A person who’s not spent a significant amount of time with small children, would have me committed if they put a tape recorder in my home. Some things that might be overheard on a typical day, said in a loud voice, I’m going potty all by myself. Mama doesn’t need any help going potty today. Thank you! (sound of door closing and toddlers wailing outside of it as if they’ve just been severely beaten with a stick) And if it could record Mama’s thoughts, it would hear me contemplating whether it’s more peaceful to pee while listening to screams that could break glass or while happy kids are swarming around me, trying to put their hands in the toilet, standing on my underwear and flushing repeatedly. It’s a tough call, but luckily I get to do it several times a day, so I can change it up a bit, depending on my mood.
I feel kind of mean when I do this, but I’ve found that I must be a little bit “mean” in order to keep from really losing it by the end of the day. One really dumb thing I do sometimes when I’m feeling “nice” is let my 4-year-old skip “quiet time” (otherwise known as the sacred hour in the afternoon when his brother is sleeping and he’s required to play quietly without talking to Mama). Every time I’ve done this I realize later that it was actually mean to do, because without that time of peace, by dinnertime I’m ready to just get in the car and drive off into the sunset, never to return. And I’m afraid it’s hard to hide that feeling from the kids.
On days like that I always have a day-dream nightmare that one day I’ll turn on the Dr. Phil show and find my grown kids on there lamenting, “yeah, it was like growing up with Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde“, while Dr. Phil gives a pensive nod, followed by a booming, “Parents you have got to be consistent! Do y'all get that?”
I admit that sometimes I feel like being nice and letting the kids eat as many cookies as they want. Other days I feel like being “good” and explaining that one more cookie will surely cause all their teeth to rot and fall out. So I get that “consistency” advice, but, frankly, I don’t see how anyone can really put it into practice. At least not on a regular basis…
Copyright 2005. Staci Schoff. All Rights Reserved.