I try to be a peaceful parent. I really freaking try. I wake up before my darling children’s eyelids open. I meditate. Most days, I choke down a glass of disgusting warm lemon water that is supposed to bring enlightenment to the bacteria living in my gut or some shit. I breathe. I look at my to-do list. I think to myself, I won’t yell at those short people today. I won’t tell them to hurry up. I won’t tell them to get their heads out of their butts. I’ll be a loving, kind, and patient mother. I’ve got this.
And then my children wake up.
And right away, I am so smitten with their sleepy little faces and warm bodies that I want to bite into the apples of their cheeks. They are so delicious with their bed heads and their own special stinkiness. They snuggle close and I want them to be small forever and always love me the most. I understand that being a parent is a miraculous, wondrous thing.
They start to whine and grumble. They don’t know what they want for breakfast. Their favorite pants/dress/socks/underwear aren’t clean. All of our snacks are the grossest ever. Any lunch suggestions are met with hysteria. The hair combing that has been done every day of their lives is a huge surprise to them. They stand, as if in a coma, for minutes at a time just staring into space. Every last shoe has apparently been raptured up in the night. They physically cannot speak words to each other without snarling like feral wolves. The bus will be arriving in five minutes, and I know that it takes seven minutes for them to put their shoes and socks and coats on. All of their homework is suddenly lost. Their toothbrushes are lost. Their super special rock that they must have that day for show-and-tell is lost. All hope is lost. I understand that being a parent is a horrifying, disastrous thing.
And then I am no longer the Zen mother that I aspire to be when my children are still sleeping.
In fact, I don’t even know who that lady is or what she was smoking. I am not loving, kind, or patient. I am not breathing or meditating or living in the moment. I’m not calm or focused on my children’s emotional states or their fragile egos or their special freaking rocks. I just want them to move faster than a bloody sloth crawling through a vat of pudding. I want them to move faster than the freaking melting polar ice caps. I am thinking only of me and my selfish need for a hot cup of coffee before work. I am only thinking that if they miss the bus, my morning is completely screwed. With all of these thoughts, I am suddenly the mother screaming, “OMG! Hurry the hell up!” And, I swear, it’s that level of crazy that finally gets them moving. My crazy is like my super power to get my children to finally do what they need to do in an efficient manner.
I admire all of you calm and peaceful mothers who get to places on time — the mothers who don’t ever yell, the ones who never say, “Holy shit, I’ve raised human snails,” or raise their voices or make their children see their ugly, shouty crazy before leaving the house in the morning. The mothers who never yell “Hurry up!” and still arrive everywhere on time, I don’t understand you. And I might not totally believe you, but I admire you.
But the rest of you: The mothers who try a lot of different parenting techniques and fail again and again. The mothers who throw out random curse words before 8 o’clock in the morning. The mothers who will always run late, no matter how early you start getting ready. The mothers who love your children with every part of your being, but still want to squeeze them a little too hard while watching them put a shirt on for 10 minutes. The mothers who justify their crazy by calling it a super power. The mother’s who say, “Hurry up” and “Stop jacking around,” and “Stop playing with your freaking shoelaces and put the damn shoe on before I chop your foot off.”
So, no, I probably won’t stop telling my children to hurry up.
I can’t, you see, because then we would never be able to make anywhere ever again.