Sometimes I wish my kids would be, for me at home, the kids they are at school. No attitude. Listen well. Play well with others. At home my two boys can challenge any 16 year old for attitude. They listen so well that I near break a blood vessel in my neck every time I try to get them to brush their teeth. And play well together? Sure, if playing together involves throwing punches and insults. I guess at school they are on their best behavior and once they are at home they unleash the lions. But the truth is, I would rather it that way (than the opposite).
I recently read an article on Facebook about how children are the most misbehaved around their Mother. Because I read it on Facebook, it MUST be true 😉 I do believe it though. How many times does Nanny say ‘they were excellent, didn’t make a sound!’ Even the lady at the after-school program told me they play so well together. One day she said they cuddled and read a book. I cracked up laughing until I realized she wasn’t joking. She said they are a solid 10/10. 10 out of 10. By 8:34am Saturday morning they are a mere 5/10 for me. So why do I get the shitty end of the stick? Not all the time of course, but some of the time. It simply doesn’t seem fair that other people consistently get my children at their best.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have bad kids. They are good kids, kind, funny and thoughtful. It’s just that they are, well, kids and they are loud and they are temperamental and full of emotion they aren’t sure how to handle. At times, they are so sweet it melts my heart. To me and to others. Aiden told a stranger the other day at a gas station that he really liked what she had done to her hair. She smiled from ear to ear and told him that she made his day (and told me to look out because he’s going to be quite the charmer with the ladies). He was beaming for making her so happy. He then proceeded to tell me that I should really try to do my hair like hers. Sorry love, I’ll never be a blonde.
Camryn is full of character. The kid is full of spunk and has no problem twerking in the middle of Walmart. He could make any crotchety old man smile I’m sure. Just the other day when he thought I was asleep he leaned down to kiss my forehead and said “You’re so boo-tiful, mommy’ and walked away. ‘You are L-O-V-E, mommy’, he says 100 times a day. Aiden told me he’d never be able to live in this world without me. He also told me I had the best singing voice he’s ever heard. And even though I know he must be partially deaf (I sound like a tortured cat), he said it because he wanted me to know that he loves the sound of my voice.
So that’s why it blows my mind how they can flip a switch and within a millisecond go from Jekyll to Hyde. How I love you turns to I hate you. How you’re the best mommy in the world becomes you’re the worst. It’s hard on the head and even worse on the heart when your kids say things they don’t really mean simply because they are so full of emotion they don’t know how to deal. Or they don’t get their own way. I’m trying to teach them early that words have power. That once you say something, you can never truly take it back, no matter how many times you apologize.
I’ve come to figure out……or at least this is what I’ve been told by a professional child counsellor- that my kids lash out at me because I am their safe place. They know that no matter what they do or say to me, I will love them. I won’t ever leave them. So I should be honored, what an accomplishment! Sounds so amazing and honestly brings a tear to my eye…… until one or both children are freaking out because I said no to the ipad, or causing me so much stress I check nightly for grey’s (that have yet to appear). I’m the one who ends up in tears feeling utterly defeated. It doesn’t feel so warm and fuzzy then.
No matter how much of a safe place I am, I want my kids to respect me. I want them to be nice, kind people both at school AND at home, but if I let them act out and throw tantrums as a way of expressing their emotions and not say a word, I’m doing myself and them a disservice. It’s a fine line. A line that happens to be drawn in chaulk and peed on by the neighborhood dog. It’s hard. And I feel like I’m the only parent in the world struggling with this. Ding ding. Tag, I’m IT.
But I take the good with the bad and just hope that at the end of the day, I am not royally messing them up by yelling too much, or crying too much, or nagging too much or disciplining too much. Or not enough. For every fight we have, there’s a tickle fight. For every tear, there’s a smile. There are dance competitions and games of charades, just like there are time outs. Because of this, I can’t help but think of something that was said recently on one of my favorite shows, This is Us:
“All you can do, as a parent, is try to pack the days with as much good stuff as possible and hope that it outweighs the bad. You hope that the good stuff sticks”.
I hope that the good stuff is glue. I hope that I’m the glue.