Last night we had dinner at my mom’s house, something I’d been looking forward to for days. Sometimes it feels like a luxury to go somewhere for dinner, and have someone else actually cook for you.
I gave my kids the talk in the car on the way there about minding their manners. I may have older kids, but they still need reminders about how to behave when they are a guest in someone’s home.
As soon as we sat down to a nice dinner, the talk about bathroom habits started. I gave them my best “You better shut your face right now or you are done” eyes, but they looked right through me, as if to say, “Try again, Ma,” so I used my words and told them they better stop or else.
That worked for exactly two minutes, before they started in again. Then my youngest started rolling around on the floor asking about dessert like a freaking heathen.
That was my breaking point. I started yelling — and lo and behold, they finally listened.
My kids constantly ask me why I yell so much. And when we go out in public, I have no problem raising my voice and adding to the shitshow my three kids are causing. Two can play at this game — if they are going to act inappropriately, I am going to call them out on it, and I don’t care if they get embarrassed.
I’ve yet to understand why parents need to lose their shit in order to be heard. It’s a well-known fact that partners and children don’t take you seriously until your face turns red and your head starts to spin around and looks like it’s about to blow off.
So much could be avoided (especially hoarseness and lost screen time) if they just did what they were told the first time they were told to do it. Or if they’d stop acting like assholes as soon as you gave them “the look.”
I have no clue why warnings don’t work, but they don’t. We have to get all loud and up in our kids’ grill in order to be seen and heard so that’s what we do because dammit it all to hell, we are going to be seen and heard.
Moms are constantly repeating ourselves and wondering how our families can’t know how to avoid making us yell, scream, and punish them by now. Everyone’s life would be so much easier if they didn’t make us go from 0 to 60 in under 2 seconds — it seems so simple.
It doesn’t matter which electronics or snacks you take away. It doesn’t matter how many time-outs you give. They either forget, or don’t give enough fucks and would rather indulge in seemingly satisfying bad behavior in the moment.
After I made a scene in Target a few weeks ago because my kids were acting like hellions, I told them I think they like it when I fly off the handle and take things away from them. If they didn’t, certainly they’d straighten the fuck out so we can stop this ridiculousness.
They know, whether I have my voice or not, I always win in the end. I don’t know why they have to bring me to my breaking point because it makes things worse for all of us.
But after 15 years of parenting I’m hopeful they will eventually have a light bulb moment and realize life would be straight up magical for all of us if they just followed the damn rules.
I’ll just be over here waiting, losing my damn voice in the meantime.
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