It was just one of those days. You’ve been there before. I know you can relate.
Rushed home from work, took the kids to the soccer game, rushed home, rushed through baths, a blur of fussing and fighting and everyone just getting on my nerves. We had all finally settled down in the bottom bunkbed in the eldest’s room -which the youngest sleeps in and then kicks him out every night and makes him sleep in her pink/green room. We had stopped reading the previous night around chapter 5 of one of the Captain Underpants books. I picked up the book and started to read our favorite bedtime series to my still-too wound up children.
Let me set the scene: George and Harold, the 9 year old heroes of the book had gotten in trouble again. They had replaced a normal cupcake recipe with one that would ensure a science fair-like volcanic eruption. Unbeknownst to them, the lunch ladies decided to increase the recipe 100 fold and make cupcakes for the entire student body. After mixing the ingredients together, the result was an epic green glob that enveloped the whole school. The lunch ladies had had enough of those boys. The lunch ladies said, “I quit!” and collectively walked out.
I had an epiphany. Sometimes I feel like I want to say, “I quit!” In the moments when no one is listening to what I say, they do exactly what I said not to, they tell me “no,” act disrespectful, sassy or rude, I just want to throw my hands up in the air and say fine you win, I quit!
Now that I finally had their attention, I closed the book for a moment and said to my kids, “Hey guys, have you ever thought what would happen if mommy just said one day, I quit?” I went on to explain that their behavior that evening was not acceptable much like George and Harold’s and sometimes I just get fed up. Here were their answers.
- no clean clothes
- no food in the fridge
- no lunches made for school
- the house would be a mess
- daddy would just sit on the couch all the time
- who would clean the cat litter?
- no books before bedtime
- who would give us baths?
- who would drive us to school?
And then something really weird happened. They both started crying. Oh shit. That was not my intention. I just broke my children! It’s like when I watched Bambi at the age of 5. Mommy’s go away? Mommy’s die? They just pictured me dying, leaving them, abandoning them. All I wanted was for them to realize how much I do and APPRECIATE it. Just a little. Show me some respect. You know, just a little more.
And by the way, I really don’t do ALL of that. I have a mom, a dad, mother and father in law, and my husband. They do A LOT. I just try to take all the credit. And use it to guilt my children into behaving, but maybe I ended up feeling a little guilty myself.