It is a fact of parenting: Children will fight over stupid things. Maybe it’s your 3-year-old screaming like a howler monkey from the jungles of South America because she can’t catch your 1-year-old who doesn’t even know they are playing a game of tag. Or maybe it’s your 3- and 4-year-olds stepping into the WWE ring because they both want the Slinky. God forbid they play together.
Sibling rivalry is an epidemic that has been sweeping the nation for decades. The constant sibling bickering leaves moms feeling burned-out and frantically searching for the exit sign. When moms can no longer keep their head above water, they accept their inevitable membership into The Moms of Siblings Who Fight Club.
Moms pay a one-time membership fee — the loss of their sanity — before beginning the five-step initiation process in order to gain support from other mothers experiencing the same psychological stress.
Here are the five initiation steps into the club you don’t actually want to join (but really have no choice):
1. Yell “We don’t yell in house!” as your kids holler at each other. Finish the rebel yell with a confident head nod.
2. Repeatedly tell your warring children to use “I care” language. And when I say “repeatedly,” I mean all day long. At this point, settling for “I feel frustrated that you’re a poopy head” is acceptable.
3. Wear sunglasses in the house. The fighting will hurt your eyes, and laboratory experiments prove sunglasses protect your pupils — and sanity.
4. Randomly yell “No!” and “That’s inappropriate!” just to keep your kids in check.
5. Put your tiny warriors in time-out. Limp to the kitchen and slam back a glass of wine (or two). Grab your cup of cold coffee you forgot in the microwave and use it as a chaser. Wine will sedate your nerves, and coffee will give you something to look forward to, resulting in finding those happy feelings again.
Congratulations, you’ve just been accepted into the worst club ever. After surviving the initiation steps, you are left with one question: Is there a free bottle of wine that comes with this initiation?
If not, why? One cannot possibly afford all the bottles of wine needed to survive this stage of parenting.
In an exclusive interview, a mom shared her experience of the initiation: “It made me want to say yes to my husband’s one and only Christmas wish list item — a vasectomy. Maybe Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz had the right idea. Some days, it doesn’t seem like a bad idea being swept up by a tornado. But then I’d land among more little people, and I can’t handle that shit right now.”
Another member of the club confessed, “My family thinks I work for the insurance.” Then she leaned forward, cupping her mouth with her hand. “Work is my vacation,” she whispered.
This mom club is full of these dirty little secrets. Revealing them is how we cope with the mental discomfort resulting from initiation.
Despite its challenges, The Moms of Siblings Who Fight Club has its benefits. For instance, being a sibling-conflict mediator reveals super-strengths moms didn’t even know they possessed, like self-control to refrain from cursing or just hiding in the closet with a glass of wine.
Also, the club is a safe haven where moms can protect themselves from the negative outcomes of refereeing their children’s boxing matches. Examples of negative outcomes may consist of, but are not limited to, extreme self-criticism, unstable emotions, manifestation of two or more personalities within oneself, irritability, unethical behavior, wandering about in a confused manner, disorganized speech, and extreme fatigue.
The club’s greatest advantage, though, is a sense of belonging and connectedness. United in a common cause, moms discover their identity and value. Together (and with wine and coffee), we can overcome this phase of motherhood. We are strong. We are resilient.
Cheers to you, fellow members of The Moms of Siblings Who Fight Club.
“Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor” –Effie Trinket