Being a mom. It’s a great job. It’s rewarding, and inspiring, and it fills your heart with love… and sometimes it makes you want to cheerfully bludgeon your sofa cushions to death. No sick days. No vacation days. No measurable metrics of success. No recognition. Shit hours. No respect. And your bosses are total tyrants. They don’t care if you’re having a rough day. They demand that you work weekends, early mornings, late nights, through your lunch break, and through dinner too. They come with you on vacation, and even follow you into the bathroom.
Who would want this job?
Well, I did. Apparently lots of you did. And there’s one more person who seems to. My son.
He has figured out that I’m in charge, and the ambitious little devil is after my job. He has spent the last few months trying to figure out how to become the mommy. See, the mommy says whether or not brownies can be eaten. The mommy is in charge of the Halloween candy, the TV, and the Wii. The mommy decides whether we can buy the remote control helicopter at Toys R Us and what time we go to bed. The mommy has the power, and my kid wants it.
His scientific mind started with rules. The mommy makes the rules. Like this gem: “We never say fruckin’ in this house. Or at least, kids never say that. Sometimes when mommies and daddies are angry or frustrated, they might, but we shouldn’t, and well, just don’t say it in front of your preschool teachers, OK?”
My son’s version: “Mommy,” he tells me in a perfect imitation of my firm voice, “we never ever give time outs in this house.”
But that didn’t work. He still had time outs and he still couldn’t have a Hershey bar 10 minutes before dinner. Hmmmm, he wondered, what else does she do?
I know, she counts.
“Mommy. Get me a lolly right now. One… two… three.”
What?! She didn’t do it. Crap, what happens now? I don’t know. We all live in fear of three. We never get to three. I have no idea what happens when you get to three. I’ll try that for a few days and see what she does.
Oh, right. Time outs. Time outs suck.
I’ll give mommy a time out, and then she’ll learn to heed my counting. “Mommy, give me cookies right now or you will have a time out. One… two… three… That’s it, Mommy. Time OUT. Time out, Mommy. Now you have to go in time out. Mommy? Mommy?”
Crap. How do I get her in time out? Well, how does she get me into time out? I always just go. What happens if I don’t go?
Oh, right, she picks me up and puts me in time out. OK. Got it. I can do that.
Um, no, kid. You can’t. You can drag at my leg all you want. In fact, please do, because it is effing hilarious to watch you try. But there is no way in hell that you are going to be able to get me into a time out against my will. I’m sorry, kid. In the end, the reason that I get to tell you what to do and you don’t get to tell me what to do is that I can pick you up. That’s not fair, is it? It sucks for you. But there it is. You have to do what I say because I am bigger than you.
For now. Hopefully by the time he is a teenager, he will forget this little lesson, and will just do what I say out of habit. Yeah, I know, I’m not holding my breath.