My six year-old rolls around the carpet of my floor while I try to squeeze in my half hour on the elliptical and try to finish up an episode of Masters of Sex, which is now on pause because of the rolling child who is supposed to be out front with my husband and his brothers doing yard work.
“What’s the matter?” I ask, each word a small puff of exertion.
His head is somehow underneath his behind and he mutters something I can’t make out. “I don’t understand what you’re saying when you’re upside down and talking to your butt.”
That gets him all silly. “Hi butt!” He says, “How ya doing?”
I wait for the ridiculous to work itself out so I can find out the actual problem and get back to my show. Finally, he sits up and the frustration bursts out in a gush, “I wanted to rake, but daddy said I can’t and he let everyone else!”
Apparently it is serious.
“Did you ask daddy if you could rake too?” I ask.
“YES!” He exclaims completely exasperated.
There must be more to the story but I work with what I’ve got, “Well, maybe there aren’t enough rakes. Did you ask to take turns?”
There is no way he did this.
“He wants me to shovel,” He complains. “I don’t want to shovel!”
“Shoveling is fun!” I say, “Why don’t you try for a little and then switch with one of your brothers.”
“I don’t want to shovel. I want to rake!”
I’ve got about 12 minutes more on this machine and I have exhausted my diplomacy skills. I can see that without physically going outside, my child will continue whining and waiting for my help. That’s when I stop trying to solve his problem and focus on a few of my own.
“Well, I know you haven’t brushed your teeth yet. Please go do that.”
He looks at me horrified. That’s not why he came to see me. He wanted retribution not a chore.
But that’s what I do to my children. Sometimes it happens right at the beginning and sometimes it closes out the conversation, but ultimately I seem to turn every interaction into a nag.
Imagine you’re contently sitting on the chair watching your favorite episode of Austin and Alley?
I’ll interrupt, “Don’t you have homework to do?”
Maybe you just finished your lunch.
I’ll remind, “Don’t forget to put your dish in the sink.”
You innocently walk into the kitchen for a hug.
I’ll note afterwards, “Gee, looks like the recyclables haven’t been done for a while.”
You’re happily brandishing a large bag of gummies from the candy store
I’ll scold, “You haven’t eaten dinner yet.”
You’re so excited that Daddy said you can watch a movie.
I’ll look at the clock, shake my head and tsk, “Sorry guys, it’s late and there’s school tomorrow.”
I’m the bearer of bad news; the annoying voice that always interrupts their games, their fun, their relaxation. I’m Debbie downer. I’m the waa waa waa. I’m… I’m the annoying mom!!
So be it.
At least I’ve managed a few extra minutes on my elliptical and my kid has clean teeth. Now get outta here. Don’t you have some work you should be doing? And comb your hair.
I’ve still got seven minutes.
Someone has to be the bad guy and it usually falls on the shoulder of the one we call ‘Mother’! You would think after awhile they would steer clear of you. LOL!
i know! how do they not get it??
I’M NOT LISTENINNNNNNNNNNG!
Ha! Well then, i’m taking away your iPhone. And beer.
You can have my iPhone! My Android is much better anyhow!
i see you’re not parting with the beer so fast..
Lol. I don’t do beer. You can have that, too.
dang! i’ll find the weakness! haha
warm cookies and scotch?
I actually gave up alcohol for the most part, but I love me some cookies.
just go clean your room! 😉
It IS clean!
We just got a treadmill and I love it but I do NOT love getting interrupted by a small person with a problem.
redirection! it’s crucial! ‘oh, i’m so glad you came in. i need you to go….clean your toys, help your brother, wash your hands… Or you can just go draw quietly till i’m done. Yeah, thought so.
I. Miss. Those. Days. Ah, your post brings me back…
i love it even when i’m bitching about it. 🙂
Oh yeah, that’s me, too. I call the hubs “fun dad” and I’m “mean mommy.” It’s just the roles we play. I’m good at it. Might as well go with your strengths, right? 😉
exactly. i’m the hugger and ice cream giver too. so there’s that.
I wish my kid wanted to rake! This is sweet, actually. My youngest is 10 so I don’t get those interruptions anymore (and in a weird way, I kind of miss that).
i know. i bitch but i love it. 🙂
And it never ends…I have variations of the same conversation with my 16 yo…but he rarely talks to his own butt..
well, not to brag but my kid is pretty talented. 😉
Whatever it takes to get those 30 minutes in!
to be fair, i was being a pig. it was the weekend and for me, that’s bonus exercise…
“ultimately I seem to turn every interaction into a nag.” OMG ME TOO.
I *want* to be the cool mom, i really do. But not as badly as I want the dentist to stop shaming me for the state of my kid’s teeth.
we can’t win. better to just accept it and balance the scales with ice cream.
How fast were you going, okay then take two scoops!
i definitely burned extra with the added anxiety. 😉
Wow. You have shown me the light. I will be an annoying mom and have a kid with clean teeth too. It’s my goal now.
yeah! my nagging is inspiring!
Yay – I’m the annoying mom too! Deep down I think they love it though. My youngest is 17 and I still get the irritating questions at the wrong time.
ha! they never learn – or you’re right – they secretly love it!
I was a champion at redirecting when my kids were small. And “brush your teeth” was one of my go-to things to say!
redirection!! it’s a parent’s secret weapon!
My friends son once called her a fun crusher and we decided that was the perfect way to describe motherhood!! Lol!
yup! crush crush stomp stomp! hahaah!
This was wonderful.
Why Miss M, a pleasure to see you. Thanks. 🙂
I love you. That’s it.
ha! i’ll take that love! much better than my kids’ faces screwed up in annoyance. 🙂
The good news is that they eventually get it.
i don’t know… i’ve got boys.. 😉
Raking is so much more funner than shoveling. Obviously! Duh! Hey, as a parent you have to use whatever tactics you can to get a few minutes of time to yourself. Bravo.
yup, can’t be a mom without a trick (or a lollipop) up your sleeve.
I’ve often used “Well you haven’t brushed your teeth/hair, so go do that!”
Always a joy to read your anecdotes.
This is brilliant. Must steal the distract and destroy tactic. I am quite the nag too, but I’ve never thought to use the nag so cunningly. You are my new hero 🙂
ha! thank you! it’s nice to be someone’s hero instead of the villain. 😉
Thank you for giving me another tactic to try. 🙂
whatever works… after that i start tossing out lollipops.