Friday, August 26, 2011

Religiously Inconsistent

Yesterday was one of those days that challenged my perception of motherhood.  Not so much what it is, or how it's done, but how best to slink off in the night and still leave my children enough food to survive for a few days until someone realizes I'm gone.

I'd never truly leave them, of course.  At this point my life revolves around the monotony and craziness of these two toe-headed boys that simultaneously tug at my heartstrings and then use those heartstrings to torture me and blackmail me for cookies and Thomas the Train.  Without them I'd be broken, but that does not mean I wouldn't like to do away with these challenging days.

On Wednesday, the end of Bampa's visit coincided with the first official day of school for Daddy.  Having both of them quickly depart was as blatant as flipping a light switch; as soon as the door was closed, there was a brief quiet pause and then BAM!  All of the kids started arguing, one boy shoved another, one yelled for a drink while the other tried to take off running to the backyard.  I felt like a new mother again, holding an infant and whispering, "I'll try my best to keep you alive."

As usual, it was Cael that brought about the majority of my frustrations.  Not only was he incredibly quick to yell and fight with the other kids, but his repetition of said offenses was astonishing.  There are certain things you can get away with in my house, but yelling at me with an air of disrespect isn't one of them.  Cael knows this policy, and he knows that if he chooses to shout at me he will earn himself a one-way ticket to his room.  Okay, a round-trip.  But with a really long layover.

So after my morning had been filled to capacity with, "YOU LET ME WATCH THOMAS NOW!" and "I DON'T WANT PEAS!  MAKE ME SOMETHING ELSE!"  I was in utter disbelief that he had not only found a way to ratchet up his naughtiness, but that he was surprised to see me march him, hand in hand, to his bedroom for the umpteenth timeout of the day.

It was at this point I started losing faith in humanity.  Well maybe not humanity as a whole, but the possibility that Cael could someday return to the land of the sane people and become a productive member of society.  The experts are always telling parents "stick to your guns" and "be consistent", but at what point do you determine that what you're doing just ain't working?

I thought about that question all through lunch.  I thought about it as I cleared the kids' plates away and wiped sticky faces.  I thought about it as I tucked each of them in their beds and I thought about it each of the times Cael came out of his room and claimed he'd slept even though only 2 minutes had passed.  I even thought about it as I sat down at the computer, exhaled, and finally relaxed.


I trudged up the stairs, headed to the door and regret immediately washed over me.  Standing on the other side of the storm door was Mr. Religious, the door-to-door representative that has been aggressively trying to recruit my family to join their ranks.  I have tried to be gracious yet have tried to indicate our disinterest in his particular "product", but he continues to ring my doorbell on an almost weekly basis.  I opened the door, said hello and stumbled through an explanation of how I was trying to get some work done and didn't have time to discuss--

"MOMMY!  Come HERE!"

"Cael, you're supposed to be in bed.  Please go to your room and I will come talk to you in a minute."


"Yes, you will."  I hoped he'd sense the tone.  He didn't.

"NO!  I'M GOING AWAY FROM YOU!  I'm not going to bed.  YOU GO TO BED!"

I quickly grabbed his hand and hustled him down the stairs faster than his feet could move.  We spent a long time in his room, me tring to make him understand that children cannot talk to parents that way, and him attempting to justify it because he was convinced he'd taken a three-hour long nap that had been magically condensed into 4 or 5 minutes.

"It was a magic nap."  Cute, but wrong.

Once he was back in bed, I waited outside his room until he was finally silent and deeply involved in another magical nap.  My stomach growling, I realized I hadn't yet had lunch.  Again I trudged up the stairs and into the kitchen.  Inside the refrigerator I found that while a few of our leftovers were edible, most were making great strides in developing new varieties of penicillin.  I shut the refrigerator door and immediately felt eyes on my back.

There he was.  Mr. Religious stared disapprovingly at me from the other side of my clear storm door, either irritated from the unpleasant scene with Cael and my apparent inability to control my children or the 25 minutes he stood on my front porch and stared into my house.  I looked at him for a moment, and then cracked the door and simply said,

"This is not a great time for me.  Thank you."

I finally get it.  Of the 8 or 9 times he's stopped at my house, he's witnessed my dog pooping on the floor, one son having at least one black eye, and the other falling backward off of the couch, Cael asking him if he possesses all of the proper male "equipment", and then finally screaming at me that wants to leave.  This man's persistence has nothing to do with wanting us to join them, rather he thinks that my children and I desparately need to be saved.

And I do.  But what I need is to be saved from critical people with no children and anyone who thinks parenting is easy.  I'm doing my best, and some days my best won't be enough.  But on those tough days, I can always count on the fact that my doorbell will ring...

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  1. Great post! It's definitely tough, especially when you are "blessed" with a strong-willed child LOL. I can already tell that Raya is *my* Cael, and while she's still working on vocabulary I have no trouble understanding "go away Mama!", which she likes to scream at me multiple times a day :-P


  2. Shawna- I think we both have our work cut out for us! if Raya can get it out of her system now rather than as a teenager. Could we both be so lucky?

  3. i love your honesty and ability to put into words what every mother is feeling and can not express!

  4. Thanks, Kendra. We've had an even more trying day today... I'd welcome that old man if it meant that I got a break!


Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.