I Retire From Being Mom
My son Dominick will be 6 years old this August. He’s gone from a semi-helpless silly toddler to an energetic little person who longs for independence and who wants to be a grown-up as soon as possible. The teachers at his school constantly tell me how intelligent he is and how far ahead of the other children his age he is already. They’ve also make it perfectly clear that he knows right from wrong, as he is always quick to apologize if he does something naughty. Well, either that or he starts throwing chairs and punching people. My little man will cry over something trivial and silly, such as being told to clean up when he’s not finished building a masterpiece, but he’ll also smack you upside the head if you tick him off. He’s a sensitive kid and a big bully wrapped in a 36 pound package.
A big problem I have with him is the selective hearing issue. My husband and I give him very simple instructions: put your dirty clothes away and get in the bathroom, please clean up your room, or brush your teeth and then come see me. Simple instructions for simple things that he does multiple times a day. Yesterday for some reason, he decided No, Fuck You Mom And Dad and didn’t listen to a damn thing we asked him to do. “Clean your room” translated into “stare out the window,” then translated into “sit on the bed and daydream.” “It’s bathtime, take your clothes off” turned into “remove only the Wolverine costume, then dance around in a circle.” When I asked him what he was doing when he came sneaking around the corner, he responded by plopping down on the dining room floor and just staring at me. But mention “candy” or “new toys” or something else that actually matters to him, even whisper it from across the room, and rest assured that he heard every single word and will repeat it back to you over and over again until the need is satisfied.
Recently, he’s developed somewhat of an obsession with how his hair looks. Sadly for me, he enjoys experimenting with it while I’m either asleep or otherwise occupied. Normally this is harmless and involves him, after a bath, staring at himself in the mirror for 10 minutes trying to style his wet hair with his fingers or with the comb I keep in his drawer; this behavior I allow because obviously he’s not damaging anything. Most of the time, I’m not so lucky. One morning it was using hand soap as hair gel. Once it was toothpaste as hair gel, which also ended up getting finger painted all over the bathroom counter. Once it was the actual gel, only he missed his head and it landed on the floor. In 30 seconds or less, the kid can find horrible substances to stick on his head.
The things he manages to do at school blow my mind sometimes. When it’s cute, such as taping paper wings and horns to himself, I love it. When it’s impressive, such as the pictures he draws, the stories he tells, or his writing skill displays, I’m blown away. When it’s horrible, such as slamming chairs into people like a wrestler, kicking and spitting on his teachers, or defiant outbursts, I want to crawl under a rock and vanish. Hell if I know where he learned to throw chairs or spit on people when upset, but it’s a school only behavior and I haven’t the slightest idea how to stop it. We’ve tried everything short of sending him to school in chains.
It sounds terrible to say, but I’m looking forward to some time without him. It’s to the point that I am overly excited that he’ll be gone for a couple of weeks and my husband and I will have 14 blissful kid free days. No nagging him to finish his meals without sticking his dirty hands in his hair, dropping food everywhere, or doing more talking than eating. No struggling to get him to clean up his room after he has placed every toy he owns somewhere on his floor. No cleaning up ridiculously created messes in impossible to clean places. No “Dominick was bad” reports from school and no stressing about it on the way to pick him up. No temper tantrums out of nowhere. I love my boy and I love being a mom, but damn if I don’t need some vacation days or early retirement.
I know, I know, this is all part of being a parent. I think the hubby and I do a damn good job, considering the wonderful manners he (mostly) has and the good behavior when we’re out (usually), but I get to a point when I just want to say Fuck It and run away. If you consider that thought to mean I’m a bad mom, I’m betting you don’t have kids. I can’t imagine any parent out there having moments when they wish they could snap their fingers and make their little ones do a disappearing act once in a while. Kids are awesome, but they’re not magical beings that bring out the parenting instinct as soon as they’re born, making problems melt away with their cuteness. Although they do try….
Kids, in all their awesomeness, are just little versions of us that hopefully will turn into slightly better older versions of us. Unless you pump me full of prozac, I can’t see having a smile and a shrug at every stressful bit of awfulness my son subjects me to. I can’t just say “awww, well he’s only 5” when he smacks our dog in the face or tries to scale his dresser as if it’s Mt. Everest. I’ve seen parents do it though. In public. When countless pairs of eyes are upon them. Being judgmental. It’s not realistic. I may not be a perfect parent, but at least I’m honest about it. I do my best, try to do better, and savor the amazing moments I have with my baby boy just a little bit more than I savor the blissful vacation days I have without him.