How I’ve Become My Mother

I realized the other day that despite my best efforts not to, I am slowly turning into my mother. I don’t mean that I’m becoming a horrific driver in a rumbling way too old vehicle filled with sun bleached Beanie Babies. I don’t mean I am stockpiling so much food in my refrigerator that it will go bad ten times over before anyone could eat it. I certainly don’t mean I wear sweatshirts emblazoned with “Grandma’s Cuties” or other nauseating attire that seem to be the dress code for any woman over 55. Maybe that’ll come later. But for now, I’m simply turning over phrases that my parents once uttered to me.
So, in no particular order, I give you the top five ways I’ve become my mother. Or father for that matter.
#5: Not Sharing My Junk Food With Them
Child: “What are you eating Mommy?”
Mother: shovels ice cream in mouth and gulps “Poison.”
My mother wasn’t big on sugary snack food for us kids (well, at least not for me or my sister…my brothers ate enough crap for all of us). In fact, I probably didn’t have soda till I was in my teens She brought us crunch granola and other health food snacks. I was the laughing stock of my elementary school when I’d break out my organic snacks before organic was cool. Mom was concerned about our health or so she claimed. So she would wait until she thought we were in bed to eat the junk food she had squirreled away. I can still see her now, sitting in front of the TV as we spied on her from the hallway; dish towel on her lap, ice cream dish propped on top of that. Lovingly spooning the rocky road into her mouth, thinking we were oblivious to her enjoyment.
I don’t even wait for the kids to go to bed. There’s one scoop of ice cream left and I’ve been dreaming of it all day? It’s mine. I’m sure both of my children have snuck enough chocolate from my secret stash or weaseled some junk food out of my mother in law, a woman who feels a home is not complete without a fully stocked cookie jar. I don’t feel guilty. I was deprived of junk food or anything that wasn’t made from organically recycled cardboard until I was in college. Oh and the kicker? My mother’s cabinets are now chocked full of crap like Fruit Loops and Oreos, foods she led us to believe were the devil’s playthings.
I also make them eat their vegetables. I remember endless nights of sitting at the kitchen table devising diabolical ways to beat “eating my vegetables”. I fed them to the dog, smeared them under the chair, filled my mouth with them and excused myself to go spit them in the toilet. You name it, I tried it. And my kids aren’t getting away with ANY of those things…I think.
#4: Dumb Parenting Statements and Idle Threats
“Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about!”
Ok, even I’m confused when I say this. If I want the kid to shut up, why would I do something to make him/ her cry? It just doesn’t make sense. Yet, I find myself saying it ten times a day since the younger one cries CONSTANTLY. This may have been uttered to my sister a lot. She could turn on the waterworks at will. (And usually got her way as a result)
The redhead stepchild to this statement is “Don’t make me turn this car around!” 90% of the time we are in the car and I utter that doozy, we are going some place the kids don’t even WANT to go. So why the hell would they care if I turned the car around? Technically, this should encourage them to continue what they’re doing.
A close cousin is, “I’m going to beat you within an inch of your life.”
Really? They know I’m not going to do that. In fact, with the way people are overly sensitive to child abuse (mostly people WITHOUT kids) you can’t even make this type of threat anywhere in public. DFYS will come knocking on your door and be check your fridge to make sure you’re not eating all the kids’ junk food, making them eat their vegetables or making their lives uncomfortable in any way at all.
I got whipped with a belt on a bare ass which I’m sure many of you did, too. And nobody dared call anyone because then you’d just get beat again. Seriously, these kids have no clue.
#3: “You have no idea how much easier you have it than I did growing up.”
This one is unequivocally true. My kids DO have it easier. My kids have way less responsibility than I ever had. I was the oldest of four children which was absolutely not a picnic. There is a lot of mess and laundry with four kids. My sister played the flakey blonde card that got her out of a lot of chores and my brothers were just generally helpless and incompetent. I, on the other hand, always had this drive to be a perfectionist. I couldn’t even fake screwing things up to get out of them. I got stuck with most of it because my parents knew it would get done and it would get done right. So needless to say, it boils my blood when I find myself cleaning my children’s rooms and they can’t even help me by picking by clothes up off the floor. They have no drive towards perfectionism in this department and it saddens me..(sob).
Of course we always rolled our eyes at my father’s stories that usually involved working for no money with no shoes soon after he was able to hold his head up at three months old and walking uphill in the snow both ways to school without a hat or gloves. I’m not nearly as dramatic.
#2: Democracy Starts At the Curb
At age 12, I had absolutely no input in anything my family did. Not where we’re going to eat, what I was going to be able to buy at the clothing store (Bradlees, ick), how late I was staying up or where we were going on vacation.
My little darlings have become world class debate champions as far as arguing their side of our parental choices. About a hundred times a week we hear things along the lines of “I don’t want to go grocery shopping”, “I want to eat at Benihana and get a $30 meal” and “we should go to Disney for the umpteenth time and I won’t go on vacation with you if we don’t go there”. And my husband and I sit there with our jaws on the floor almost unable to utter the simple word, “no”. Partially, we’re afraid of the fall out and tears that will result. Sometimes, it’s easier to give in than fight them. But lately, we’ve been a big boy and girl, holding our ground and saying, “no” to the little demon seeds. And we’ve been called mean and we’ve been “hated”. And it stings and I want to cry but, ultimately, we’re not here to be their friends or make them happy. Our job is to raise responsible, well mannered non-shitheads who don’t think the world owes them or that their option is necessarily the only one.
#1: The Curse
“I can’t wait until you have kids of your own who act exactly like you do.”
This statement mostly steams from something the kids did in #2. My husband also says (and mostly to my son) “I can’t wait until you have a house a family and see how much things cost.” Because my son thinks we are mean that we don’t let him order lobster when we go out. Or we don’t go to the movies every week. Or his latest, that we don’t want to buy him a $150 pair of sneakers.
When my parents said this, I retorted with “I hope I do! At least I’d understand them!” Or some other nonsense like that. Because seriously, even if you have kids that are EXACTLY like you, most likely you will end up scratching your head half the time, wondering what you’re doing wrong. After all, everyone becomes their parents in the end.

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