Rants in my Pants
For example, something that I knew would be expected of me when I became a mother is that I become a giving person. Good-bye selfish person, hello nurturer. But I'm not sure if I realized to what extent I would have to be a giver. Give, give, give. Every minute of every day is filled with catering to the needs of others. And not just others who are my children. Oh, no. That would be too easy. No, sometimes it seems that every other person we encounter in our daily meanderings through our already challenging life together has expectations of me, my kids, and my mothering that results in me giving, me trying to please, and me invariably failing in these missions.
For example, who doesn't love a well-behaved child? You know the kind I'm talking about. In public, they sit quietly, don't make a fuss, and basically adhere to that old adage that children should be seen and not heard. In cafes, they don't run around in a way that's distracting to the patrons. They are perfect. And they are mythological creatures. The stuff of legends passed around by generations of well-meaning people to describe the ideal child, the child to which your child should aspire to be more like. The child that doesn't exist.
And even though people love a well-behaved child, they don't necessarily enjoy bearing witness to the upbringing of said well-behaved child. And that's what annoys me at this point in time. I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't. If I take my kids into a cafe and let them run around unchecked, I get the looks and stares from the other patrons. If I take my kids into a cafe and constantly monitor their behavior with a running commentary, I get the looks and stares from the other patrons. Emily, sit, please. Thomas, please pick up that bagel from the floor. Emily, I asked you nicely to sit in your seat. Those breakable knick knacks are not for touching. Emily! Sit right here or we will have to go. Thomas, your juice is spilling, please hold your cup upright. Thank you for asking nicely for the banana. Emily, leave the straw in the chocolate milk; it's dripping all over the chair. Thomas, get back here! Would you like some bagel? Okay, the answer is no. Throwing it on the floor is not an appropriate answer. Emily, sit here, PLEASE!
Now, you tell me. Would you rather be distracted by a kid running around and bumping your chair or would you rather be distracted by a constant stream of hissed reprimands coming from a harried mom who sounds like she's schizophrenic and looks like she's about to lose it?
Ya, neither situation sounds appealing to me, either. So is my only option then to keep my children at home until such time that they are old enough to go out in public? And at what age would that be? And how will they ever know how to behave in public if they aren't taught that there's a right way and a wrong way to behave in public? Am I the only mom who actually wants to take her child out into the world with her? Or does SAHM stand for "Stay at Home, Mom?"
And another thing, what is it with these kids?! Why is crying and whining so integral to their personalities? And don't tell me that they're little; I know the truth. This will never end. The general whining now will give way to even more directed whining in the future, and the I want this, I want that, PLLLEEEAASSEEEE syndrome. The crying over the slightest, smallest bump, scrape, hurt feeling, snatched toy, hunger pain, thirst, diaper issue, lack of diaper issue--the list could go on forever--will eventually give way to the crying of two siblings in constant friction with one another: She took my whatever! He touched my this-n-that! Mama! Thomas hit me! Mama! Tell her to give me back my toy of the moment! MAMAAAAAA!
And OMG, the thankless expectations! That there will always be juice.available.now. That bananas will always be in the fruit basket. That snacks are a right and not a privilege. That meals will be served promptly. That somebody else will clean up the bag of goldfish spilled all over the back seat. That it's okay to take your shoes off whenever you feel like it because somebody else will always put them back on your feet before you step on hot pavement. That dragging your blanket on the sidewalk is perfectly acceptable even as it's gathering years of dirt in its fibers. Why should you care? Whenever your blanket is dirty a clean one magically appears to take its place.
My children have been watching T.V. for the twenty minutes it took me to write this. I love T.V.
It's almost three and I'm feeling a little better. Rosa is coming over tonight, and Mike and I are going on a date. I am going to wear non-sensible shoes and drink wine while laughing merrily with other adults. There will be no whining, no crying, and no silent stares from people who have an opinion on the way I mother my children. I can't wait.
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