Sunday, July 31, 2011

Out of Control

It's days like these, or maybe even months, where at the end of my day I bring out my BIG wine glass, lean my elbows on the table with the palms of my hands painfully pushing into my eye sockets and wonder if I ever was IN control in the first place. And if I was, where the hell did I put it?!

My children have mutated when I wasn't looking. I think it's the summer overdose of vitamin D, but no website I've looked into supports my hypothesis. But theoretically, it COULD be true. Do you have any idea of incredibly impossible it is to explain to a 4-year-old that although it's as bright out as it was at lunchtime, it's actually an hour past his bedtime? Believe me, I've often wondered how much damage I have done when I've thrown up my hands, given up putting them back in bed for the fourth time and allowed them to watch TV until they fall asleep, leaving them sleep deprived by a good 3 hours short of what "experts" recommend my children should have for a good night's sleep. For Pete's sake, I could be promoting psycho-killer tendencies!

Can it be that my intense, every-minute-accounted-for timetable only allows me a diet of coffee, diet Coke, Red Vine licorice and wheat thins? It's a good possibility.

I cannot and will not take my children to public places or to visit friends unless I absolutely have to. I swear they have an uncanny sense to know when the extent of mommy's discipline is severely dimensioned by being in the presence of witnesses other people. But on the flip-side, maybe it's this lack of exposing them to these situations that's hampering their ability to cope? Yeah, right. It's damaged my social life beyond repair...and theirs.

Example: Our neighbors sit outside, have drinks and sometimes food and visit with one another. They have always extended an open invitation for me to join them. I can't. I sometimes stand in my driveway and gaze longingly at the tight-knit little group, so wanting to go over for conversation and laughs. But if I do, it means the kids will follow. I want to relax. I can't carry on a decent conversation, because I'm constantly doing the terminator scan to make sure they aren't doing something they shouldn't be. They're loud, they interrupt, they tease the dogs, they touch things they're not supposed to, they fight with each other and every five minutes, need me to walk them back down to our house for some reason.

How do other parents do it? I see parents out taking a walk with their kids in tow, and not one of them is pushing the other off the sidewalk or trying to run each other over with their bicycles. Other children do chores without complaint. I ask mine to pick up their Popsicle wrapper off of the living room floor and he collapses like a puppet whose strings have been cut and complains that his legs "hurt because he's growing," and how dare I ask him to scoop up the wrapper and carry it WAY OVER THERE to the garbage can? When I do not back down, he will literally, drag himself across the floor using only his a scene from some black and white army movie, to throw it away.

They ask me every. two. minutes. when lunch is ready, but only take two bites before announcing they're full and evaporate from the table before putting away the dishes. I drag them back to the table, hoping not to pull their arm out of the socket and ignoring their sobbing as I ask them to put their dishes in the dishwasher. Good lord, it's 2 ft. from the table!!

I've tried everything. I've thought that maybe I was being too lenient, that I need to pick my battles. But more often than not, that lead to being ignored completely. So I stepped it up. I threatened. I took away video games, TV time, dessert, and (avoid eye contact) taking away a birthday. What? I was desperate! I'll admit it, there have been days that I've lost complete control of myself, told them they were rotten kids, that they didn't love me or they would try harder to be good. Come on, we've all said things we've regretted...right? (Please say yes.) I've had Shawn threaten them with a belt (not that we'd use it, but a good slap on the table can serve as motivation sometimes.) My "motivation" growing up was the flyswatter.

I've gone the other route too, trying to bribe them into good behavior by a reward system. They forget about it after two days. OR if they do get their reward, they complain it wasn't what they had wanted, they didn't get enough and we're right back where we started.

I've had more than my fair share of whining. Oh my gosh, that HAS to be the worst! That high-pitched babbling accompanied by tears, I can't understand a word that's being said, and honestly don't care, because it usually has to do with some horrible injustice one has inflicted on the one brother saying the other farted when he didn't. The world is going to end because HE is SOOO mean! The bullying, the lying, the screaming, crying, hitting, tantrums, spitting, kicking, scratching....IT HAS TO END!

You'd think after 7 years, I'd know what to do, but I don't. I sometimes look back on my day and shake my head...they're children. Okay, they're not perfect, but I love them, they are my whole world, I'd die for them in a heartbeat. They really are brilliant, they make me laugh, push me outside of my comfort zone in order to be a better person for them. Am I a horrible parent? No lie...sometimes I am, but they shape me as much as I shape them. I have to realize that they don't understand how much I sacrifice, how hard it is to balance school with their one on one time, and how hard our every day life can be. I only hope that when they're older, they won't remember the bad days. Maybe I expect too much...but it's only because I can see what beautiful people they are. Frustration? Absolutely. But they have their moments that make my heart sing and burst with pride.

I admire my mother-in-law more than you can imagine, because she raised six boys. SIX BOYS?! What the hell? I need to take notes.

I just have to hope that everything will balance out in the end...the good days and the bad days. Do I have my hands full? Probably more than most, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.


  1. I have had two boys and I have raised two girls. If it is ANY conselation, I'DE TAKE MY BOYS ANYDAY OVER THE GIRLS (though you know I lvoe them all equally!!) But the girls challenge you in a different way,, drama, a mental challenge and I found that FAR more exhausting
    Not to dismiss your share here!! Summer can be both exhilarating and overwhelming at the same time. School days are soon upon us!!!
    YOU'RE A GREAT MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. This too shall pass - well that's what I tell myself EVERY. Single. Night.
    One day we will WISH for this kind of behaviour - right??