I’m a mother. And, like most mothers, I love my children to pieces. My kids, like most kids, are terrific and challenging on a level I didn’t previously know existed.
I spent most of my night up with a sick kiddo. I found my mind wandering in the early pre-dawn hours to all of the wonderfully terrible things I hear on a semi-regular basis. I imagine most parents can relate.
There are two things worse than hearing your precious angel unleash her dinner in a dramatic fashion:
A. Hearing your partner snore, blissfully unaware, next to you in bed, and
B. Knowing with sickening certainty that your darling did not manage to hit the proper waste-intended receptacle.
2. “Not me.”
Ah, “Not me,” that sneaky little punk.
The majority of wrong-doing in my house is performed by “Not me.” Who spilled the milk? “Not me.” Who put peanut butter on the cat? “Not me.” Who shoved cheese in the Blu-ray player? You guessed it.
3. “Don’t tell Mom.”
My children are all of the age where they should know better. Should. They’re also all of an age where they’re getting sneakier — or at least they think they are. It’s difficult to hide a three-foot mural colored on the wall in Sharpie. Apparently.
4. “Mom’s coming!”
Let me be totally serious for a second: There have been times when I’ve turned around and left the room upon hearing this phrase. Some visceral part of my consciousness knew I was not emotionally prepared to deal with whatever disaster was waiting for me. As opposed to…
5. [Total silence.]
… when I take the stairs by two. Someone has stopped breathing; Kid 1 has knocked Kid 2 unconscious; a kidnapper has stolen my babies — something. In my conservative estimation, total silence during waking hours is a bad thing 97 percent of the time.
Rule of thumb: The smaller the “oops,” the bigger the bottle of wine you’re going to need after dealing with it.
7. “I love Daddy more.”
Yeah. You know, I love silence more sometimes, you little punk. Just kidding, snookums, here’s a lollipop. And 10 bucks.
8. “Emma’s mom took us to the zoo. And made us saltwater taffy. And knitted us afghans.”
There can be some serious mom competition going on around the playground, and we moms sometimes have a tendency to get wrapped up in the one-upping. Birthday parties are a good example. Goody bags (god I hate goody bags). Playdates.
Nothing says “Cage Match” like my 7-year-old telling me another mom is better than me. My typical response to such blasphemy is to maturely take the high road, à la, “WELL THEN MAYBE YOU SHOULD GO LIVE WITH EMMA’S MOM.”
I’m not talking about typical conversational negatories. I’m referring to the all-out fiery-eyed defiance that every parent has encountered at least once. It smacks of a stalemate and leaves you with two equally crappy options:
A. Follow through with the ridiculously overblown threat you bluffed moments earlier in an ill-prepared flash of brilliance, or
B. Fold, plain and simple, and get used to being your 5-year-old’s b*tch.
10. “Mom MOM mom mom Mom MOM….”
It’s a wonder any of us remembers we have actual names at all after having kids. My children call to me so often it has soaked deep into my psyche. Now I can’t go anywhere — not a single destination — without turning to find my tribe when I hear a child, any child, say “Mom.” It doesn’t matter if my kids are with me. It doesn’t matter if I’m at the store, the library, work. If I hear someone say that word, I seek out my child.