“But Daddy, I want an Oompaloompa now!”

Kids are spoiled brats. Well, most are. I think it’s human nature or child nature to want. Especially to want what you don’t have.
My own children fall into this category. With an endless tirade of “mommy can I have”, “mommy I want” and “but mommy I need”, I have been guilt, against my better judgment, of spoiling also. It’s just easier than listening to mommy, mommy, mommy. Yes, I shove a dollar at her for the damned concession stand at my son’s games to shut her up so I can watch it, yes, I buy the socks he wants because it’s pointless to pay half as much for ones he’s not going to wear. But I firmly believe that I do have will power, for the most part, and they are not as spoiled as many children I know.
Thanks to Facebook, I can now see that maybe I’m not nearly as bad as half the population I’ve somehow become friends with. I am subjected to hundreds upon hundreds of pictures, hard core evidence that many parents have completely lost control of saying no to their children. These same parents “complain” about their children’s possessions and obsessions and then post pictures of yet another trip to Build A Bear or a goodie bag of video games “just because it’s Wednesday”. It makes the bile in throat rise because I refuse to give into my children’s every whim and these parents make me look bad.
My older one has pretty much given up asking. Well, there’s the occasional whine and whimper when we leave a store where he got nothing, but he’s been pretty much beaten down by the word no over the last twelve years.
The younger one is much more persistent and frankly, much more annoying with her requests. Unlike the older one who pretty much only asked for what he truly wanted or thought he wanted, the little one wants whatever she can possess whether it’s practical or not. I think if she wasn’t getting anything in the store, she would beg me to buy her a steak, just for the sake of getting something. Who ever thought up the idea of sticking register lane shelves with crap to buy should seriously be forced to sit at every register lane in the country and be forced to hear the cries of children from ever walk of life when they can’t have the candy, gum, wind up toy, batteries, etc. from the shelf. We should use it to force suspects to admit to their crimes…it’s pure torture.
Every freaking time we hit the register lane, this is the type of conversation we have, “Mommy, can I get gum?”
“No.”
“Can I get tic tacs?”
“No.”
“But I wannnnnn em!”
“I don’t care.”
“They’re only a dollar….”
“Doesn’t matter. You’re not getting them.”
“Can I get chap stick?”
“I just bought you chap stick yesterday.”
“I ate it.”
“Well, then, that’s exactly why you’re not getting chap stick today.”
“You’re mean.”
“Yes, I know. You told me that in the last two stores.”
“Where are we going next?”
“To the mall.”
“Can we go to Build A Bear?”
“Absolutely not.”
“Why notttttttt?” (Emphasis on high pitched whine)
“Because it’s not your birthday and Christmas is coming.”
“Can I get a book?”
“We just went to the library and took out five books. You have plenty to read.”
“I just want to read and get smart, Mommy!” She bites her lip and forces back the crocodile tears. The woman behind me clucks her tongue, obviously disapproving of me. Join the club, lady.
I ignore her and my child as I load the items on the conveyer belt.
“Can we go to Claire’s?” she begs and I cringe. I loathe Claire’s. My daughter wanders around aimlessly and I end up buying crap she doesn’t need and will inevitably break before we even pull into the driveway.
I sigh. “What do you need from Claire’s?”
“I want earrings.”
“You have seventy pairs of earrings.” I am not even slightly exaggerating. She has seventy pairs. All from Claire’s. “You don’t need any more jewelry. You have plenty.”
“You have jewelry, too.”
“What’s your point?” I am now impatiently tapping my foot, tired of playing this game of seeing who will break first.
“Why do you need this then?” She points accusingly at the necklace I’ve bought.
“Because I make the money, that’s why. And I’m not spending it on more crap that you will break, lose or forget about before tomorrow. End of discussion.”
She changes tactics.
“How much money do you make,” she inquires sweetly.
“That’s none of your business,” I snap back.
“Is it more than ten dollars?” she asks coyly.
I fall right into the trap. “Of course it’s more than ten dollars.”
She waves a beanie baby under my nose. “Then you can afford dis cutie wootie waddle baby.”
“No.”
“You’re cheap and you’re mean!” She stomps her foot for added effect.
The people in line behind us are now staring. I’m getting the look of why didn’t you just buy her the pack of gum? In fact, in several situations, the person in front of us has actually bought the gum and in those case, I want to crawl under the cart and die of embarrassment.
I’ll tell you why I won’t just buy the gum. It’s not because I’m cheap as my children claim. It’s much simpler. Because first I give into the gum (which she will leave on the coffee table and the dog will be blowing bubbles…every time). After the gum comes buying crap she doesn’t really need because the high pitched whining is too much to bear. And then finally, I will find myself drowning in a house full of stuffed animals and books and puzzles and games that nobody needed, nobody plays with and is still not enough for my spoiled brat because she is expecting more. It’ll never be good enough. We will have a full fledged Veruca Salt on our hands…”But I want an Oompaloompa now, Daddy!” and it will be entirely my fault.
So the next time you hear me saying no to my kid on the check out line, could you just look away and let me continue to be the meanest mommy ever?

The SAHM that ticked me off…

When I started blogging about motherhood, I promised myself that there were several areas on which I would not tread..the loaded guns. You know the ones, breast feeding vs bottle, the great immunization debate and the granddaddy of them all…working mom vs. stay at home mom. My opinion has always been that you need to do what’s best for your family and what’s best for you. I hate when moms start bashing each other; stay at home moms are not better because they are home with their kids and working moms are not better because they are out in society either. Both sides have valid arguments.
As much as there are times when I wished I could be at home for the kids when they were little, there has been other times where I’m glad I am able to get out of the house and feel productive in more than just grilled cheese sandwich making. I knew they were in Grandma’s capable hands and that made me feel better. I am extremely fortunate to work in a school system, so now when my school aged kids are off, so am I (for the most part). I am there for homework, baseball games, school conferences and bedtimes. There is not too much I feel that I am missing by working outside the home and it makes me feel that I have been successful in BOTH my job as a mom and school nurse.
That was until this weekend when a stay at home mom made a Facebook comment that made my blood boil and my eye twitch uncontrollably.
Now let me preface this…I harbor no ill will towards stay at home moms in general. In fact, I think stay at home moms with toddlers and infants probably need to be inducted into sainthood or something because 24/7 with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, sticky fingers and snotty noses would drive me to a steady diet of liquids. And by liquids, I mean alcohol. You have to have patience and resolve that I’m not quite sure I had to stay at home 365 days a year with a child under the age of 4. And more than one? Oh dear Lord. I don’t think there is enough wine in the world to deal with all day sibling rivalry.
But this particular mother has one child. Which is also a personal choice but I’m sorry, the more kids you have, the more difficult parenting is. There is no one on the planet who can produce one valid argument to the contrary. This mother’s child can tie his own shoes, butter his own bread and (hopefully) wipe his own butt. And he goes to middle school. So for 6 1/2 hours a day, Monday through Friday, this mom does her laundry and her cooking and her shopping in virtual peace and quiet. I bet she even has time to squeeze in a half hour nap. Then when her little darling demon spawn arrives home from school at 3:45, she’s fresh as a daisy and is able to help him with his homework and they can do craft projects together by candlelight to simulate life in the old west.
Ugh…okay, maybe not that last part.
Now, I do all that, too. I clean, I make sure there’s food in the fridge and I even sometimes get through a meal without burning it. I help with homework, I wash dishes and I decorate for the holidays. But my time frame for doing that is shorter. And it’s constantly interrupted with “mommy can you?”, “mommy can I?” And “mommy the chicken is on fire!”
As a result, I’m lousy at a lot of things stay at home moms excel at. We’ve already discussed my cooking skills, so that one is a given. I forget to mail birthday cards and sometimes forget people’s birthdays. I haven’t printed picture of my kids in over a year. In fact, even when I pay for school or sports pictures, I admire them, stick them in the basket reserved for mail and forget to give them to people. I forget to sign planners and send in milk money. I don’t know what fundraiser is going on at school right now…(honestly can anyone keep track of those things???) and I filled out the latest form for Market Day and forgot to order anything until it was too late. I am met by sobs of “mommy you forgot…” at least once a week. And I admit it. I forgot. I forget a lot of things because I have way too much on my never ending to do list in my brain. I have a work to do list AND a home to do list and I am expected to perform at 100% all the time at both. There’s no excuses for me. I’ve got to get it all done or I feel like, and my kids remind me, I’m failing as a mother. If I don’t get something done at work or forget to call a parent or just miss something, my boss will remind me I’m failing in that department, too.
I realize something’s got to give and for the most part, I’ve been okay with it. I let the dishes pile up in the sink and it doesn’t kill anyone. I sometimes let the laundry go and just sit on the couch and watch a movie. It’s taken me almost 13 years, but I’m finally starting to get some home/ work/ motherhood balance going.
Until that other mother had the nerve to piss me off. What this mother had the audacity to say was “I hate it when the kids are off from school for break. It’s not like the faculty doesn’t get enough days off with weekends and summers. It really ruins my schedule.”
Oh so sorry, Princess! Didn’t mean to mess with your schedule of getting things done in an organized fashion without having to entertain or keep track of a child (multiple children) like the rest of us do!
I, for one, need that break from work. I can get caught up on what I’ve been slacking off of in the motherhood department. I can spend time with my own kids without having to worry about having to go to work.I can get laundry done AND play Chutes and Ladders with my child and not have chose. I can pick up on a Tuesday at noon and have lunch with my husband, alone without kids. All things I can’t do when I am playing the balancing game.
Motherhood IS the most difficult job on this planet. Mothers should support each other and not point out each other’s flaws. We should support each other’s choices. But it’s really difficult when people can’t understand how the other half lives. I get a glimpse of stay at home motherhood in the summer and I gotta admit, it’s exhausting. Taking the kids to the beach, running to baseball practice, entertaining them when it’s raining for the fourth day in a row…it’s all part of my job as a mother. And I can appreciate that mother who does that 365 year. WITH A TODDLER. When your kid is at school, yes, you’re a mother, but you’re not on the clock. I am on the clock almost 24/ 7, 365 days a year with the rare exception of a babysitter or my kids going to a sleepover. Or my three minute drive to work when there are no kids hitting each other in the head with empty water bottles. But on the other hand, in the summer it’s really nice to have the entire week to get cleaning done, rather than trying to squeeze into a five hour time frame on a Sunday. It’s nice to go out to the grocery store without fighting off the weekend crowds and the cheerleaders shaking a can in your face for money. It’s nice to have 24 hours to do one job instead of two.
So don’t get on your high horse and imply I don’t deserve a break from my one job when you get one almost every day. I am in fact, envious of women who can have that opportunity to be at home. It’s not a possibility for me financially as nice as it would be. I think it would be fantastic to be able to be more organized and not feel like my head is going to explode any minute. But it’s not. I have to go to work and I have to be a mom, too.
Okay, rant over…going to go push my blood vessel back in my eye now.