Thursday, September 13, 2012

Minivan Confessions

When I was pregnant for the first time, I compulsively Googled every symptom I experienced, just to make sure what I was feeling was normal.  It usually was, of course, and despite the fact that Google wasn't able to forewarn me of the whirlwind that would accompany that future baby, I still returned to research each ache and flutter in my stomach.

One day, I stumbled across a forum on the "What to Expect" website for women having babies in October of 2007, and I quickly found myself getting acquainted with the women in my situation.  Over the next nine months, we compared notes, exchanged names and began a tradition that would continue for years to come by confessing the less-than-desirable behaviors we'd exhibited while pregnant.

I drank a soda today.
I caved and ate sushi.
I got freaked out and called my OB at home.

We would occasionally revisit these confessions as the kids grew, and even though our group is still thriving on Facebook, we haven't had a confessional in a while.

Here's where you come in.

You see, yesterday was a parenting low for me.  I'm not sure if it was the complete and utter destruction of my basement, Cael's mental lapse and humor at peeing on the carpet in the house or the way Graham looked at me and laughed when I literally started crying at what they'd done while I cooked their lunch.  At the end of the day, I think I referred to my experience as "my most painful day as a parent since I pushed a baby out". 

I still stand by that comparison.

So I think it's time I have another public confessional, because venting is so much more socially acceptable than spiking my apple cider at ten in the morning while I'm being paid to watch other people's children.  And since I'm not Catholic, what better way to cleanse my conscience than to air my dirty laundry on the internet?  Let's face it-- I live in Iowa.  There's not much chance for me being unwittingly chosen for a taxicab confession.  So here we go.

1.  My kids watch too much TV. 

I'm really pretty good about limiting it in the morning and while I have other children in my house.  But by the time dinner rolls around and I feel that my dwindling patience will cause me to rip my hair out with metal tongs if I don't get a few minutes of silence, you can bet I'm all too willing to switch on the television.  Sometimes it's better that way.  My hair, the tongs, and the sanity of my offspring agree.

2.  I love a 5-point harness.

Kids are hard to contain.  Kids are also hard to quiet down.  Two noisy, boisterous and difficult-to-contain boys are more than twice as difficult to handle.  So what is my favorite thing to do?  Drive, baby.  Why can't a trip down the street to pick my son up from school take 50 minutes?  They learn things along the way, so it is just as educational as time spent at home.  For example, they learn that the trains heading east generally move faster than the trains heading west because they are empty of coal.  They also learn that when  Mommy goes out without makeup and contacts, she is seven times as likely to see someone on the street that she knows.  Lastly, they learn that it is okay to have an obsession with 80's power ballads and that REO Speedwagon is so, like, totally awesome.

Fifty minutes well spent, and no one peed on the floor.

3.  Yesterday, I snapped.

I really try not to yell.  Sure, sometimes I have to raise my voice to be heard above the fray, but yesterday was different.  Yesterday, when I pulled Cael and Graham into their room, I unloaded a verbal diarrhea of complaints upon them in language far above their level and in a volume that was totally unnecessary because I'd hit my limit of patience and they were far from reaching their limit of naughtiness.  I've always felt that I could command the same respect from my boys without raising my voice, but I learned that when they choose to rip the paper-like outer layer from the exposed sheet rock in their play closet, they are going to hear it from me.  And it might be loud.

4.  I'm ready to close up the baby shop for good.

There's certainly nothing shocking about feeling that one's family is complete.  But that's the thing--  I'm not closing up shop because I don't want more kids, or I don't feel that I was meant to have more kids.  I'm closing up shop because of the kids I have.  If they were more manageable, perhaps calmer, or if I had access to a limitless supply of Ritalin and a less rigid conscience, I'd be trying for a third.  And I think it's against the Mommy Code to blame your parenting shortcomings on the kids you do have.  But I have to say, as much as I love them...  I'm tired, I'm impatient, and I'm totally overwhelmed.

So be gentle.  I know I'm not confessing to any great crimes here, but I am a mother and we all belong to the same club.  And while the initiation is killer, the benefits are amazing.  But more than anything else, we all want to be good.  We want to know that we are building our kids up instead of breaking them down.  We want to know that we will be remembered as kindly as we remember our own mothers and we want to raise children that will grow up to respect and love their families as fiercely as we strive to love our own.

But sometimes our kids pee on the floor, and we just need to vent.  And in the eternal words of REO Speedwagon, I can't fight this feeling anymore...

What do you need to confess?  Here's your judgment-free zone to vent away.  I'm not alone, right?


  1. I feel the same way about all of your confessions, and I only have one 2 1/2 year old son. I refer to him as a sour patch kid. You know..."first he's sour, then he's sweet". I love him, but he can be so hard to be around at times...and I'm not even a stay at home mom! My confession to add to this list is, "I love being at work and away from the house from 8am to 6pm everyday. I love the me-time." My son is awesome, but I feel like I don't really know how to raise him and make him be good. He has a bad habit of hitting me or our dog and it's hard not to yell at him when this happens. Hang in there, all of us moms are in this together.

    1. Grace- I can totally relate. I think I would cherish that time at work, too, if I had that option. But even that doesn't allow you any "me" time away from the kids, so I'm sure it is just as difficult for you to feel rejuvenated after a tough day with your son. Hang in there, Mommy!

  2. I love confession time!! Sorry about your bad day- I would have snapped in that situation too. I had a bad day and yelled at my boys the other day- not really because of what they were doing, it was pretty normal stuff, but just because I was having a bad, pms day. I ended up having to go to my room and lock myself in for a little while!

    My biggest confessions are: I spend too much time on the computer while my boys are playing. I used to play with my oldest, but my #2 and #3 are close in age and they play together really well, so I tend to leave them playing and catch up on blogs and Facebook too often. The next one is that I don't like to cook and I love fast food and my boys don't eat as healthily as I would ultimately want them to. I do ok making sure they have a vegetable and fruit at lunch and dinner at home, but we eat out way too often. I guess I would have to add too much tv in our house too! When I can't take the yelling, running or fighting anymore I turn the tv on because they become quietly zoned out!

    1. Lori- the TV is such a hard habit to break. My kids fight like crazy, too, and sometimes my brain just can't handle any more yelling or punching. And what's the cure? Netflix. :)

  3. I can absolutely jump on board with ALL of these confessions. I confess that I take advantage of the fact that my son is an "independent player" and let him do his own thing while I do mine. I enjoy being out of the house. When I take time to really think about how much I would like to have a day or two off from being a mom, it has made me cry. I feel very guilty about these thoughts. I have a hard time handling vomit so when my son is sick and coughing I make my husband feel VERY badly about not being home in case it happens and I have to deal with it. AND I have thought very seriously about closing up the baby shop as well simply because I don't want to have to deal with another child's vomit other than the one I have (whose I already don't want to deal with but don't have any choice). I FEEL YOU ALL!!

    1. Don't feel guilty- we all have those thoughts. Like I said, I feel really guilty about blaming my desire NOT to have kids on the kids I have. I should love them unconditionally and want to expand my family regardless of their temperaments because I love them, while instead I think to myself, "if these kids were only different... then I could have another". I have a lot of guilt about that too, but we give so much to/for them that we can't begrudge ourself our honest feelings. And you're not alone!

  4. Oh man, I feel for ya! Brielle is a tantrum maniac right now, and throw tantrums about 10,000 times more often than Raya ever did---I'm blaming it on the 2nd child thing haha. I may or may not have let her eat out of her toothpaste tube for awhile yesterday, just to end the insanity ;-)

    I can say that if you *do* close up baby shop, it can actually be very freeing haha. In many ways it's just really nice to move on without the possibility of another child down the road kind of hanging over your head---even though it's sad to close a chapter on that part of your life too.

    Hope your days start going better for ya!

    1. Shawna- I agree. I think it's more the thought that children are no longer an option that gets me, because the thought of starting over with another baby is daunting! I just need some time and I think I'll be at peace with it. Good luck with Brielle!

  5. I don't have a child, but I do have two animals, and when they get crazy they get caged... for awhile...I guess thats why I don't have kids yet huh? hahah. Hang in there Mary!

    1. Shae- You're so funny. I'm sure those animals do give you a run for your money, though. My sister's house is a menagerie of animals, so I feel your pain! But they love you unconditionally and don't tell your neighbors that you drink beer all the time. (Even when it's not true!) Maybe I just need another dog... :)


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