I think every mother has either written this, said this or thought this, but I need to get this out because lately I’ve looked at my child and have actually fantasized about tubal ligation.
I never thought I’d say that.
You sure you want another one?”
(I ask my husband with squinted eyes.)
Sometimes the thought gives me butterflies—like when I smell that delicious newborn smell or watch my husband snuggle another baby… my ovaries do a little dance and I’m practically pregnant just looking at my man.
And then other times?
I’d rather stick my head in the oven.
All jokes aside though, ish has been getting real in this household.
I always believed in karma, but now I know it exists.
Truthfully, I want to go back to my pre-baby self and gently drop kick her in the throat just to watch her fall in slow motion. Because through the looking glass, it’s clear to me that I was such an arrogant, judgmental hater.
I’m one of six kids, had nannied since I was 15 and have a degree in early childhood education. So I thought for some idiotic reason that I was an expert. A child never treated ME that way. They wouldn’t dare, and it wouldn’t happen… if it did, it wouldn’t last. Because, well… I was perfect.
The hitting, scratching, tantrums in public. The not listening. Disrespect. It wouldn’t happen because I knew how to handle kids. I knew how to discipline.
My son has made me cry 4 times in the past 9 days and has put on a show for the public every time I’ve taken him out (not always the whole time, generally it’s when it’s time to go and I refuse to buy him yet another truck after Christmas– which by the way, whoever decided to put those 50 cent trucks by the checkout line is my actual nemesis) So I promptly bribe him with plantain chips, which only works 50% of the time, and the other half I’m relying on prayer to drown out the shrieks of my spawn.
As soon as I think that we’re about to have a good shopping trip, or try to shut the door to pee, or ask him to brush his teeth, get dressed, pick up his toys, or he hears me turn on the shower…this little troll replaces my son and he decides that he hates me and wants the rest of the world to as well.
And it’s working.
The other night? We got in a screaming match. Over a smoothie.
I’m all about gentle parenting. I’m all about modeling self control and patience. But at the same time, I’m also cutting off his pacifier at night (me…I’m the pacifier) so we had been getting roughly 2-3 hours of sleep all week. My patience was thin. And he had been retaliating all week. (Lots of whining, lots of tantrums, lots of screaming)
So we go downstairs for a snack and he requests a smoothie. I kindly say no, little man. It’s almost dinner time, we can have another snack. What would you like?
Commence the whining. Incessant whining.
Smoothie, Mommy, smoothie, smoothie, smoothie. Mommy, Mommy, Mommyyyyyyyyyy…..”
Again, (a little more firmly this time) No, Albert. I’m sorry, no smoothie. You already had one today and it will fill you up. We can have apples and almond butter.
So he decides to put his foot down. And screams—pretty impressively I must admit—directly in my face:
“MOMMY! Look at ME!! LOOK AT ME!!!!!!! SMOOOOOTHIE!!”
So like any rational mother (complete sarcasm) I scream back into HIS face, “STOP SCREAMING AT ME!!!”
He screams at the top of his lungs, as do I, and he says he’s scared of lions (what he says when he gets scolded, so imagine the size of this lion)
I yell back that –so am I, I’M SCARED OF LIONS, TOO!
Not my proudest moment.
At this point Grandpa thinks Mommy has lost her marbles, which he wouldn’t be wrong, but what most people seem to fail to know is the BACKSTORY. No one just starts here, people. They end up here. This is a journey.
Which leads me to my next point.
The next time you see a mom with a screaming toddler (or perhaps she’s the one yelling, herself) and you think she sucks as a mother and woman and you could handle that sooo much better.
When you scoff at the mom who never leaves the house with her kids anymore, and you’re like “What the heck, lady, get a grip.”
When you make snide internal remarks about that woman because she can’t seem to get her life together “JUST because she had a kid.”
Because you really have no idea about any portion of her life or situation just by that 1% of information that led to that judgement.
But more importantly… it’s because THEY are listening.
I don’t know who they are. The universe, God, Jesus, maybe Satan. I think it’s all of them, really.
They are listening. And they will find a way to make you eat every single one of those words, thoughts, and judgements in the most twisted combination. You’re going to get so many spoonfuls of your own medicine that you’re going to gag and cry as your screaming toddler sits behind you in your car. And every memory of your corrosive mean-girl inexperienced pre-baby self (or even mom-self, but at a completely different stage perhaps) she will come flashing before your eyes and you will just know. You’ll know. That you deserve this. You asked for this.
Every time you envisioned yourself as superior—you begged for this.
And then you’ll cry again…because you see this now so clearly and you hate how you once were so awful… and now it’s YOU who feels the stares and you who hears the judgments so loudly in your own head (because those were all things you once whispered about others in years past.)
It’s a twisted game of fate, really.
I’m home now, locked inside the bathroom to hide from the person that I created, the person that I truly adore with all of my heart and soul (which by the way is so confusing when you also hate almost every little thing they have been doing to you lately.) And all I can think to do is warn the others.
The other women. The women just a few steps behind me.
I beg you. Stop the judging and the mom-shaming.
Not even because you want to be like Mother Teresa, no. You need to stop because you are choosing your fate. This I have learned to be true. Learn to lend a hand instead. Ask to help. Give a tender smile. Or just stay out of it! Stop ASSUMING YOU KNOW ANYTHING. And for the love of chocolate, stop assuming that just because kids are cute that they can do no wrong. Because really it is our responsibility to teach them to not be complete uncontrollable monsters in this world, and it starts now. Giving into every demand they have is not going to do it. And maybe them seeing Mommy unravel because of their behavior is actually a good learning lesson— that how we carry ourselves, speak to others, and act, it actually affects people. This is a solid life lesson, you guys. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.
All I’m saying is…if you are walking the same ugly, judgy path that I did, picking apart other living, breathing women drowning in the midst of motherhood….if you think you are so incapable of failing against a 2-3 year old that you can spew out a million thoughts against another mother. Just know dear friend, you are going to pay.
And you are going to be sorry.