‘Slap my bitch’

I think by most counts, I could be considered a pretty wholesome person. I have a secret desire to be a slightly ‘edgy’ mom/wife but anyone that actually knows me knows that is laughable, if not down right hysterical. I am in no way smooth enough to be hip or edgy and being the ‘cool’ mom boils down to me willing to drive my 14 year old to Speed and Strength workouts at six friggen thirty in the a.m. every morning.

Any mishap of coolness on my part is more than likely just that–a mishap. I have recently become very aware that my 8 year old daughter loves to sing and actually knows the words to most of the songs on the radio. When I hear her singing about broken hearts or scorned women, or toes in the sand, I try to remember she doesn’t really know what she is singing about. After all, one of the very first songs she responded enthusiastically to was, ironically, Crazy by Cee Lo Green. I mean, come on–who can’t really relate to that one?! Ok, so not exactly Mary Had a Little Lamb but she was little. I was trying to get motivated to clean the house without the use of a pressure washer and snow shovel this morning and turned some music on on the tv. I found an underground club techno station that had some really fast, upbeat music that made the kids giggle and want to dance and hell, they were even cleaning so I figured it was all right. We stayed busy for a while and a new song came on that had a repeated line that I couldn’t quite catch as I was scrubbing dishes but I didn’t pay much attention. I happened to go through the living room and glanced at the screen and saw the displayed title of the song on the tv screen and much to my horror it was ‘Slap My Bitch’. WTF!?!?! I nearly killed myself getting to the tv to change the station and cover my babies’ ears at the same time and of course, once I saw the words, I could decipher it very plainly as some asshole repeatedly chants ‘Slap My Bitch’ in the background of the dance music. I don’t think the kids caught it, I hope not, as their chorus of groans further appalled me when I abruptly cut off their dancing music, but its hard to tell.

I recently read an article about how women shouldn’t consider being called ‘bitch’ an insult, but as empowering. No thanks. I’ll stay the podunk, backwoods, lame and boring housewife and mama and attempt to retain some of my dignity (somewhat diminished after tripping over furniture and toys this morning) and dare I say class and refute the claim that being called a ‘bitch’ could, in any way, be a compliment. Nor do I EVER want my daughters or my sons to become that desensitized. I can tell you right now who would be getting slapped if I heard my sons ever utter the phrase ‘slap my bitch’.  

This is most definitely a world where role models are most often mistakenly celebrities and musicians and what is it that they are actually inspiring? I have so often heard the phrase ‘that’s just the norm for kids now days’ it makes steam come out of my ears. That is the biggest cop out for parenting that I have ever heard! And don’t get me wrong, I know it is not easy to be a parent now days, but that does not remove any responsibility. We have a duty and responsibility to be the filter for our children.  Or correct the mistake, as in my case. Every child grows and matures at a different rate so don’t tell me every 10 year old has a cell phone or ipad, or that they all should. Because, let’s be honest, they cannot handle that responsibility and it will bring drama and trouble-it is the same with any other form of media. Don’t accept that as normal. Society is incredibly deceptive in convincing us as to what is acceptable, modern behavior and necessary items for our children.

Teenagers (obviously younger than 13, too, as I pointed out my daughter of 8 years is already developing her favorites) are going to want to listen to different music and will connect with certain musicians. But if they listen to music that is bluntly degrading, why would you be surprised if they treat their parents, sisters, future girlfriends poorly with little or no respect? The same goes for the girls–being nasty, vindictive, and selfish seems to be basic training for elementary, let alone high school and beyond.

From what I can tell, my kids are blissfully aware of my mommy blunder this morning and will have no knowledge that our ‘awsome’ cleaning song was actually ‘Slap My Bitch’ and I will try and scrub the memory of them innocently giggling and dancing to it from my mind!

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If only I could be perfect like my teenager…..

I am learning that one of the most valuable skills a person can have is the ability to take criticism. And how do we teach that to our children in a world saturated with lazy children and instant gratification? That criticism or even to be corrected (or heaven forbid, actually disciplined) isn’t the end of the world and is an attempt to improve, or adjust one’s behavior. If only I could be perfect like my teenager…….if only I could always be right and never doubt my resolve. If only I could be singularly selfish and only care about the ridiculous drama that only occurs in your teenage years. And it’s not like I am not painfully embarrassed by my own memories of severe injustice inflicted upon me by my own parents. The shame…..unfortunately, if we are lucky, it will be years before or oldest begins to taste the shame of the arrogant disrespect he has shown us.

Case in point: Our neighbor lady for whom I work asked for help weeding her flower beds last night. She said all the kids could come, it was a beautiful day. So when my oldest got home from school, I told him he had a choice-he could come with me or he could go to town with his dad, but he was NOT going to sit home by himself playing on the computer or watching tv. Of course, he adamantly denied that he would do either and said he had planned on doing his math homework (yeah, right–if only I thought all people beside myself were idiots, I too, could be as wise as my teenager). So the sullen attitude kicks in as he contemplates throwing himself from the vehicle as we drive to the neighbor’s. Once there I was surprised to see him get out of the vehicle. Oh, crap. I had assumed he would go to town so now I am stuck with for children AND a crabby teenager. If I had been smart (like my teenager) I would have video  taped his lazy, rude behavior to show him exactly how he appears to other people. Our neighbor lives on a dairy farm so by comparison, her 16 year old son truly does know what work is–he awakens early every morning for chores and does chores every night, often many many chores in between. Things that must be done and cannot be neglected. That teenager is a man. By all accounts, mine is a ‘good kid’. But does he know what real resonsibility is? Accountability? No. While I weeded and the little kids ran around and tried to help, he begrudgingly did a few pitiful jobs and would plop back down in the patio chair, snap at the children, argue with my oldest daughter and make them fuss and cry. The confusion of what authority he thinks he has over them is infuriating. When he thinks he can supercede me, I want to put him over my knee and spank him like the bratty little child he is. But he is 6 foot and I am not sure I could pull that off anymore. It is embarassing, as he gets after the kids about something I said they could do and then chews me out in front of one of my peers. There is no self awareness, only injustice as his stupid mother doesn’t listen to him. What does she know about raising children, anyway? And to further add insult to injury, I took away his cell phone (text was taken away months ago for good reason) and told him he was not allowed to go to the movies as planned tonight because he continued to show disrespect this morning. If only I could feel as self rightous in my actions. Truly, I must be gifted with a child prodigy of infinite wisdom and rightousness. Oh, and if only I could be the perfect martyr, as he is. How unfair he has it. Lucky me, I get to see which son will come home from school this afternoon–will it be Dr. Jekyll, who will kiss my ass, tell me what a wonderful mommy I am and how much he loves me in hopes that I will change my mind and let him go to the movies? Or will it be the crabby, grouching, insufferable Mr. Hyde who will make it clear his life is but one miserable day after another and that he has been cursed with the drudgery of having to endure this ignorant, oblivious family to the gift that is him? Ah, if only I could be more like him, everything would be perfect.

The winds of change…..are rank and fleeting

I sometimes daydream about what our household could/should run like. Obedient, polite children who only need to be asked once or even better, just  know what their responsibilites are and fulfill them dutifully. A beautiful, tidy home where our children’s friends love to come and visit and leave wishing their parents were as cool as we are.

Reality….there is usually at least one or more partially clothed or naked child streaking through the house at any given time during the day. If the house happens to be tidy in one corner, it usually means another corner looks like a bomb has gone off.

It seems to come and go in cycles. Especially since I started homeschooling Piper and Cabel, I feel an incredible need to keep the house tidy and stay up on the dishes. It’s not bad! I actually enjoy that the day is more structured. That change has been unexpected and sweet and I hope it stays. I feel more productive and like I am fulfilling my true potential as a mother. I am teaching them skills and watching them learn, grow in confidence and express their happiness and get the instant gratification of seeing the pride on their face when they are praised.

The other side of that is when you are forced to ask your lovely, beautiful, sweet children for help cleaning the house. Abruptly, they turn in to whiney, teeth gnashing, screaming, ogres. And when the husband is around to ‘help’…..*sigh*…..sometimes it is nice not having to be the naggy mom. Having him yell at the kids from his recliner isn’t ideal, but at least it isn’t coming from me for once! I think it’s important he see how hard it is to keep house with 5 (let’s say 6, who are we kidding!) little piggies running amuck. The whole point is consistency is hard! It absolutely would be ‘easier’ to just do it myself than try and train the kids to pitch in. If the day were 36 hours long and I were Mary Poppins. But Mary Poppins I am not and the wind that blows over here when mom an dad get fed up with lazy children is not sweet! I would like to think our efforts would effect a permenant change in their thinking….and ephiphany that if they did their little part each day, it wouldn’t take nearly as long or be nearly as terrible. The sweet irony is the one that was the most angry about having to help clean was my oldest, Anthony–the silent treatment, sullen face, beligerent attitude of a 14 year old. Even he admitted he was glad the house was clean(er)  when it was done–everyone feels better. I would like to think all the yelling tonight, grueling persistence, made an impact that will set a precedent from now on.

But let’s face it….the kids will be busy….I’ll get busy…..the house will slip back and so will the new rules. I do dread the cycle that mandates I get fed up with being everyone’s maid, the eyeball develops the telltale twitch and I begin muttering to myself while I angrily scrub at dishes in the sink. You can almost smell the change of the wind…..at the first whiff, the kids get a little cagey and over affectionate like they hope they might be able to escape the impending whirlwind. But no one is safe! To be perfectly honest, I am aware that if I were only more consistent in those rules, I might not have such a terrible time. But I don’t know if I have it in me to be that relentless. Which is why the winds of change will remain a bit rank and fleeting around here!  The end of of a long night, I kissed all my babies goodnight and thanked, thanked them for getting it all done and thanked God for our five little blessings.

Pet Pickles

 

It seems crazy sometimes, surreal, even, how no matter how stressful and awful circumstances are there can always be laughter. These days, laughter is much needed. My oldest son has been struggling with POTS (Postular Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) and very often feels terrible. It kind of depends on the day–some days he wants to crawl in my my lap and just wants me to comfort him (which would be difficult considering he is a 6 foot 14 year old!) and other days, I am the enemy who doesn’t understand what he is going through. It creates strain, to say the least.

Living with five children creates a bit of constant unknown as a given…..I wish I could say I had these perfectly behaved, predictable children, but that would be…well, boring! Even though my youngest is 2, she does not sleep through the night. My husband likes to make fun of me for, if the house is oddly quiet and I happen to be sitting a comfortable position, I pass out like I was hit by a truck. But the other night, I managed to stay up with him until 2 am working on our taxes. Not much of a husband/wife bonding night, but we got it done. In the morning, my oldest had to be driven in to school early for a math compeition he was going to and I somehow rolled out of bed, blindly downed coffee until I could see through the blur and delivered him to the school. I got back to the house just in time to meet Teagen, our 3 (soon to be 4) year old coming down the stairs. She muttered a good morning as I went past her up the stairs and headed down for her morning cartoons. I passed her bedroom and glanced in when something caught my eye. I stopped and squinted–the sun was just coming up and the light was dim in the room she shares with her sisters. I impulsively took another step towards her room. I could see a half dozen or so oblong shaped objects on Teagen’s bed. My first thought…’did she seriously crap on her bed!? Why would she crap on her bed?’ I squint and shake my head some more–I must just be tired–squint some more….definitely something there. Crap. I vaguely recalled she was still wearing her diaper when I passed her on the stairs and dismiss her as the guilty party. Teagen shares her bed with her little sister Aiden so my mind flitted to the next possible culprit, all the while, I am afraid to step any closer to the bed and continue to squint at the offending turds (are those seriously turds on my daughters’ bed!?). It couldn’t have been Aiden–she came to our bed, as she usually does, at some point after I went to bed and I know she still had her diaper on. Well, what the hell……the cat. That fucking cat. Are those seriously king size cat turds on the bed? Those are some pretty big fricking cat turds.  If the cat actually shit on my kids’ bed he is out the door. Why would he do that? He has never done that before…..I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and muster the courage to walk over to the bed and take a closer look and confusion takes over. Pickles. A bunch of slightly dried, wrinkly green/brown pickles. What….the….hell? Oddly, as confusing at it was to see a pile of pickles on the bed, it is Teagen so there is a certain amount of dismissal when it comes to her odd little mind. My husband happened to be passing by the room and I found it irresistable not to call him over and have him look at the bed as well. The narrowing of his blue eyes when they landed on the bed and saw the offending turd shapes quickly followed by the obvious disgusting conclusion and repulsion and the apprehension as I can no longer hold in my laughter and encourage him to touch one!

Teagen has established a history in her 3 short years of being ridiculously practical in her theories of why she does what she does. Wacking off all her hair was of course, just because it bugged her and she was quite confident in her hair cutting skills. The bald spots have filled in, finally. It honestly didn’t even occur to me to ask her why she had pickles in her bed until my sister asked me what she said. It’s Teagen–who knows? So I did ask her. She knew she wasn’t supposed to have food in their room so she smuggled a bowl of pickles into the room right before bed time. She carefully hid them while I tucked them in and said goodnight, turning off the light. She quite happily munched her pickles in the dark until the bowl spilled, spilling pickle juice all over her sheet and cold pickles all over. Being the smart, committed bugger she is, she knew turning the light on would alert her older sister, drawing attention to herself and of course, my attention to what the commotion was. So of course, it only makes sense that she slept all night with her little pet pickles, the only complaint being that they were cold, at first! How much I love each of my children and their ability to make me shake my head in wonder as to how their little brains work! It makes the dark days bright and is the constant reminder of how God has blessed us in ways we don’t understand.

Ouch…..hello truth

We got our homeschooling supplies today. Can honestly say I found it a little hard to breath unpacking all the books, work books, reading material. I better not let them down! But thank goodness children have a way of bringing every irrational thought completely down to earth.

I was washing my 7 year old, Piper’s, hair (yes, I still closely supervise baths for all the little ones, lest the crust behind their ears begins to build) and she asked me a very simple question- ‘Mom, when can we all go swimming together?’ I replied with a very non-committal, oh, some time, we’ll go, typical response for a parent wishing to avoid making a concrete plan. She then asked my why I never go swimming with them and I briefly debated skimming over that as well. Too much truth? Being too evasive? I opted for brutal, uncomfortable truth. At this point, I just don’t feel comfortable in a swimsuit. Her childish perspective was as always, very practical. ‘Mom, why don’t you just get one of those swimsuits that look like pants? Then people won’t think you’re fat.’  AHHH! I see! Cause seeing all 5 feet 7 inches of me being the only one at the pool wearing a whole body suit wouldn’t draw attention to my extra 60 lbs at all! I keep trying to gear up for the motivation to start a diet, get on the exercise bandwagon….Lord knows I have at least 5 reasons as to why I should! So why is it so hard? Even after all this time it still stung just a little to hear my daughter acknowledge that she thinks of me as fat, has accepted it, and decided the best course of action is to cover it up and get on with living! And believe me, she wasn’t being rude or disrespectful….only being perfectly honest. I know all the things I need to be doing…..so why is it so hard to put them into action? If I can give 110% to my children’t education being a success, why can’t I do this little thing for myself? Why is it so much harder to focus on oneself? Readily, I find myself preferring to think about their schedule and the challenges we will have than my own struggle to put down the fork and get on the treadmill. A clear aversion to a subject that is host to many failures. Is it possible to save a little effort for me? I guess I’ll find out! Or I will be suffering the indignity of having to post a picture of myself wearing a bodysuit at the pool with my children…..

I like the gray…..

Do you ever have the realization that you don’t really know that much about yourself? Perhaps it is a midlife crisis. One’s teenage years are so dramatic–everything is a big deal. So many life altering decisions in prepearation for the long awaited adulthood. And then it comes….ADULTHOOD. Issues that you theorized about in high school are very real and much more difficult to navigate. People get hurt. People get mad at you. You get mad at other people. I very much like the gray. It’s like that old shitty sweatshirt you never get rid of covered with stains, tattered sleeves and worn out spots but you love the way it feels, like a security blanket. It’s so comfortable. Why does everything have to be so black and white? Why do I have to take one side or the other? Why do I have to have an opinion that will make one person mad, the other dissappointed, and yet another scoff at my lack of backbone?

Here’s the problem. Children. I want strong, confident children. The realization that I could no longer avoid religion came crashing down when my first born questioned why he had to be good. ‘Because I said so’ was just so weak. And inadequate. Because I want you to go to heaven one day. Because I want you to be a strong moral character. I want you to know Jesus in your heart. I want you to be saved even if I doubt my own ability to be saved. With a Catholic mother and a father who claimed to be athiest, religion has been a little confusing. But I can’t be gray for my children. I had to decide.

Today I started homeschooling my two children. My 7 year old did well in school but this year really struggled with 2nd grade math. Her teacher kept saying she lacked confidence, which blew me away. This is the girl that doesn’t want to get off the stage at her piano recital. Who on the fly sang a solo in front of the entire church. Confidence?! We had so many conversations, her and I. She felt like she was just falling further and further behind. And she wanted to do well! I was unprepared for the passionate response. Everyone had an opinion. Everyone knew what was best for our children. I had no idea people would be so upset. She is my kid, after all. It was incredibly uncomfortable for a person who didn’t like to be in the spotlight at her own wedding. But for someone who is secretly slightly uncomfortable, still, admitting I believe in God, He always has a way of intervening that leaves little doubt. About to call it quits after the first couple hours because I couldn’t get my crap printer to print, the UPS showed up at my door with a brand new printer from the homeschool program. Three days before any of the other supplies are supposed to get here. And then after submitting my daughter’s math assessment, despite reaasureance from the public school that she was ‘on track’ and would be fine by the end of the year, it was decided that she needed to start at the beginning of 2nd grade and repeat the entire first semester in math. That’s it. I am no longer in the gray. That was confirmation of my fears and worries and validation that she needed intervention lest she become another child not left behind, and that I am doing right be here as her mother. The uncomfortable feeling of being judged by other’s no longer matters.

It is hard to look in the mirror and be left with a feeling of…..lacking. The gray has been my comfortable home for a long time. It is a place of non-decisions….safe emotion…..devoid of real commitment. But for my children, if I want to be the mother of my heart, I have to leave the gray behind. I have to address all those horrible passion filled issues that were just theoretical in high school. And I have to choose. Choose not to be a wall flower. Choose to stand behind my decisions. And that’s so scary cause even though I know that’s what I need to do for myself and my children, I still like the gray….