i wrote this post a while back. i forgot about it. something happened recently and it came back to me. i try not to vent. for reals. but man i’m tired. i’m sooooo tired. i’m am so… blessed… tired. in life, i’ve been through all nighters, and working weird hours at multiple jobs, finals weeks, and big project crunch times. none of it, NONE OF IT compares to having kids. two toddlers, 24/7. you know when i get a break? i have no idea. sometimes between 8:30pm and 11pm? maybe. maybe not.
two and half years of no sleep, and interrupted sleep, and being so tired… maybe i’m less tolerant of listening to other people comment on my situation. i know that’s a fact. because i literally snapped at someone at the store the other day, and then wondered about 8 hours later (after some food and a tiny bit of sleep) if i was a little harsh. and then i said- you know what? no. it’s not ok to say whatever pops into your head about me, my parenting, my kids… people need to edit.
all of this to say- these are the things you should skip saying. things i’m tired of apologizing for. my mindset of waiting for judgement from people (outside our circle), and usually, getting it. i’m shocked that people butt in so far as to address my children, and feel like they can correct their behavior. that they question the job i’m doing, when my children appear healthy, mostly clean, somewhat dressed… so here are a few things i’m suggesting you edit out of your interaction with strangers-
‘don’t you have your hands full!‘ – usually followed by how i could get my kids in better check. look, i know my kids are high energy. they’re loud. a little crazy, curious. they can’t sit still to save their lives, they have very little concept of self-preservation, and i love them to pieces. do these traits work my nerves. absolutely. does this endless curiosity exhaust me. of course it does! would i love it if they conformed to the societal norm of volume and movement- sometimes i would. are they going to? no. probably not. at least not today. but we’ll give it a whirl again tomorrow. you don’t need to mention they’re loud, or full of energy. i don’t need you to get in their face and say anything. and i don’t need your look of disgust when after the 20th time today one of them pulls the noodle-of-least-resistance move (while screaming at full volume) as i’m trying to get them into the car, before we get run over, and i lose it, and yell my head off. just… cool your jets. do i want to look up and see that look on your face, or worse, hear your thoughts on the matter? i do not. but thank you.
‘oh, do boys play with dolls now?‘ – yes. i bought my toddler boy a baby doll and a play kitchen. are his testicles going to turn into a vagina? is that what a play kitchen does? because, i thought it might possibly occupy him for a sum total of 10 minutes so i can get one thing done today. the doll? i bought the doll because i wanted to teach him before his sister came, that unlike the treatment i saw the dog getting, other residents of our home get love. we hold babies like we love them. we give our babies food. we put our babies down for naps. has it worked? uh… well, he’ll go sit in the glider and ‘breastfeed’ his baby, so… sure. it’s worked. a boy can have a doll and a play kitchen. last time i checked, most men use a kitchen and can hold a baby. i want my kids to grow up with more of a working knowledge of both kitchens and babies than i had when i left home. he’s already got the breastfeeding thing down so, we’re good. also applicable? anything deemed ‘girl’- dresses, colors, sparkle shoes, polish on his nails- you know who likes shiny sparkly things? a toddler. even the boy ones. it’s almost like the world has yet to impose its sexist self on their adorable little brains. get over it, and please, i don’t want to have a conversation about what i think it might do to him. how about… nothing.
‘that’s an interesting name‘ – names. why do people comment on the name you gave your kid? why do people want to tell you about dogs, and parrots and crazy old uncles with the same name? rule of thumb on names- just don’t comment. keep it to yourself. having grown up with a name that was different, only now really getting any popularity, i know that kids are mean regardless. WHO CARES. if my kids hate their names when they’re older, they can change them. what i hope is that they’ll feel like i do. that their parents chose it just for them, with meaning and intent. end of story.
‘oh, you shouldn’t give him your phone‘ – i am constantly shocked at the number of times someone will comment on my kids having my phone. i literally put it in their hands as a nuclear situation move. if my child has my phone, and they are listening to music, and we are out in public, it means a couple things. the first thing it means is- WE MADE IT OUT OF THE HOUSE. the second, MY KIDS LOVE MUSIC- i actually like that. the third- if we have music, we have less screaming, hitting, or causing mayhem. the fourth- i can get through a grocery store in HALF the time if they’re not screaming, hitting or causing mayhem. pitching fits because i won’t let them disassemble everything they find in store… the cupboards you never even knew were under the salad bar. the contraption that holds those hanging displays in the freezer isle. the endcap of pain reliever, because when you kick those boxes, they fly! they make A LOT OF NOISE! i don’t know- i never knew a grocery store held so many curious wonders, and so many opportunities for chaos, noise and also exit. i go there to get food. anyway- if my kid has my phone, don’t come up to me and talk about screen time. don’t tell me about raising kids in your day, because quite frankly, i’d LOVE to be raising kids in your day. but i’m not. and they know i have a phone, and they know it has music on it. it’s a fact. and yes, i can not give it to them, and pay for it for 2 hours. or, i can put it in one of their sweet little hands, we can listen to 80’s hits and be gone in 45. and as far as which music we listen to- not up for discussion. miley cyrus isn’t going to corrupt their minds- they have ZERO concept of who she is. sometimes, i think they think i’m miley cyrus, because i know every word. songs about sex, love, pain, profanity- try finding one without. i have made a conscious effort to eradicate most music i find actually offensive. if it’s on my phone, and you don’t like it, don’t worry, we’ll be out of this store in 45 minutes.
‘you’re being very bad‘ – last. i’ve talked about some of my kids most offending behaviors. if you have a toddler, you’ve seen some of it. the most buoying thing is seeing that lady in target dealing with a toddler who is losing it’s mind, because you know you’re not alone. i’ve caught her eye a couple times, and given her the stay strong nod of solidarity. i’ve been given that same look by many a sympathetic parent. if you don’t have a 2-4 year old anymore, your kids are grown… maybe they were ANGELS. maybe they were low energy. maybe they listened to every single word you said. the one word i’ve come to fully understand with my kids is INTENSE. they feel what they feel- intensely. i worry about this intensity most. i’ve known intense people, and they have been some of the most unhappy people i’ve met. i’ve also known passionate people who are extremely successful. their passion and zeal for everything makes them consume the world. BUT LET’S NOT GET AHEAD OF OURSELVES. she’s two, he’s four. and yes, she just smacked me in the face. you know why? because she’s only been on this planet for 2 years. TWO! that’s nothing. and there are so many rules. and things you can’t do. and it’s overwhelming. i don’t give them a pass on hitting. i don’t. but don’t you dare step in and try your hand at disciplining my kid. or worse, look at me, or talk to me like i’m doing the worst job you’ve ever seen a mom do in your life. just turn back around, and mind your business. i’ve got this. when we get back to the car, we’ll talk about hitting. and feelings. and what’s a better way to let mom know you’re unhappy. how hard it is to feel frustrated. and if all of that sounds like a load of crap to you… well, you got to raise your kids the best way you could, and now i get a chance. remember those days when your kids were tiny, and how tired you were? look at me and just give me some grace. maybe even say something encouraging, commiserating. i’m sure i could use it.
thanks. and sorry for the rant. xoxo- k.
that beautiful photo above was taken by val of red balloon photography.