In the car navigating to a park none of us had been to before, both are grumbling. We live right on the beach, but have to go to a dingy park, far away…the shin guards still don’t feel right, bla bla … I finally explode with the F bomb. And I think I may have even said something along the lines of, “When we get back, I’m planting my ass on the beach and don’t bother me for an hour.”
Mom of the Year! Whoohoo!
They had it coming, but still.
Of course, once we get to the field, all the little kids run up to us, embrace Coach William and run around with James and all the dads play with the kiddos in a scrimmage that is ridiculously fun. I share about my morning, explaining why we are late, and the other moms all tease my boys and tell them they should know better, bla bla. It becomes something funny. The morning is diffused. My boys get razzed. I feel better. We all play soccer. Over lunch a few other moms of four say that scenario happens in their home every, damn, day. Woah, I’d seriously need medication if that were the case in my house. But we all have an excellent time and when we go home, I’m no longer mad, but I do go to the beach for an hour, walking off my stress pier to pier and getting some sun.
Why is parenting like this? My oldest apologizes to me and my youngest promises to do better on the way home. We’ll see…
Today, my goal is to actually shower, shave my legs, brush my teeth, take vitamins, put on my bikini and plant my toes in the sand for an hour by the Pacific. My oldest owes me an hour in babysitting.
Life IS Good.