This was my “rainy day” post from BethFishRead’s Bloggiesta mini-challenge… Enjoy :-)
When it comes to children… especially when they’re your own and you can’t drive them out to the country and dump them because they know their addresses and how to get home… sometimes SANITY is a battle ground, and I feel like I’m battling them for it. AND, I’m losing.
First off, the odds aren’t in my favor. There are THREE of them and ONE of me. Then you gotta add the 3 cats and the dog to that number, because they tease each other with the pets… “Look Maggie, your cat loves me more than you” wait for it “MOOOOOOOM!!!! Maggie hit me!” Well, the math adds up to 374 of them to the half-wit ME.
Seriously, I used to have brains. I did. I once took the Mensa test and was well above the entry number. My IQ, last I checked, is 168. But see, that was before kids. Nowadays, I’d be shocked if I could beat out a bunch of Broccoli in a game of Boggle. My mom always said, “Insanity is hereditary… you get it from your kids!” And the older they get, the more I realize she’s RIGHT.
I watched a program on PBS about negative emotions the other day… okay, I just watched a segment of the show while COPS was on commercial break, but still… and they said that negative emotions like stress and fear burn memories deeply into your psyche. That’s why everyone remembers where they were on the morning of September 11, 2001, but few remember what they were doing on September 10th, the day before. It is ALSO why my mom STILL remembers EVERYTHING I EVER did as a kid, and points out that “Paybacks are a BITCH!” whenever I’m word-vomitting what dastardly deeds the girls have been up to lately.
Really, I began to understand what my actual role as a parent was when Sam and Gwen were about 7 and 8. We had went to the mall and had stopped into the store where a friend worked. Because I was engaged in adult conversation, and because I had taken longer than the generous minute and a half they allowed for such foolishness, the girls began to get antsy and started running around the store. After a few loud rounds of “THWACK! Mom! She hit me!”, I made them sit in time out and confined each of them to their own tile square on the floor. That I hadn’t set them far enough apart soon became evident when their arguing and tattling reached my ears. And what were they fighting over now? A piece of tracked in DIRT. DIRT! My darling dimpled dears were debating the ownership of a clod of DIRT!
So what role did I discover I was truly filling?
Wild animal handler. I’m just here to make sure they don’t get loose and annoy the public. I feed them, clean their cage and try to learn ’em some manners, but mostly, I’m crowd control.
OH, and I used to hear or read the statistics that some parents only spend about 3 minutes of quality time conversing with their children and I’d think “How horrible! What terrible and selfish parents can’t make time for their kids?!” THEN I got teenagers and NOW I think, “GOOD GAWD! 3 minutes?! They deserve an award! At least a medal for bravery!”