Motherhood: The Big, Fat Fuck You

1,430 Comments

kid-middle-finger

I lost it this morning.  Really lost it.

After the kids were all dressed for school, breakfast eaten, teeth brushed, backpacks packed, I turned on the TV.  I have a rule that the kids can only watch certain channels.  There is so much crap on TV – shows geared towards teens and preteens, shows that showcase kids calling other people “idiot” and “stupid” and generally behaving obnoxiously – and in all seriousness, I have a hard enough time keeping my kids under control without exposing them to those kinds of influences and role models.  So the rule is, Mom sets the channel, and you don’t change it without permission.  Annabelle never, ever, ever sticks to this rule.  The moment I walk out of the room, she’s got the remote in her hand, channel-surfing, looking for some obnoxious show featuring smart-ass teenagers.  It happened this morning.  Within thirty seconds of my turning the TV on to Nick Jr. – really for Finn – Annabelle is changing the channel.  “Leave the TV alone, Annabelle,” I said.  I left the room.  A few minutes later, on my way to the kitchen, I saw her there, remote in hand, channel surfing again.  And I lost it.

Screaming and yelling ensued.  Swearing.  “I’VE TOLD YOU A THOUSAND TIMES TO LEAVE THE TV ALONE!!” I shouted.  “GO TO YOUR ROOM!  GO SIT IN YOUR ROOM UNTIL IT’S TIME TO LEAVE FOR SCHOOL.  NOW!!!”  She just stood there staring at me, not moving a muscle.  “GO!!”  I yelled.  All the kids froze in their tracks while I chased – literally chased – Annabelle into her room.  She beat me by a half a second and locked the door against me.  Locked the door!  “I’m going to kill her!”  I muttered.  “MOM!  Are you really going to kill Annabelle?  Did you really just say that?!”  Daisy shrieked.  “OPEN THIS GODDAMN DOOR!”  I yelled.  Annabelle unlocked the door.  “Don’t you ever lock the door against me again!  Do you hear me?!” I yelled at her.

Related post: I Wasn’t A Good Mom

Michael’s trying to calm me.  “Leave me alone!”  I yelled at him.  “I do EVERYTHING for you people – including YOU! – and you all treat me like shit!  Every last one of you!”

I know.  All this over an eight-year old changing the channel on the TV.  But really, of course it’s not just about that.  That was just the straw that broke the camel’s back this morning.  It was my eight-year old changing the channel after I told her not to – again.  It was dealing with Finn tantruming his way through breakfast – again.  It was Joey throwing a dramatic tantrum and copping a major attitude last night when I said no, he could not have an Instagram account (he’s ten, for crying out loud!).  It’s the bickering and tattling all the time.  It’s the “I want, I want, I want” all the time, and the lack of willingness to do much of anything I ask.  Ask somebody to set the table for dinner?  Tell them to clean up their room?  Oh myGOD!  You would think I’m asking them to pull their own fingernails out!  It’s my husband being gone so much of the time and me feeling utterly alone, like I’m dealing with all of this single handedly.

I’m not excusing my losing it this morning.  I’m ashamed.  I wish I held it together better, I really, really do.  And lest I start to sound like my own mother who seemed to believe that her kids were responsible for her happiness/unhappiness but she, the adult, was not responsible for theirs, let me just say that I know kids are kids, they don’t actually mean anything personal by their behavior – I know that, I really do.

Sometimes motherhood just feels like a big, fat Fuck You, though.  This is why people say that motherhood is a hard job.  Not because it’s especially intellectually challenging or physically demanding – I mean it is those things, but there are certainly other pursuits that require for far more intellectual and/or physical output than motherhood.  Not because it requires a great deal of bravery – of course, it does call for that, too, but certainly not as much as being a soldier or a police officer, for instance.  No, it’s not those things.  It’s because it’s so fucking emotionally taxing.  It’s because it’s so incredibly thankless so much of the time.  It’s because I feel like I’ve sacrificed so much of myself for them, and they don’t appreciate it.  It’s because I do and do and do for them, constantly, and it often seems like all I get in return is complaining that it’s not enough – or just outright ignored.  I’m not looking for accolades or awards or fanfare.  I’m not even looking for “thank you.”  It would just be nice to get a little cooperation.  A little respect for the rules – rules which aren’t onerous or unreasonable for crap’s sake!

Related post: To the Unwashed Masses of Mothers

And, you know, it’s hard to admit these things.  Everyone wants to talk about how great motherhood is, how fulfilling it is.  Sometimes it is.  And often, it’s not.  I’m not even sure why I’m writing about it this morning – opening myself up to criticism and judgment, exposing the flaws in the pretty picture.  I don’t want to feel alone, I guess.

After I got back from dropping the kids off at school this morning, I discovered that Annabelle had left her lunch at home.  Who do you think packed the baby and Finn back into the truck to drive her lunch to school?

Because that’s what moms do.

Comments

  1. 1

    KShaw says

    Uh, yep. This, a thousand times, this. I had a meltdown in the car on the way to drop off the kids at school in which I basically said everything that you did. I lost it in such an epic way, I think I may have finally scared my 10yo son into listening. At least for today.
    Being a mom can suck, so hard. Thank you for making me feel like I am not totally alone.

  2. 2

    Sonia says

    You don’t have to be all picture perfect like the stepdads wives . I have twin girls approaching a year and whole I may be a novice , I finds self struggling to hold it together and not lose my mind through the tantrums and meal times

    • 3

      Alexandra says

      Sonia, I have 18 month old twin girls and work full-time. Please know you are not alone and will not lose your mind.If loving them were enough everyone would be a mom. Twins is tough and I am sure you would agree – as hard is it is and jeez, it is tough but they are so worth it, Hang in there!!!!!

    • 4

      Marie says

      Being a caring stepmom I’d say your comment wasn’t fair. Try co-raising a 10 yr old who comes every other weekend and forgets every time the house rules include flushing the toilet. Obviously he doesn’t do it at his mom’s house and then I’ve made out to be “too strict” by his mother. Talk about a thankless job! Maybe at least some day his future wife will appreciate my house rules.

      • 7

        Missy Homemaker says

        Yes, it was meant as Stepford Wives. Otherwise there’s a whole new situation being spoken about with stepdad’s multiple wives :)

      • 8

        Scott says

        I don’t mean to be insulting, but co-parenting for 2 days out of 14 isn’t anything like the actual day-to-day parenting that can grind a person down. Your comments are so out of touch that they really don’t belong at all in this discussion, and it sounds like you’re just taking a chance to snipe at the full time mother’s lack of rules… I call foul… Uncool.

        • 9

          Gillian says

          I’m a full time step-parent, my kid doesn’t get to come every other weekend, he’s there EVERY SINGLE DAY. And i can still sympathize with this blog. Sometimes I lose my mind on him. I have been his mother longer than his bio-mom, and he drives me crazy sometimes. He’s 11, and doesn’t see me as authority even after 6 years and his dad working out of town. We’re slowly becoming buddies though, and he’s grateful that I’m there. But I’ve been known to lose my shit. Step-parenting is a whole new ballgame, but there’s a lot of similiarities to bio-parents. We aren’t perfect either, but our children know we love them.

          • 10

            Mary says

            I LOVE everything you just said! I’m a stepmother to 3 girls ages 6, 13, and 15. And I have one from before I was married (she’s 7) and one with my husband (he’s 8 months). Your post just made me feel like I’m not alone! Step parenting is just as hard if not harder than raising your biological kids. But you love them all the same. SERIOUSLY thank you for posting this! LOVE IT!

        • 11

          Marie says

          Scott

          I’m a full time mom, as well as a part-time mom dealing with the additional troubles of managing a child who deals with rules in two households. There is an advantage to living with children full time that is not enjoyed from kids who have two sets of rules to process. I strive to be a good partner and maintain a positive relationship with the other mother. I am insulted. Stay away from posting on the Internet.

      • 13

        Emily says

        Co raising a child every other weekend is NOT the same as being a full time parent to 3 children while your husband works. You are this child’s dads girlfriend. And basically, like the substitute teacher. Earn the respect instead of tryin to demand it.

        • 14

          Maria says

          Emily, no one is trying to win the “its harder for me” contest. But there are some challenges to being a weekend step parent (trying to set boundaries, but not being able to fully discipline, gaining the child(rens) respect but not having the authority of parent is hard. Dont denigrate someone elses struggles- it takes nothing away from your struggle.

      • 15

        Kristina says

        I’m not a stepmom, but I do coparent. Do you know for a fact that rules aren’t enforced. Maybe she thinks the same things go on at dad’s house that you think go on at her house. Communicate with the other parents involved. Don’t ASSume anything. I’ve done that and it just ends up with a big fight in the end.

    • 16

      Sonia says

      I did mean stepford wives, damn auto correct. I meant to say that getting my act together despite being new to this whole motherhood things is a tremendous task. I wish I could pretend sleep all through half my day and not have to deal with the shit… Literally …

      • 17

        Mary says

        Being a stepmother is so hard! I’m doing it with three girls! Keep your head up mama! We all want to sleep through some days pretending are life isnt what it is.. we are only human.

    • 18

      Lisa Morguess says

      I have twin girls, too! The Annabelle in that piece I wrote is one half of my twins, who will be nine next month. They are by far more of a handful than any of my other kids.

      Sigh.

  3. 19

    ThePioneerMom says

    Holy Hell! Yes! Respect and gratitude are my big ones. It wouldn’t be so hard to be a mother if they had one ounce of appreciation in their bodies or said ‘thank you’ without me turning into the manners police. You are most definitely NOT alone! Venting can be a healthy thing (just not in front of the kids – and I am VERY guilty of doing this myself). It’s so f-ing hard! Hang in there, momma!! XOXO

  4. 20

    The Milk Meg says

    Thank you for sharing what we have all felt! We all have been there and we all would like to yell a big fat fuck you back at motherhood at times. So often mums appear to have it all together when the reality is that it’s damn hard!

  5. 21

    Annie says

    Fuck that! What are you meant to have fine wrong exactly?! Sometimes kids need to know that you are a person too. Not just a robot who makes everything happen and remembers every minute detail of the whole families diary. Well fine for posting this. I often lose it at my kids, but I try to go back and repair the relationship later. That doesn’t mean making them feel like everything they did/said was ok but getting them to understand that I’m a person also. I love your bravery! Thank you for a most helpful post. Annie, UK

    • 22

      says

      Annie – yes, I totally agree that our kids need to know that we’re human – that we have feelings and that we get hurt, annoyed, and just downright exhausted at times. But I think you touched on exactly what I was going to write (@lisa, maybe you already did this…) … we need to go back afterwards and repair the relationship… because as much as we’re not robots, we’re not dictators or overlords either. When we have these breakdowns it isn’t in an effort to scare them straight – it is an outcry of our soul to be heard. I always find it difficult but oh-so-necessary to go back as soon as possible and say “Honey, Mom’s really sorry for (insert behavior here). I was wrong to act that way. I know that isn’t an acceptable way to deal with my emotions and I am trying to do a better job as your mom. Please understand that I was upset because you (insert their behavior here) and that is really frustrating to me – can you help me out and try to not do that anymore? And I’ll try to communicate better. I love you – will you forgive me?” – it sounds very “Dr. Laura” but kids need to be talked to respectfully, especially when you are the one that was in the wrong.

      **High five for similar thoughts**

      -Bethany-

      • 23

        Cold says

        Thank goodness you have put into words in a kind, respectful manner how this mother and her ‘followers’ might do things differently. I was raised by someone who reacted to life like this post, and we do not have the relationship that I wish we did, because I simply don’t respect of like that my mother lost control and screamed like a lunatic. What happened to ‘treat people how you want to be treated?” I can only imagine that if this is a story she feels she should share how she handles the truly difficult things in life. Wow! What about teaching our children self control, limits, patient, self respect, honor…. Geese!

    • 24

      Lauren says

      I totally agree with you, Annie! Children DO need to see their moms as PEOPLE and not just servants etc. And while I do not think children should be made responsible for our happiness, they (esp. the older kids) do need to be aware that their behavior has an impact on other people. That it is not okay to repeatedly act selfishly.

      Bethany, I agree that when we say things out of anger and frustration that we need to go back and explain and maybe even apologize. Kids always need to know that they are loved and respected AND that that love and respect is a two way street!

  6. 26

    Nicole says

    You are definitely not alone. I could’ve written your post and I only have two. I honestly don’t know how you do it. Seven!? Really?! Cuddles to you!

    Trying to Stay Sane Too!

    BTW…I too have written about this – check it out -http://nicolewolf.com/mommy-dearest/

  7. 27

    Kristen Mae at Abandoning Pretense says

    Not only are you not alone, but your honesty here is going to make thousands of women feel a lot less like shit today.

    I had a really rough afternoon with my second-grader yesterday, who brought home math homework that he hadn’t completed in school because he wasn’t paying attention to the lesson. So we worked on the homework. Lot’s of “I can’t” ensued. I tried to stay cool. I really did. I FAILED, EPICALLY, SPECTACULARLY. I thought, “This would make a great blog post. But… no. Too embarrassing. Everyone will think I’m crazy.” And I went to bed thinking that I am a horrible mother. That I don’t even deserve to be a mother. That I’m going to mess my kid up by screaming at him, and he’s going to grow up to hate me.

    Thank you for making me feel a little less crazy.

    • 28

      Liz says

      I have a firm belief that second and third grade homework is a tool of the devil. So glad that I’m not alone in all this!

      • 29

        Lisa Morguess says

        All homework is a tool of the devil. I am currently fighting my school on homework policies . . . and winning :)

    • 30

      Ashley @ It's Fitting says

      God, I feel ya. There are times when I’m like… uhhh, that may have been a BIT over the top that I’m screaming at my kid over homework. Or clearing the table. Or breathing at me too loudly. I was reading the book Love and Logic and I was pretty much the example of what NOT to do. Eff.

    • 31

      Mary says

      You are not crazy love! And like you said she posted something that we all want to say but don’t have the balls! You going to bed and feeling like that is what makes you a GOOD mom. I do the same exact thing anytime I lose my shit with my kids. (Btw. I have a 2nd grader that does the exact thing while doing homework! Deep breaths sometimes don’t even come close to helping! Youre not alone AT ALL!) We are only human.

  8. 33

    Allyson Bossie says

    Ugh, but am I the only one who feels epic guilt later? I so want to be nothing like my mother was. She is mentally ill so in her defense, I am unsure if she can help her various personalities-some of which are down right evil. But when I say things in a melt down from sheer exhaustion, I feel so bad that they might feel as awful as I did, and still do when I dream about my life growing up. Shit haunts you for life, you know? Even with tons of therapy, you can’t stop the dreams..

    • 34

      Tarina says

      Of course you feel guilty. You are human and you know they are just being kids, and you love them. That does not mean you were wrong. <3

    • 35

      Lisa Morguess says

      Of course I feel guilty later. I feel guilty almost all the time. That’s probably a big reason why I wrote about losing my shit – why I write about motherhood at all. The guilt, the guilt.

    • 36

      Missy Homemaker says

      I’d be more worried if a parent went off like this and didn’t feel any guilt. I go off on my kids, and when I’ve cooled down, I apologize for handling things the way I did and let them know what it is I expect them to do differently. That apology goes a long way.

      • 37

        Mary says

        Guilt is what makes us good mothers even if we lose are shit! If guilt wasn’t apart of the after affect we wouldnt be good mothers. I always talk to mine after as well and apologize that mommy had a melt down and explain why I had the meltdown. I absolutely LOVE this blog. I needed this in my life!

    • 38

      Katie says

      It’s hard to parent a certain way if you were not raised in a loving safe environment. I’m pretty sure my mom had a personality disorder when raising us. My father had anger issues due to his past…so it’s difficult to know how to parent the right way if you never had positive examples yourself. Books, parenting classes, other women in your life can be good tools for improving.

  9. 39

    Laurie says

    “It’s because it’s so fucking emotionally taxing.” Yes, yes, yes. I’ve said before that being a mom is such a HUGE emotional mind fuck. And I only have 1 child!! Thanks for keeping it real this morning.

    • 40

      K. C. says

      Laurie, just have to tell you that we used to live a block from Woodland Park! We moved last year, but I still miss the art fair.

      • 41

        Laurie says

        Really? Small world! More than likely (if you had your place listed on lbar) I clicked longingly through the pictures of your place. We’ve been wanting to move to that area of town for a while. One day! :)

  10. 42

    Jess says

    We had similar mornings. I also lost it. I’ve been doing everything around here, more than usual, after my husbands accident. The kids have been behaving worse than usual, and after my 4 year old hid under the table to poop in his underwear after nearly a month of no {intentional} accidents, I just snapped.

    Motherhood does feel like a BIG Fuck You most times.

    Xx

  11. 47

    Chris Gordon says

    Hardest job ever. Sometimes I look at my son and wonder if I am really capable of doing this every day for the rest of forever. And some days, I flip my shit too. Maybe it is in the air this morning. We were not even up for 20 minutes and we already had 2 time outs under our belts. just remember, they will ALWAYS present you with another chance to do better next time…because that's what kids do ;).

    • 48

      Ashley says

      Just curious to why you monitor their tv watching, with all the screaming and cursing you do at them, your not much better than what they would be watching. Can’t understand why you have to swear at kids, they didn’t ask to be born. I raised 8 and I didn’t have to swear and yell constantly to do it. Try doing things with the kids, and get them involved, and they would help out more.

      • 51

        Angela says

        Couldn’t agree more, I was wondering the same thing as well! She sounds ridiculous saying how she monitors their tv…however, turns around and yells, screams, cusses, etc. Pathetic parenting, filled with excuses.

        • 52

          Shell says

          I think the point is that we all have moments we’re not proud of with our kids because in the moment it’s just overwhelming; even the world’s most calm, collected and patient parents have lost it. Motherhood is a club like no other; but instead of criticizing those who own up to their struggles, I think it’s hugely important that we support other moms who are just trying their best and sometimes, feel that they may be falling short. Honestly, nothing pisses me off these days like moms who criticize other well-intentioned moms for not doing it “the right” way. (Especially when it’s a friend or family!)
          Thanks for sharing, Lisa!

          • 53

            Mary says

            Thank you Shell! All those who are going to put this mom down for opening up about something that isnt easy to open up about, get off this blog! Trust me she feels enough guilt for how she acted. No mom is perfect. Get over yourself!

        • 54

          Lisa Phifer says

          Who tells their kids they’re going to kill them????? I can see siblings saying that all the time, but a parent? I think you need some parenting and anger management classes.

          • 55

            SusanMy says

            Me. I’ve said that. I guess I need some anger management classes, too. Guess you (and Angela and Ashley) graduated top of your classes from Holier Than Thou University.

      • 56

        Regina says

        I want to live in Ashley and Angela’s world! Where kids behave all the time and we sing about our feelings and even the woodland critters come to help with chores. La la la la la….

        • 60

          MC says

          BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! Woodland creatures!!! I guess Ashley and Company also whistle while they work…..

          But in all seriousness. This isn’t about making excuses, it’s about sharing experiences and trying to do better and admitting when one has fallen short. So the rest of you get off your damn high-horses. Also, more often it seems that those who judge and berate are just putting on a façade.

      • 61

        momof3 says

        Ashley, I doubt many will appreciate your “holy than thou” attitude. Good for you that you were able to raise 8 kids with such success. It doesn’t always work that way and you SHOULD KNOW THIS. I have spontaneous triplet daughters that will turn 8 soon. They fight constantly and are constantly keeping score of everything in their quest for constant and complete justice and fairness. I am one person. Their father bailed on the full time parenting a couple of years ago and now sees them during the weekends (and he does little more than “baby sit” them during that time).. Our divorce was the only way either of us were able to get a break. It’s people like YOU, Ashley, that keep up the outward charade that parenting is such a beautiful reward, in of itself. Think, next time around, before you post something stupid. Yes, I said stupid, as in “inability to learn” as opposed to “ignorant.” However, obviously I don’t know you; you could be stupid and ignorant.

        • 62

          Cold says

          You are simply a bitch momof3, who your x has to be celebrating he no longer has to deal with daily. The woman above, was kind in her approach. A person who markets themselves as ‘scary mommy’ needs psych help hands down and apparently you do to.

  12. 63

    Jamie says

    I have definitely had a few moments like this as well. You are very brave to put this out there into the universe because you know that some people are going to have a field day with it.

  13. 64

    Jessica Richard says

    I am so glad someone has the courage to state this in a public forum. I think all mom's feel like this sometimes…and in those times, we feel like we are all alone, like we are the only ones who are the world's worst mother. Nice to know it isn't just me.

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