Being a mom can be SUPER aggravating at times. A lot of the time, in fact. But ever since that terrible day, I have found myself much more patient, tolerant, and grateful. Not to say I don't still go bonkers at times and freak out over stupid stuff. I totally do! But its happening less often. I find fewer things to complain about and more things to be happy about.
Having said that ...writing is my therapy! And I've been thinking lately about a few things I'd love to NEVER do again. That doesn't mean I wish my kids would grow up super fast and move out (they are seriously at the funnest ages right now, I don't want them to grow another inch). I just really do not think I'll miss any of these things when this phase of our lives has passed:
1) Touching anything with pee on it.
Sheets, tiny underpants, jeans .... having to deal with pee'd-up fabric is the WORST. Especially when nobody tells you that they laughed so hard they wet their pants and left them on the floor, and you go around the house picking up dirty laundry when suddenly, without warning, you grab wet pee'd-up denim - and of course the jeans are inside out, with the underpants entwined up in the legs, so you have to get your hands all pee'd-up to turn them around the right way and disentangle the underpants. Or you put someone to bed at night and realize the sheets are STILL WET from the night before, because they didn't tell you they'd accidentally wet the bed. So now where the heck do they sleep, since their bed is all pee'd up? I have put people to bed on dry pee sheets on occasion, I'm not gonna lie. Changing bunk bed sheets is never fun (see item #9 below), especially not at night when you are finally putting the kiddos to bed and looking forward to going to bed yourself. But when the pee sheets are still wet, off to the couch the kid goes.
Also, I am tired of scrubbing pee from toilet seats & bases, floors, and nearby walls. Being female, I obviously have no idea what its like to aim. But to look at our toilet areas, it must be impossible. I've spent hours teaching people how to simply grab a wad of TP and wipe the seat down. "If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie and wipe the seatie!" "That's silly, Mommy." Apparently Silly Rhymes About Peeing go in one ear and out the other.
2) Making dinner.
I seriously hate making dinner. I hate thinking of what to make. I hate talking people into eating. I hate being told "I don't like this" or "I'm a vegetarian." A vegetarian who eats nuggets, burgers, and bacon? Well that's a new one. Or being asked "is this all we're having?" or "where did you find this recipe?" or "what's in this?" The kids and I would be happy having 'dang kay-sa-dillas' or cereal for dinner. But when you are trying to raise your kids to be normal people who function properly and feel like they have some semblance of a regular routine, dinner is a necessary evil. Especially when I'm on a 'program' which requires certain amounts of food at certain times, ugh! And when I have a husband who likes to come home to dinner after being gone for 12 hours. What's up with that!? ;)
3) Doing anything that requires use of a baby wipe.
My boys are obviously both potty trained. But we keep wipes around. And the only time you really need a baby wipe means its something gross. Which brings me to:
4) Cleaning Mystery Stickies from between the couch cushions.
Its the worst to sit down on a leather sofa and hear a peeling, sticky noise as the cushions separate. What is it, and why is it making that noise? How long has it been there? Do I really HAVE to put my hand (or worse, my nose) down there and investigate? Did someone sleep here recently and pee (see item #1 regarding pee sheets requiring a night on the couch)? Will this Mystery Sticky require a baby wipe, or will a damp paper towel do??
5) Stepping on Legos.
No description needed.
6) Dealing with puke.
Not sure why I saved this for #6. Barf is the worst! One time my kid who sleeps in the top bunk sat up and puked popcorn all over the wall in the middle of the night. It slid down to the floor. Behind the bunk bed and onto the lower bunk, where Brother slept, oblivous to puke on his bedding. Nothing like cleaning an entire wall and floor, and dismantling a bunk bed in the middle of the night. For a moment I had a feeling of despair: "I think we might have to move." The mess was so bad, I didn't know where to start. Another time I was changing my kid's shirt when he projectile barfed all over me. After he'd had three giant dill pickles. All over my chest and down my shirt. Rotten relish in my bra, people. Unforgettable. But I think the absolute worst is when kids are still nursing, and they get sick and barf. Rotten breast milk cottage cheese. Nothing compares.
7) Arguing & Reasoning.
Oh my word. The arguing!! Why do things need to be explained? Why can't you just listen BECAUSEISAIDSO?! Obviously I have a reason for what I am telling you. I am not being mean for the fun of it, or because I want to make your life boring. "I am trying to help you grow up to be a good person." "But I don't wanna be a PERSON!!" Granted, a lot of the arguing is my fault. I'm sure there are better ways to explain things. But I am not one of those patient moms who gets down at eye level and quietly explains things in simple, kid-friendly language. For some dumb reason I just expect to be listened to the first time, because I am the Mom and I said so! if you have a question about what I am telling you, ask me later, or at least after you've done what I told you to do! [Listening The First Time is actually a sticker-earner on one of my boys' chore charts. I'll share the charts another time.]
The other day I was at Trader Joe's and there was a very granola mom with a little kid in her cart and an older kid pushing one of the kid-size carts. The mom one of those happy, oblivious people who has no clue what her kids are doing, and doesn't seem to care. She was actually singing loudly while she shopped. Anyway, she and her kid with the little cart were blocking the whole aisle. I needed to grab something on the shelf right behind them. The mom spent a really, really long time gently explaining to her kid that he needed to scoot along because there were people trying to get through. He was in his own world and didn't seem to hear a word she said. She made no effort to physically move him, but just kept explaining. I could have finished all my shopping in the amount of time it took her to quietly, mildly, nicely instruct her kid on grocery store etiquette. But I was so transfixed by her insane amounts of patience that I just stood there staring. My boys did too - they probably thought she was such a nice, smart mommy. Moms like that amaze me; I don't get how they can be so patient! I just TELL MY KIDS WHAT TO DO. And if they need to be physically (gently!) moved, I do it. I would NEVER hold up someone shopping because I wanted to spend three minutes explaining to my kid how to move and why. I would say "whoopsies, watch out Buddy, someone needs to get through" and if my kid didn't move promptly, I would gently move them out of the way. I'm not trying to be my kid's friend. I don't worry about crushing their spirit by telling them what to do when needed - isn't that our job as parents to teach them what is expected, especially out in public where we need to be Christian and put others first? Maybe that makes me a bad mom, and maybe that's why I feel like I am constantly arguing and explaining - because I don't spend the time to patiently, quietly, nicely teach life lessons as they come up.
8) Disagreeing about house rules.
Does anyone else do this too? I guess it comes with the territory of having a different background and childhood than your spouse. Here's an example: I'm cool with food and drinks around the house, within reason of course. I want to have a home where people don't feel like they have to use a coaster or can't put their feet up; this includes my kids and their friends. Juston is super hospitable when it comes to grown-ups, but he has different ideas of what the kids can have, and where. This causes constant conversations and sometimes a bit of bickering. I figure if something doesn't stain or eventually become rancid, it can be eaten anywhere! Crumbs can be vacuumed. Mystery Stickies can be wiped from leather (see item #4, above - it may not be fun, but it doesn't technically RUIN anything). That's why we have hardwood floors and leather furniture, right? Yes, you can have a Popsicle on Mommy's bed, but not on the carpet. Bedding = washable. Carpet = not so much. Yes, you can have pizza or veggies & dip in the rec room, but you have to eat on a blanket like a picnic. Blanket = washable. Carpet = not. Yes, you can eat in the car. Car = wipeable and vacuumable. Gum is the only thing I'm not cool with.
Juston doesn't particularly love that I allow the kids to do this kind of stuff. But I figure, I'm the one who is home all day to enforce the rules. I'm the one who cleans up the messes. If I felt our house/vehicle was so disgusting I was embarrassed to have people see it, I would change the rules for sure. So why can't my way of doing things apply in this area? But I'm sure he feels, I work hard all day to pay for this house and the cleaning supplies and the electricity to constantly run the vacuum, and I'd like it not to look like a bag of rice cakes exploded in here. I do see his point. So I think I just really need to work on my wifely submission in this area. Are we the only family who has this problem with house rules?
9) Bunk beds - UGH!
Changing sheets on the bunk bed is probably my least favorite chore of all time. When people go to buy bunk beds, a prerequisite to purchasing should be changing the sheets on the top bunk. And a 25% discount for changing pee'd-up ones! But first you must have a tummy full of a spicy dinner, or a horrible headache, or be exhausted from a day of mommying/service/volunteering at school/chores/pee laundry, etc., or be completely gimped from killing it at the gym. And THEN change the sheets on the TOP bunk. With stickers on the ceiling to get your hair caught in - don't forget that part. If changing top bunk bedding was a prerequisite to purchasing, nobody would ever buy a stupid bunk bed again, I guarantee it. That's why they never tell you what a PAIN it is when you buy a bunk bed. My mom tried to warn me. But I didn't listen, of course. "Oh, the boys are going to share a room, we're getting a bunk bed, its gonna be so CUTE and FUN! Little boys in bunk beds, I've always dreamed of it!" WRONG. Bunk beds create annoyance, numerous times per week. See item #1 regarding pee'd up sheets, and item #6 regarding a 7-foot-long trail of hot puke sliding down the wall.
10) Feeling like other moms are doing a better job than I am.
I think comparing yourself to other moms and families is a normal aspect of parenting. And lots of times I do feel pretty good about how we're doing. My kids are friendly, they like to read the Bible, and they love vegetables, for goodness sake!! What more could I ask for?!
But most of the time, I feel like a giant failure, a jerk, and a terrible person. I will get a stomach ache or be up crying at night due to some perceived failing on my part as a mother. And you really have no way of knowing how you're doing until all the kids are grown up and by then the damage is done, and its fairly obvious who had bad parents and who had good ones. And even then, everyone will turn out the way they're gonna turn out - some kids rise above and some are just losers no matter what, so why even bother worrying or comparing? Just do your best and commend other moms for doing the same. And if your kids seem to be happy and functioning properly, then just tell yourself you are doing a great job and waste no more time comparing.
So, what would you love to NEVER do again??