I’m a terrible mother. I’m fairly certain of this because of a number of situations that have transpired these past few days that, instead of reacting the way a “normal” or “good” mother would react, my reactions were more, well, um… terrible.
Example #1. A few days ago while getting ready, I heard uproarious laughter coming from the kids’ bedroom. That morning, they had struggled with getting along. I had sent them to their room to get dressed. Now, suddenly, there were gut laughs and squeals of delight, followed by even more gut laughs. I knew immediately: something must be up.
A Good Mom’s Reaction: Drop everything and go quickly to their room to find out what bad thing is happening and put a stop to it!
My Reaction: Pray they aren’t going to end up seriously injured while doing what is undoubtedly a very bad idea. Let the laughter and giggles and squeals continue. Because frankly, I just can’t handle one more stupid argument. And because there is really nothing that makes me laugh as much as hearing those two gut laugh so hard.
Example #2. After I had finished getting ready – a good 5 minutes into the giggles – I finally decided to see what was so hilarious. I discovered my 2 darling angels, completely buck naked, each with their own undies around their ankles, both feet in just one leg hole. Ever try to walk with your undies around your ankles, both feet in just one leg hole? You fall immediately. Apparently, this is utter hilarity for a 5 and 2 year old. One would get up, the other would fall, sending both into wild fits of laughter.
A Good Mom’s Reaction: Make the kids get dressed. Talk about appropriate behavior. Maybe even give consequences since they should know better and were supposed to be dressed by now.
My Reaction: Laugh. Hard. Then give them a few challenges, such as: Both of you get up. See who can make it across the room first. Laugh hysterically with them when they both crash to the ground. Give them a 3 more minutes of play time before they’ll need their clean undies pulled up, with clean clothes on, too.
Example #3: I discovered a new word of Jacob’s: titch. The first sentence he said with the word: I don’t like titch. After probing for clarification, he says, “I don’t like it when it’s titch. I don’t like the titch dark.”
A Good Mom’s Reaction: Correct his pronunciation. Make for darn sure he never says “I don’t like titch” again.
My Reaction: Laugh. Hard. While hiding my face. And then think of every opportunity to get him to say it again. Because it is so. darn. hysterical.
Example #4: The kids got silly puddy in their stockings. My sister told me a horror story of a friend’s child who got it stuck in her hair, and they had to cut it out. I stole the silly puddy and put it in a drawer for a rainy day. Yesterday, I was cleaning out that drawer with the kids’ “help,” and they found the stolen silly puddy. They asked me how it got in there.
A Good Mom’s Reaction: Tell the truth. Let them know that they’re just not quite old enough to play with it.
My Reaction: Change the subject and tell them they can play with it tomorrow.
Example #5: The kids are excited to play with their silly puddy, but they can’t remember the name of it. They do know it starts with an s and a p. So, every single time they mention it, the words are different. “Mommy, when do we get to play with the smooshy piddle?” “MOMMY! Look what I can do with my squishy pedal?” “Mommy, can we play with the stoley pud tomorrow?” “Mommy! I love my squooshed puggle so much!”
A Good Mom’s Reaction: I don’t know. Maybe correct their pronunciation? Maybe not? I’m not sure what a good mom would do. Just probably not what I did.
My Reaction: Laugh. Hard. While hiding my face. (I’m noticing a pattern here.) Tell Matt. Laugh with him. Hard. While hiding our faces. Enough that they figure it out and have hurt feelings. But still don’t tell them the real words.
Example #6: The kids love Play-Doh. I hate Play-Doh. It sits in a box on the top shelf in their closet. I think I’ve gotten it out once in the last year and a half. (Probably a lot less than a good mom would.) Something came over me today (maybe a smidge of goodness) and I got it down for them. The whole lot of it. We set up a massive play-doh station at the table. I was reminded how much I hate the horrible stuff. It’s all over the table, floor, and chairs in 0.2 milliseconds. Both kids need my help simultaneously and for every. single. second. of their play time (which is supposed to be my folding laundry time.)
A Good Mom’s Reaction: Play! Lovingly. With smiles and giggles and warm fuzzies. Then clean it all up together in a way that is reminiscent of Mrs. June Cleaver, while looking forward to the next time you’ll all have this much fun with Play-Doh again… next week.
My Reaction: Play. Hate every second. Complain about it on Facebook. Think of every possible excuse, no bribe, to get them to want to quit. Finally win with a trip to pizza for dinner. Yes, I bought them out. And with unhealthy food. Then, while we all clean up, quickly put lids on the containers so the big chunks still on the table would have to be thrown in the garbage. Less Play-Doh next time = Less headache next time. Decide that’s a genius idea, and throw away two of the containers when they aren’t looking. Plan on not getting the stuff out for another year and a half, so they’ll likely never notice the missing containers. Pray that by then, the stuff will be all dried out anyway… Right now this moment, considering opening the container lids… just a smidge. To help with the whole drying out biz…
Example #7: While vacuuming up the remaining Play-Doh mess, send the kids to get shoes on so we can head-out to pizza. (I’m a mom of my word.) They come back, ready to go. But Annalise has made a serious fashion faux-pas and has put neon green Christmas socks on over – yes over – her white tights with adorable jumper.
A Good Mom’s Reaction: Another one I’m not sure about. What do you good moms do in this situation? Let her wear it? Make her take it off? Or would you do what I did?…
My Reaction: Gently question her choice in attire. “Are you sure you want to wear Christmas socks?” (As thought that is the biggest problem here.) When she confirms that yes, this is exactly what she wants to wear, go with it. Again laughing. Hard. While hiding my face. When she asks about playing with her “squishy puddle” tomorrow and you laugh, and she gets upset because “you’re laughing at how I said that!” Do everything in your power to not reply, “Yes, I’m laughing at your squishy puddle. And your outfit.” Because that might be crushing to a 5-year old. Who really is about the cutest thing despite the strange choice in clothing.
Then, when at the pizza parlor, take a picture. And post it on your blog for all to see…