Today my snack of choice is green pea crisps. They are baked, gluten free and have enough salt to satiate me without being high in sodium. A good choice of avoidance, I’d say. But the bag is now empty, so my words need to start filling the page. What I am about to say is not very nice. I feel horrible for even thinking it. As if guilt isn’t already part of my standard operating procedure. But here it goes. I don’t always like my toddler. Yes, of course, I love him. I’m grateful for him and can’t imagine my life without him. But sometimes, he can be really unlikable. Geez, Mary. Yeah, whatever. I could have picked a much harsher word to describe this child and his unacceptable behavior, but my husband and his grandparents would no doubt frown upon such language chosen to describe their little angel. I remember a friend of mine saying ” My kids are being such douche bags!” I remember thinking, “Geez, that’s harsh.” (What a judgmental singleton I was.). But now I kinda get it. Cause sometimes it proves oh so true.
With O we have moved into a constant whine, which apparently is reserved just for mommy. It is like nails on a chalkboard. He has started kicking and swatting mommy followed by “Ow!” in a sassy “whatcha gonna do about it” tone. Not to mention ramming Thomas the Tank Engine into the back of mommy’s ankles while I am at the kitchen sink. Some days are far worse than others, obviously. When I say “No” he says “Yes.” When I say “Yes” he says “No.” It’s maddening. It is non sensical. No matter how I address the behavior (ignore, redirect, admonish) it persists. These things are just the tip of the iceberg. I know, I know, he is two. He is testing me. I take cleansing breath after cleansing breath. It’s no wonder I don’t pass out from all the deep breathing. I longingly look at the clock willing my husband to walk through the door. I tell you this, these aren’t the Terrible Twos….they are the A-Hole Years.
Trust me, I don’t feel good about saying this. The tougher it gets, the more I feel like I am failing. Like there are days that I don’t know if I have the strength of character to get through. Days where the fantasy of driving away in my car creeps it’s nasty head into my thoughts. It is shameful. It is humiliating and loathful. Who thinks their child is an a-hole? A two year old, no less. I’m an ungrateful horrible bitch of a mother.
And then I remember three fundamental truths. I am human. I am doing the best I can. And he is just a child. I will get through the day. God willing, I will get another shot at parenting tomorrow. It’s all gonna be ok. And just like Newton’s Third Law of Motion states, his unacceptable behavior will be replaced by an equally and opposing sweet, tender and loving state of being. And just like that, I can forget why I thought he was unlikable….until he dumps an entire jar of oregano all over the floor just because. Or when he empties out my pantry for the umpteenth time leaving a trail of canned and dried goods from the kitchen to the living room. I know it is him exploring and learning, which is why we let it happen, but after episode number 13 on any given day, I’d like to put a lock on the lazy susan. But let’s be realistic, that would be met with a tantrum of tantrums and would only be a battle won, not the war. I pick and choose my parenting battles carefully. The word NO is important. It’s overuse will make it meaningless. I can’t have that. No, the war is with myself, not my child. It is about me finding peace and grace in the maddening mundane chaos. I have gone white water rafting in number 5 conditions. I have hiked mountains. I have performed for audiences of thousands. This, my friend, is much harder.
Until next time, keep fighting the good fight, and remember, behind every great kid (who is, indeed, NOT an asshole) is a mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up. Thanks for reading. Xo