Friday, February 01, 2008

game over

Some days I am so disappointed in my mothering. Some days I don't have much of a choice, but I hear the nagging tone bundled in frustration and I feel like an asshole. Today was one of those days, this morning at least.

M to her credit, has been hell on wheels. She's melting down at the slightest thing that doesn't go her way. As I am stepping over her this morning as she's losing her mind for the third time in 15 minutes (you will not wear the freaking princess dress five days in a row to school you will not you will not no way no it's filthy and it's wet and it's just not happening) she's puddled on the floor, alligator tears and I turn to J and say I can't take this anymore, I simply cannot. And I feel bad as I say it, I know it's not true and I can take this and I will take this and it's not even in perspective that much to take but I lose my center and fall from grace.

So we are driving to school and I ask her why, why we can't be on the same team, this one little team that has to bend and flex and give. She grunts and folds her arms, I see her in the mirror. Baby, I say, I really could use your help. I want to be a better mama than this. I am utterly heartfelt and gooey. I mean this. I can almost taste us reaching a paradigm shift right here in the car. I wait, I hope, I hedge my bets for her response.

And she eyes me in the mirror and utters Me too, mama, me too. We should negotiate more so I can get what I want.

And with that I start laughing and you know, holy shit. I might just do better admitting defeat.

49 comments:

Sober Briquette said...

I had a similar conversation in the car this morning, as I begged Fiona to have a talk with her brother about staying in his bed at night, because I am not getting through to him and he is shutting down into a world of "I can't do it" about everything.

Candy said...

I was no better at this when my kids were that age, but now, looking back at it, I ask myself, "Why? Why can't she wear the princess dress to school today?"

I know the answer. It's because it's a reflection on me. But now, 17 years later, it really wasn't about me, at all.

I am still fighting this fight over ridiculous things, but I try to remember to give in more, and stop trying to force what I want my kids to do down their throats, unless it is something life threatening.

Good luck. You'll be just fine :)

cce said...

"Negotiating?" OMG, how old is M? I didn't start using that word until, like, last year, and I'm still not sure I know what it really, really means. That M is a wise one. Watch out!

jen said...

dude, it was negotiation that floored me. i knew it was over. put a fork in me, i'm done.

Annie said...

"negotiate" LOL! We were 15 minutes late for school this morning, for pretty much the same reasons. It's a three year old thing - roll on four (and please, nobody tell me about the 'four year old things' - blissful ignorance suits me fine for now).

PunditMom said...

Why didn't I think of that?!

ms chica said...

I don't think I heard the word negotiate until I moved out of my parent's house..or compromise.

meno said...

Just admit it, she's got your number.

Kyla said...

Oh, that line is CLASSIC. I think that should be the tagline of the 3's. ;)

Karen said...

Jen, she's totally on to you and typically three year olds are geniuses at "negotiation." Sounds like she is typical - and sounds like you are, as well.

I try to have the discussion about mommy's special inside rubberband - just like a real rubberband mommy is very, very flexible, but then suddenly, if you pull her inside rubberband too, too far - pop! (that is the sound of mommy melting down. we tried to pick an innocuous word so that mommy having, you know, human feelings isn't too appallingly frightening.) It is true, we'd rather avoid the "pop" - but after all, it is only a "pop" and then we try again.

My husband is more likely to come out with the warning of "first the wind, then the storm." He's trying to get them all in the habit of being self-aware, to know when they are pushing us too far - so they can stop when they feel the breeze and not need the thunder to clue them in that we can only take so much.

Long comment to say, it's a big boat and we are all in it together. Here's to calm skies and smooth sailing, friend.

Family Adventure said...

Because you are such a saint, Jen, (and I know your spitting out your coffee now) when it comes to what you do for a living, is it bad that I get a bit of guilty pleasure out of the fact that your daughter is just like all the other kids out there?!

Except smarter, of course. And prettier, and more princess-like. But she still wants her own way, and that's something I can totally relate to! :)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Heidi

Family Adventure said...

your = you're.

It's late in Norway. What can I say??

KC said...

she said that? Damn.

I had another throwing fit the other day - this time, I threw a glove in frustration after she coughed deliberately in my face.

My anger was palpable.

Um, yeah.

Julie Pippert said...

Oh LOL...I listen to your THREE stories and think, we need a support network for moms of 3s.

This post wasn't just relating to me, it was me!

Not exact words but close enough on some day.

Oh bless you (in the real, the nice way, not the Southern way) for telling these moments too.

At least I am in good company.

Karen Forest said...

I love this.

She is obviously your child. Negotiate. WOW. I'm impressed.

Kids are funny.

Deezee said...

I so want to use M's line. Sheer brilliance.

Loralee Choate said...

Yup. I would have waved the big white flag at "Negotiate".

HEE.

P.S.
I can also say with certainty that I would have wanted to wear the princess dress six days in a row, too!

kristen said...

standing shoulder to shoulder with you in the mothering department dude. xo

Beck said...

I think it does children NO HARM to see their parents get frustrated sometimes, because it's good to know that certain behaviours piss people off. On the other hand, if you're feeling like a jerk much of the time...
(secondhand shops almost always have fluffy princess dresses - it might be a sanity saver to get another one.)

Anjali said...

The girls were hellions the first 6 months of 3. It made terrible twos feel like a vacation.

Here's hoping you can keep at least a little bit of your sanity until the worst is over...

carrie said...

She actually said "negotiate?" That right there tells me you're doing a pretty bang up job in the parenting department. Those are some powerful words she speaks! :)

Now, why doesn't this work with my unruly kids?

Magpie said...

Oh, you've got a good one there. She'd get along splendidly with mine!

nyjlm said...

yep. three almost killed me. three is a bitch. Cling to the fact that these 3's are going to grow up into some kick-ass adults- I'm telling you, it was my mantra.
Here's my new mantra: when I'm thinking I can't stand this, I say I can stand it. I read it in a book called, gasp, Mommy Mantras, and I have to say it helps. If you remember ; 0

Omaha Mama said...

I've realized recently that if I just giggle at my little girl's hard-headedness that I'm not nearly so pissed. I don't know how good of an idea this is, but I'm so much less pissed.
Your story really made me laugh. It's so much like what my little B would say. (She's the one who wants everyone to obey what's in her head.)

Little Monkies said...

I've had many an experience where I've humbled myself (bigtime) because I've gotten pissed or frustrated or snappy...and tried to apologize and make a better agreement...only to have my Monkey basically do the same thing as M. Smart little buggers. I love them, but damn are they a pain sometimes.

But I do think she's gonna rock the house when she's your age. We don't get to enjoy it until then, but that's what grandchildren are for.

Hugs.

Blog Antagonist said...

Oh God, don't kill me but I giggled. She sounds very....determined. That's a good thing, as my son's therapist has pointed out to me, time and time, and time again. "B.A...." she says to me, "There ain't a celebrity, or a politician, or a pulitzer prize winner alive or dead who wasn't a complete and total pain in the ass as a kid."

It helps.

cathy said...

ohmygosh... you're right... we have the same kid. freaky.

kgirl said...

Smart cookie. They're sometimes the hardest ones to deal with. Hope less frustrating days are ahead. Because then I can have hope too.

deb said...

They are evil little wankers sometimes, aren't they?

flutter said...

Oh, you are toast.

thordora said...

Awesome. They always save those up for when you REALLY need a laugh too.

Ros is frustrating like this. Thankfully, she resuming cuteness over annoyance once more (thank FSM....)

Kelly said...

Oh boy, I SOOOOO get this. Sometimes I think it's their unintentional humor that keeps us going, so we can weather the storm.

mamatulip said...

It's always when the kids are in bed that I sit on the couch and replay my mothering throughout the day and count the asshole moments.

Battles. It's about picking them. Which things you're willing to fight them on and which things you're willing to let them have. Although sometimes that ebb and flow gets a bit wonky at times.

Bon said...

laughing with you and shaking my head. friend, sounds like somebody needs some legal representation to tangle with that young mind.

she's gorgeous though, in all the glory of that will.

and me? just happy we're still stuck in monosyllables around here. i ain't tough enough for three, yet.

Gwen said...

Can I be the last to say LOL?

Okay, LOL, then.

Christine said...

it was a good thing--this talking it out. really, as funny, as it sounds she'll always know that you respect her. and not all parents respect their kids. we have to be in charge, have rules, and enforce them, but we also have to listen to our little charges.

you're a very good mama.



Running on empty

wheelsonthebus said...

We ALL feel that way sometimes. And, kids are so good and working with our guilt!

Emily

ewe are here said...

I want to be a better mom, too. And I think the fact that we talk about wanting to be better moms speaks volumes, and I don't think any of us are doing as poorly as we sometimes think we are. Because we're all trying so darn hard to do better, and I don't think our starting places are that bad from what I'm reading.

gumdropsandbubblethoughts said...

Don't feel so bad, Jen. All mom's feel that way sometime, I do.

But I must give it to M for being so smart. She got you there! :D

crazymumma said...

Losing centre and falling from grace.

yeah. I know that position all too well.

How old is she? And she used the word negotiate? Oh man. Watch out world.

Janet said...

I'm impressed at her use of the word 'negotiable.'

This mothering gig is hard. I just get feeling like I have it figured out, then my toddler crosses her arms, sticks out her lips and digs in for the good fight. Give me strength.

Ally said...

Oh Jen, you are screwed. What a little rock star M is. Oy!

I get what you're saying, too, oh do I ever. Days when you feel like the biggest jerk ever... that's when I tell Tobin, "if you need me, I'll be at Murphy's" (the pub down the street). And then I mentally walk out. Phew.

anna said...

Nah, you just have to stop thinking in the language of war. There is no victory in parenting, and no defeat either. And when you care enough to feel, now and then, like an utter and complete failure, you are bound to be doing a good-enough job.

lildb said...

Damn, Jen, it's just how I've been feeling. Rife with sympathy for your situation just now. Uh, empathy. Whatever. You can dig it.

Uh, bathically, though, babe, your Miss M is obviously dressed in some Smarty Pants underneath that princess-y exterior.

I wish you all the luck in the world, coupled with your obvious brilliance (she gets it from somewhere).

Wow.

The Expatriate Chef said...

Had a similar meltdown over the waiting to go potty until after lights were out. I'm thinking, what am I doing? This is so not good mom. These little ones, they shape us slowly, they do.

Oh, The Joys said...

Ah, sister... as you know, The Mayor is right there too. We are doing a lot of stepping over him too as all the "experts" say not to give the tantrums any uptake, but JEEBUS H.!!

bgirl said...

oh the relief i feel in reading this. man do i have those moments. it's amazing to me someone so small is so incredibly clever! if i had half their wits i tell ya.

thanks for the humor :)

luckyzmom said...

You can't expect children to respond in an adult manner, though M came close.

nomotherearth said...

She's no fool, that one.

I've been feeling like a jerky mamma a lot of the time lately. I must do something to try to change that. Being tired is affecting me more than I would like.