…and Mommy Loses Her Cool

14 Apr

Many years ago, before Tim and James, a co-worker told me that
getting through the morning routine was at times so frustrating that, though
she loved her son dearly, she was tempted to put him in the microwave along
with her morning coffee. I know she was joking, but secretly I was shocked. I righteously
vowed that that if I ever had children things would NEVER get so out of hand
that I would EVER contemplate doing something so horrible.

Getting everyone out the door every morning is my chore. I have to
get myself up, my reluctant son up, and even more reluctant husband up, get all
of us dressed, hair done, teeth brushed, glasses on faces, animals fed, cereal
in cups, vitamins swallowed, out the door into the car, kid dropped off, and to
work on time.

This process can be a goat rodeo.  Yesterday was exceptionally goatish.

James has been pretty sick: pink-eye, fever of 104, cough, rivers
of snot. He was sufficiently recovered to return to school, but he’d had two
days at home, and like a tiny junkie, he was jonesing for more. His mood from
the moment he stumbled out of bed was foul.

He’d been dragging his feet and whining all morning. I’d tried
patience, reasoning, hugs, sage words of wisdom, gentle reprimands, but he was
having none of it. His desperation increased and by the time we’d arrived at
the putting on of the shoes, he was firing every excuse he could think of at me
like missiles.

He stood in the kitchen one shoe on, one shoe in hand, shoulders
hunched, face blotchy, eyes swollen, furious. He sobbed “everyone at
school bothers me, I can’t play with anyone because they all copy, I can’t
defend myself, kick…or…sob…punch…or…or…sniffle…use
Aikido because teacher Nancy said so…….breakfast doesn’t….sob….taste
good.  I’ll have to take a nap Michael LOOKS

He ran out air, and as he paused to breathe I whipped out the old
standby, an imminent loss of privileges using the quiet, bone-chilling mom
voice of doom. He wiped his nose on his sleeve (nice where’d he learn that?)
calmly asked if losing privileges included TV and games or just TV, then turned
the waterworks back on and started in with the rapid-fire list of issues.

I lost my ever lovin’ mind. Without the customary three count, TV
and games for the evening were gone, and if he DIDN’T SHAPE UP THIS INSTANT he
could kiss tomorrow’s privileges goodbye, and the day after that too. His
beloved privileges were gone until next week for all I cared.

He crossed his arms and glared at me. We warily eyed each other,
calculating our next moves in stony silence. He had no idea how badly I wanted
to snatch is little butt up and give him the spanking of a lifetime, or maybe a
slap, or whatever, anything to get him to wipe that look off his face and

He was standing right in front of the microwave.

The contest of wills ended then and there.  My next move, and this is so smooth I can scarcely
believe it (hangs head in shame), was to gather my last shreds of
composure, walk to the bathroom and close the door. Yup, I hid. How is that for
demonstrating parenting mastery? It is better than getting physical, but it
still feels like a big fail.

What is it going to be like when James is a teen, taller than me,
and royally pissed because he wants the keys to the car? Thank gawd his father
is tall…and strong.

Hear that son? He can take you. Put that in your pipe and smoke
it! No! stop!  On second thought don’t do
that! I’ll just be here in the bathroom until the dust settles. Knock when it
is over m’kay?


Posted by on April 14, 2011 in Doin', Kid Speak


15 responses to “…and Mommy Loses Her Cool

  1. Gregg

    April 20, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    OMG, I just about did a spit-take with my tea all over my keyboard when I got to the paragraph consisting solely of, “He was standing right in front of the microwave.” Oh, Elizabeth, I feel your pain, but this was so wonderfully written and cracked me right up – just the shift I needed to get my sorry butt back into Budget Reconciliation Land.


  2. Robin

    June 30, 2011 at 2:58 am

    Well, I hope today is much better.

    I’m here today from SITS….and wishing you a beautiful day in the SITS sun.
    Hope it’s great….


  3. Cristina

    June 30, 2011 at 3:41 am

    I’ve soooo been there! Thanks for sharing. IT helps to know I am not the only parent that loses it from time to time. I tell me 3 year old I am putting myself in Time-Out 🙂


  4. Jennifer

    June 30, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Great post! My son is 11 and we still have those spells…and given that I’m only 5’2″, he now is at the same height as me. I make sure to remind him on a daily basis who rules the roost 😉 Ahhh, parenting is such an adventure!


  5. Jennifer Smart

    June 30, 2011 at 5:57 am

    Hi there,
    Oh yes, we all lose it from time to time. I’ve been through the teens & the cold chilling mum voice still works! (Sometimes) They definitely know when you mean business. Be a kind to yourself, you’re a mum not a saint.
    J x
    Enjoy your SITS day.


  6. Grams

    June 30, 2011 at 6:33 am

    I think hiding in the bathroom is the better part of valor. I once picked up a dining room chair and threw it across my living room in the general direction, but well out of reach, of my son. In retrospect hiding would have been a better choice.


  7. Lindsey

    June 30, 2011 at 8:28 am

    You are not the only one who loses her cool. It happens. Happy SITS day!


  8. Jennifer

    June 30, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Mornings are our roughest time of day. NO one wants to get up. NO one wants to get dressed. NO one wants to brush their teeth. NO one wants to put their shoes on. Including me.


  9. Melanie Kushner

    June 30, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Good for you!! A litle quiet time-out was a good way to go:-) My daughter is only 15 months old but she already pushes my buttons at times….looking forward to when she’s a teenager LOL.


  10. My Traveling Troop

    June 30, 2011 at 9:35 am

    I’m a stay at home mom now. But I will NEVER forget how exhausted I would feel sometimes when I got to work in the morning. Getting myself and my daughter dressed, fed and to daycare, plus an hour commute to work was tough. Everyone else probably spent the first couple hours of the morning sipping their coffee! Anyways, kudos to you for having the courage to share this moment in time. And congrats on getting featured on SITS! -Kristina


  11. OneMommy

    June 30, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Hiding sounds good to me! I too often open my mouth and say things I regret minutes later. They just know when to push, don’t they? I sooo need to watch it when mine become teens.
    Happy SITS day!


  12. Morgan Kellum

    June 30, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Mommy-ing isn’t for the weak of heart or spirit or body or mind! 🙂

    Visiting from SITS 🙂


  13. misssrobin

    July 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Love this. I’ve had more days like this than I can count. My son is fourteen and his tantrum looks pretty similar, except he yells more than cries. It will pass.

    And I think you did exactly what you should have done. Sometimes we all need a time out. You were not hiding; you were allowing some of the adrenaline to leave your system so you could use your brain instead of your emotions. And just for the record, according to my therapist, it takes about 20 minutes trying to calm down before the adrenaline is sufficiently gone.

    Good luck!



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