I love my children more than anything in the universe. That is absolutely undeniable. They are almost 13, 5, 3 and 2, and they are the smartest, funniest, most beautiful, amazing people I have ever met in my entire life, and that’s not even my bias as their mother talking ( I swear!!). There is nothing I wouldn’t do for them, no one I wouldn’t fight (verbally or physically), no cause I wouldn’t take on…. and any number of other cliches and platitudes about love and sacrifice regarding mothers and their offspring that you’ve heard a million times and then some.
That said, I also have a deep and abiding love for myself and what little remains of my sanity. I am the only me I am ever going to get to be, and I try very hard to maintain that sanity to the best of my admittedly limited abilities. If I don’t, I become this overwhelmed, overstimulated, raging bitch that no one likes; not me, not my husband, and certainly not my kids. So, for the sake of all of us, it’s very important to me to teach my kids to be independent little souls so they aren’t up my ass every second of the day driving me batshit crazy. I mean…. no, that’s exactly what I mean.
So, without further ado, here are some phrases/rules I commonly use with my kids to help keep me from losing my fucking mind:
1. MOMMY DOES NOT NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS
If I give in once, all you will learn is that screaming and tantrums CAN work, and that if you scream long enough you will get what you want. I will not be a victim of emotional manipulation. You can scream and cry all you want, but so long as all of your actual needs are taken care of, the only thing you will get is a one-way ticket to nap time. Period.
2. DO WE NEED TO AMPUTATE?
If you’re wounded, I’m sorry, truly, but if it’s not gangrenous then I’m gonna need you to stop screaming like that unless you want me to grab a hack saw and some milk of the poppy…..
Here’s the thing: I’m not going to encourage you to overreact in a crisis. Even if the situation is serious, what stands to be gained from you screaming your head off? Absolutely nothing. So, whether it’s a scrape that actually needs to be cleaned and have a Bandaid applied or a microscopic booboo that just needs a kiss, I’m not going to panic with you about it. Because…..
3. I’M SORRY, BUT YOU’RE OKAY
I’m sorry which ever kid did what ever thing to you, but you will survive. People will say and do a lot of things in life, some kind, some not so much. The thing is, I can’t be there to solve every peer conflict for you, so it’s in your best interest that I don’t come running to solve all of your little problems now, even if it does upset me to see you get your feelings hurt. The reality is that the truth doesn’t change just because someone does a thing and now you’re upset, and the only way you learn that is by being upset and seeing that you’re still you and that I still love you. Conflict is part of life. It’s a shitty part, but it’s a HUGE part, so you should probably just get used to that rotten cunt now while the worst conflict you deal with is over toys and what show you’re going to watch.
4. STUPID HURTS, AND IF YOU HURT YOURSELF DOING SOMETHING I TOLD YOU NOT TO DO, I RESERVE THE RIGHT TO LAUGH AT YOU.
I know it sounds mean, but the world will not coddle you and you need to get some of that from someone who DOES love you unconditionally before you have to experience a world that doesn’t. I also want you to be able to laugh at yourselves and your own silly mistakes and not feel so self-conscious. (I’ve also been known to tease them for being short, and occasionally try to steal their lunch money….)
5. GO AHEAD AND STARVE!!!!!!!!
I feed you. Often. And everything I give you is delicious, nutritious, and filling. If you choose not to eat part of your meal because it “looked funny” or you couldn’t sit still, that’s on you, not me. You will be fed again at te appropriate time, and until that time you are shit out of luck.
6. TOUGH TITTIES
You only need to know what you need to know, and I get to decide how much that is. I’m the Mom. That makes me the boss. That means it doesn’t actually matter if you think things are ‘fair’ or not, because I’m in chare an what I say goes. I’m the one legally responsible for your life and well-being, and I know so much more about what I’m doing than you are able to understand yet (despite how I often feel about my own abilities), so just have to suck it up and trust my judgement, kid. I got you.
No matter the circumstances though I hope my kids will always feel like they can come to me to talk about anything. I have rules yes, but I keep the lines of communication open at all times. I want my kids to be independent, not isolated. But holy fuck, I wish I could drink my coffee while it was still hot…..