Diapers and Dragons

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Think She Meant These to be Humorous, But This Is What She's Getting From Me. Maybe I'm a Little TOO Scary.

Jill over at Scary Mommy has challenged all of us mommies out in the blogosphere to confess our weaknesses dysfunction fabulous scariness for her fabulous Scary Mommy contest. I won't dare presume I'd win, but in the spirit of transparency and honesty and all that crap, I'll put myself out there. After all, we all know I have an iffy background at best with my parenting, what with all the PPD and crazies and depression and other Bad Mommying, not to mention my dangerous tendency to pretend I'm perfect.

I'm not, in case you were wondering.

(Right about now there are at least a dozen friends and family members snorting their assorted beverages through their noses at that idea.)

I debated even posting this, again because of the whole ack what if they know how screwed up i really am?!?!? thing, but since this is the last day to enter the contest, decided maybe I'd take the chance. So in advance, I'd like to make the disclaimer that I really do love my children and am not (I think) an unfit mother, so please forgive me for being so very, very Scary.

Ways in Which I Am a Scary Mommy:
  1. I really, really, really do NOT enjoy children's games. That whole sitting around playing with trains and simple board games and blocks and all that bores me to tears after about ten minutes. There's a reason I made sure I got out of the house and met up with people over the summer. I'm much better at supervising the fun while chatting with a friend or reading a book.
  2. I let the TV babysit for me way more than I "should." Especially on a Saturday morning when I can barely open my eyes longer than it takes to shove cereal bars in the kidlets' hands and turn on Nick Jr. or the Disney channel. Or at the end of a long day when they have an hour or so before I can realistically put them to bed and all I want to do is collapse on the couch. 
  3. When I pick the kidlets up from daycare at the end of the day, we are far more likely to swing through the drive-through of the closest Old MacDonald's or Burger King than head home for a nice home-cooked meal. Last night I went all out and went through the drive-through at KFC. Where I bought the kidlets mac-n-cheese because making my own at home would just be too much trouble. Oh, and I was also hoping the genuine non-altered lactose-containing milk products might help The (lactose-intolerant) Widget with his *ahem* bowel issues. As in, you know, moving them.
  4. Bath time is NOT my favorite time. It's all fine until I have to actually wash them, upon which I have to contort my body into the proper positions for manipulating slippery little bodies in a low-lying tub. Yes, I know a little stool helps. But consider my back and knee issues (Lordy, I sound ancient, don't I?) and you'll realize a little stool only goes so far. I can hardly wait until my children get over the whole AHHHH! there's water running over my FACE and it might HURT me give me a TOWEL before I DIE! phase and can take showers. They might get fully clean a little more often then. I have been known to look at the latest deposit of paint/syrup/dairy product/who the heck knows in their hair, soak a washcloth, and scrub it out to the sound of vociferous complaints rather than go through the whole bathing rigamarole.
  5. If the kidlets get too whiny and annoying while in the car, I have been known to crank up the music enough to drown them out and sing along at the top of my voice and pretend their noise is just part of the backup singing. And the adverb "too" is very subjective here.
  6. I am constantly being caught off guard by events and fundraisers and whatnot at their school. Just this morning I saw the children had a special optional lunch for a $5 donation toward the Make A Wish Foundation. I had no clue. You think I actually LOOK at all the papers they send home? It's a good thing the teachers are willing to let me pay after the fact.
  7. I have never made a Halloween costume from scratch for my boys and am not sure I ever will. Unless they want to dress up in drag, in which case they can raid my closet for fabulous shoes.
  8. I lose my temper very easily. Even more easily with the boys, who somehow manage to not just push all my buttons, but jump up and down on them and smash them into pieces. I have had to apologize to them on more than one occasion for Completely Losing It.
  9. Sometimes when I've been in a major hurry to get the boys to bed, I have "forgotten" to have them brush their teeth.
  10. I have pinned The Widget on the floor with my legs and forced medication down his throat on multiple occasions because he's worse than a cat about taking meds. I only do this with urgent meds like antibiotics, however. And I never have to force him to eat his gummy vitamins, for some reason. (I do, however, have to keep them out of reach. I don't trust that childproof cap, because my children are far too intelligent for my peace of mind.)
  11. And maybe the hardest and scariest thing to admit? Here goes. I'll preface this by saying I LOVE MY CHILDREN and I love their hugs and cuddles and kisses and whatnot after I haven't seen them for a while (well, any time, but especially then.) However. While I do miss them when I don't have them and think about them and carry pictures of them around in my purse, I don't ache the entire time we're apart and feel like I cannot wait until I see them next. I think this would be different if I didn't know they're with their father who loves them dearly and is a good father and that they're having a great time with him (and at school, where they have a blast as well). If I was forced to share custody with a man whom I could not trust with my children, I would be a mess. But honestly? I value my Me time. It's the silver lining in all this separation/divorce Stuff. I can have a guilt-free social life with a built-in babysitting service.

And maybe that will mean some of you will judge me harshly, but the reality is I've never been the type of mother who needs or wants to spend every waking hour with her children. Perhaps part of this is due to having had PPD for so long. I think it's possible that I never achieved the same level of bonding with my children that other mothers do. I think it's also possible that they are caught up in my abandonment issues. A part of me knows that one day they will leave me, and so I never quite allow myself to connect fully. There's always a small distance between us, a piece of my heart I cannot seem to hand to them.

And part of it is that I am the person I am, The Cat Who Walks Alone (Part of the Time).

I spent three years pretending I was perfect, being told I was Super Mom. The reality is that I'm more Scary than Super.

The reality is this: motherhood is HARD. Scratch that. PARENTHOOD IS HARD. And true, there are some for whom it comes quite naturally and it really is more butterflies and buttercups for them than anything else, but some of us...Well, some of us struggle to look past the poopy Diapers and the terrifying Dragons that face us in our parenting journeys.

I have to content myself with the reminder that my children adore me. They truly love me, and while they may know that I am Scary when I've been pushed too far, they do not fear me.

(Sometimes I wish they feared me a little more, truth be told.)

And so while I may be a Scary Mommy, even a Bad Mommy, I am not a scary mother. Or a bad one.

That just might have to be enough.

12 bits of love:

Arby said...

I really really really hope that this post doesn't come to haunt you in the future.

Kathleen said...

I'm so with you so many of those!! Really all but #6 & 11, and that is because, as you know, my children are with me 24/7 - 365!! OK, so I do get some breaks now and then--like tonight my in-laws are taking them so I can get some sanity time. But I completely understand where you're coming from. And on a day like today (ahem!) I envy your sending your kids to school and having a built-in babysitter!!

michelle said...

So as a sister in the Scary Mommy blog off, I've perused many of the entries. Yours is the only one I'm commenting on, cause I think it's the only one that's MAYBE as good as mine! ha ha.

I love that you'll write about how screwed up you think you are. A mom after my own heart. And OF COURSE you love your kids.

You're brave enough to be honest. And funny to boot.
If I were judging, you'd be runner up.

HA HA HA
I REALLY WANT THAT CAMERA!

Monica said...

Sorry, I don't think you are going to win, because none of that sounds scary and all of it sounds normal.

Or maybe I'm scary too?

And yup, this is harder than hell, isn't it. Where were we when they issued the warnings?

A Teacher said...

http://www.amazon.com/Mother-Shock-Loving-Every-Minute/dp/1580050824/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1256245071&sr=8-1

Mommy Shock by Andrea Buchannan is a collection of essays on parenting where she begins with a basic premise: Some times being a parent sucks a lot and we hate it.

There's an unwritten law in modern America that if you're lucky enough to have kids you must never say a negative thing about the experience no matter how tired you, how much you want a break, how badly you need to talk to another adult. Reality is that we all need a break a bit, either to find ourselves again or to remember how we ended up with kids in the first place.

mom said...

You're right. Parenthood is hard, and we've all failed sometimes. I think what's hard for me, reading this, is that it so paints just one side of YOUR picture. And I've seen you in pretty much all of the phases you describe. And in lots that you don't describe. So I thought I'd just post something that paints a fuller picture, if that's okay. Cuz I'm your mom, and I love you, and I know why those boys love you. The whole picture is better. The one that remembers we all have to grow into being a mom:

loving the mom who is my daughter,
sharing the days of care and laughter,
seeing some skills I may have taught her,
watching her bloom in her own ways, after

the sweet times, hard times, years of growing
from child to woman, feeling, knowing
her heart’s true shape in its becoming
(brilliant, thoughtful, strong and giving) --

this is the grace-gift from our Father:
holding her sons and breathing her hours,
drinking the joy of new grandmother,
blessing the day that made her ours!

melissa said...

i've had to sit on my kids and force feed medication too.
it's amazing how, while we are "suffering" through motherhood and feel like we are the only ones doing it so failingly, so many other mothers are doing the EXACT same things that we are doing. and not admitting it.
ha.
xoxo

Stone Fox said...

oh, we are so alike. i, too, have a quick temper and sometimes my kids just piss. me. off. and then? mama FREAKS OUT. with fair warning, ie: "if you don't stop ripping apart that couch, i am going to FREAK. OUT."

and there is nothing weird about being glad for You time. i don't think it has anything to do with PPD or not bonding with your kids; i think it has a LOT to do with liking your solitude. i cherish my solitude. either that, or i have failed to bond properly with my kids too. which i highly doubt.

Scary Mommy said...

Wow- you really hit the nail on the head with this one! I agree about my children not fearing me-- sometimes I think they are the only ones who don't!!

Draft Queen said...

(When my kids go to my mother in laws for 2 weeks, I totally and completely enjoy it. Too much.)

But don't tell anyone.

ferkemomoftwins said...

gotta say...i can SO relate! Did you take lessons from ME or something?? Good grief. Motherhood has always scared me to death, but most people wouldn't know because...good acting skills? (-: Hey, we figured, when Chris would come home from French school saying how his teacher yelled at them, that it was all part of him learning that people WHO LOVE HIM can also SPEAK VERY LOUDLY TO HIM....Shoot, we're practically Italian around here....

ferkemomoftwins said...

oh--and i gotta believe that you are Just The RIght Mom for those 2...
(and maybe i really DON'T hide the fact that motherhood scares me very well....)

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