When my middle, AD, was little, he was obsessed with sweatpants, “soft pants” he would call them. He wore nothing else. A pair of jeans would be equivalent, for him, to wearing tuxedo pants with dried crusted starch ironed into the lining. And I, the ever-accepting
lazy ass mother that I am, pretty much allowed him to wear what he pleased. This goes for the other two as well. I have never been a big “pressurer” of clothes. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I look at those photos on Fakebook and see those adorable kids matching and wish I had the energy to fight that battle. But it’s one of those ones I’ve let go … along with matching socks, flossing, and healthy eating.
But occasionally, and I mean OCCASIONALLY, they have to wear something nice. It just is what it is. Whether we are going to church or the country club or wherever. Yes, I said country club (and church too, but I’ve already covered that). Not mine, of course. We don’t belong – as shocking as that is. But my dad and his wife do and they have somehow gathered up the nerve to invite us to a few events. Trust me, I’m sure those were long, deep discussions involving booze and cigarettes, in the dark hours of the early morning, in a room with no windows … until they finally caved to my 10 year old brother’s endless begging to include us. He and my kids have a mutual admiration society going and they will do just about anything to spend time together. But let’s face facts. We are a hit or miss family. You never know what you’re gonna get. Wild uncontrollable screaming is not uncommon.
Anyway, yesterday was one of those days and surprisingly the boys were cooperative. My only dilemma with them was that, since I only buy “fancy clothes” once a year, nothing was fitting. (by the way, “fancy clothes” are polo shirts and plaid shorts … not business suits with ties) So AD went in a polo shirt with basketball shorts.
The girl, though … holy crap. Let’s just say this: much to my husband’s delight, I am NOT in any way, shape or form raising a girly-girl. She’s not really a full blown tomboy either, but she treats a dress like I’m asking her to pour volcanic liquid over her body. *And she’s not the least bit dramatic about it.
The two rules my stepmother told me for dress code for our country club visit were no tank tops and no cut-offs. (and by the way, taking a kid to any place that has a dress code is a recipe for disaster … that’s just parenting 101, people) What does Munch come down dressed in? You got it. I am fully aware that asking her to change is going to create full blown drama. There’s no avoiding it.
I truly hate that feeling. The knowing. I wish I had an actual, physical shield for these moments. They need to make one of those. The tantrum shield … for those moments when you’re kids blow up in your face and you’d like to remain calm. I feel those couple seconds between seeing the infraction and voicing it out loud to the child … those seconds in-between, are the story of my life. And the decision to care or not to care. The decision to fight or not to fight. The decision to make a point or let it go. This is the crux of my life right now. And it sucks.
Because there is no right answer. There is no wrong answer. Just what you decide on that particular day at that particular time. Oh, and by the way, I suck at decisions. And then you have to follow through.
And I SUCK at follow through. We’ve all been there – where we’ve taken something away from them and then immediately panicked and wondered why in god’s name we would do that to OURSELVES. God knows I’ve taken away video games or TV only to break into a rapid, furious, cold sweat knowing that they’d be up my ass begging for a playmate (i.e. me) for the next two hours.
And say you’re going to take a stand. Be strong! Be the parent!! Then
according to Dr. Phil you’re supposed to remain calm. No yelling. No scarring them for life by saying crazy things like, “Are you an animal? Is that what I’m dealing with now???” The amount of times I’ve controlled myself from saying, “Are you FUCKING kidding me?” should qualify me for some kind of award. The ‘Are You Fucking Kidding Me’ Award, perhaps? Maybe, as your prize, you get to talk to rational sane people for an entire day. I don’t even know what that is anymore.
So I sit in that moment. And I drift back and forth. And I make decisions that then require me sit in that moment again. Over and over. And I wonder just how much I’m screwing them up. And, on occasion, when it gets too tough, I hide in my bathroom and pretend I’m Helen Keller. Seriously, that girl was one lucky bitch.
*She is completely 100% dramatic about it.