I lost it the other morning. Really lost it.
After Cameron was all dressed for school, breakfast eaten, teeth brushed, backpack packed, I let him play on his tablet. I have a rule that the kids can only watch/download certain apps on their tablets. There is so much crap out there today – shows/apps geared towards teens and preteens, shows/apps that showcase kids calling other people “idiot” and “stupid” and generally behaving obnoxiously – and in all seriousness, I have a hard enough time keeping my kids under control without exposing them to those kinds of influences and role models. Especially with Cameron. So the rule is, Mom has to give permission for ANYTHING to be downloaded to those tablets and I have access to them at all times (Yes, I check history’s, content and set restrictions. Even for Ellie.). Cameron never, ever, ever sticks to this rule. The moment I walk out of the room, he is looking up mature rated apps, on YouTube, looking for some obnoxious show featuring smart-ass teenagers. It happened this morning. Within thirty seconds of my spoken, “Remember the rules, Cameron.”, he was on a restricted site where he figured out my password for the restriction (this is the 5th time he has figured that out). I gave him a warning, changed the password and handed back the tablet. A few minutes later, on my way to the kitchen, I saw him there, downloading a “Halo” app. And I lost it.
Screaming and yelling ensued. Swearing. “I’VE TOLD YOU A THOUSAND TIMES TO LEAVE THAT STUFF ALONE!!” I shouted. “GO TO YOUR ROOM! GO SIT IN YOUR ROOM UNTIL IT’S TIME TO LEAVE FOR SCHOOL. NOW!!!” He just stood there staring at me, not moving a muscle. “GO!!” I yelled. All the kids froze in their tracks while I chased – literally chased – Cameron into his room. He beat me by a half a second and locked the door against me. Locked the door! “I’m going to kill him!” I muttered. “MOM! Are you really going to kill Cameron? Did you really just say that?!” Cole said. “OPEN THIS GODDAMN DOOR!” I yelled. Cameron unlocked the door. “Don’t you ever lock the door against me again! Do you hear me?!” I yelled at him.
Paul’s trying to calm me. “Leave me alone!” I yelled at him. “I do EVERYTHING for you people – including YOU! – and you all treat me like shit! Every last one of you!”
I know. All this over an eight-year old who just wants to fit in with all the other kids who don’t have issues. But really, of course it’s not just about that. That was just the straw that broke the camel’s back this morning. It was my eight-year old not following the rules – again. It was dealing with Ellie picking her way through breakfast – again. It was Cole having a dramatic argument and copping a major attitude last night when I said no, he could not have an Facebook account (he’s thirteen, for crying out loud!). It’s the bickering and tattling all the time. It’s the “I want, I want, I want” all the time, and the lack of willingness to do much of anything I ask. Ask somebody to set the table for dinner? Tell them to clean up their room? Oh my GOD! You would think I’m asking them to pull their own fingernails out! It’s my husband being gone so much of the time and me feeling utterly alone, like I’m dealing with all of this single handedly.
I’m not excusing my losing it this morning. I’m ashamed. I wish I held it together better, I really, really do. And lest I start to sound like my own mother who seemed to believe that her kids were responsible for her happiness/unhappiness but she, the adult, was not responsible for theirs, let me just say that I know kids are kids, they don’t actually mean anything personal by their behavior – I know that, I really do.
Sometimes motherhood just feels like a big, fat Fuck You, though. This is why people say that motherhood is a hard job. Not because it’s especially intellectually challenging or physically demanding – I mean it is those things, but there are certainly other pursuits that require for far more intellectual and/or physical output than motherhood. Not because it requires a great deal of bravery – of course, it does call for that, too, but certainly not as much as being a soldier or a police officer, for instance. No, it’s not those things. It’s because it’s so fucking emotionally taxing. It’s because it’s so incredibly thankless so much of the time. It’s because I feel like I’ve sacrificed so much of myself for them, and they don’t appreciate it. It’s because I do and do and do for them, constantly, and it often seems like all I get in return is complaining that it’s not enough – or just outright ignored. I’m not looking for accolades or awards or fanfare. I’m not even looking for “thank you.” It would just be nice to get a little cooperation. A little respect for the rules – rules which are not overbearing or unreasonable for crap’s sake!
And just so my husband doesn’t feel left out, I know exactly what I signed up for, when I said I do. He is a farmer, a self-employed mechanic, a truck driver, a jack-of-all-trades. He works 15-18 hour days, just so I can stay home and be there for the kids. He is an amazing man! But we moved closer to his shop and the farm, not only for Cameron’s well-being and safety, but so he could be home more often as well. Come home for dinner and then go 5 minutes back to work. It’s not that difficult to do.
And, you know, it’s hard to admit these things. Everyone wants to talk about how great motherhood is, how fulfilling it is. Sometimes it is. And often, it’s not. I’m not even sure why I’m writing about it today – opening myself up to criticism and judgment, exposing the flaws in the pretty picture. I don’t want to feel alone, I guess.
After I got back from dropping Cole off at school, I discovered that he had left his lunch money in the car. Who do you think packed up Ellie into the car to drive his lunch money, all the way back to school?
Here’s to all the Mom’s that just sometimes need to lose it, in order to keep it together.