I’ll tell you something about myself. Usually, I am Pretty. Fucking. Cool. My husband, might not agree, but my “coolness” of today is all relative to six years ago when we were awarded full custody of his kids. As someone who enjoyed being alone, I’ve developed a lot of patience having the chaos of three step-kids, two cats, two dogs, and a husband in these last six years. What used to make me want to punch people in the face no longer comes on as strongly.
Or so I thought.
Here’s a little story that will make you feel like a superior parent to me: Tuesday is our Garbage Day. This eventually got rotated into the kids chores since I work late that day. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’d arrive home and see that it hadn’t been done. I went from, “Yay, my work is finished and I can relax!… to, “Why the fucking fuck can’t anyone remember to take out the M****RF*****G garbage!?” I swear I could see my caucasian skin turn a shade of hulk green at this moment.
Look, everyone’s got their thing that drives them mental that no one else seems to ‘get’. For my husband, Mark, it’s crumbs on the cutting board. Run for cover and belt out a prayer if you were lazy enough to leave crumbs on the cutting board!
Over the years, we’ve both learned patience. What’s the alternative with three kids?
For the most part, I began taking the garbage out myself when I saw it wasn’t done and Mark quietly began wiping the dirty cutting board.
However. No matter how much fortitude you develop as a parent, I have a hunch that even the best parents have the ability to snap.
Here’s my personal parent fail:
A couple weeks ago I came home late and was greeted by two full Glad garbage bags and one blue recycling. The nasty bags that included dog poop and rotting food were just sitting there loitering outside the door at 8:30 p.m. I walked in and casually asked the kids, “Whose garbage day is it?” Erin told me it was hers as she was straining her tea. (She has recently started drinking tea! Just like me! She does more things that are just like me now and it’s fun to watch.)
“I’ll take it out.” She casually replied.
But she didn’t take it out. She walked into her room and shut the door. I could then hear her muffled voice through the wall, talking and laughing on the phone to her boyfriend. I fed the dogs thinking, ‘When is she going to take out the garbage?’ I fixed my dinner thinking, ‘When is she going to take out the garbage?’ I ate my salmon and broccoli, thinking… and now fuming… ‘When is she going to take out the fucking garbage??’ I carried the mental load of remembering for her, in my head for 45 minutes. Finally before I was about to take a shower, I knocked on her door and said, “Please go take out the garbage. I don’t want to have to keep remembering for you.”
This is what my kids don’t understand: They have the luxury of forgetting (which they DO, half the time). They know I will remind them. I have to carry that mental load.
So when my step-daughter came out of her room after I interrupted her call, she gave me some sass about it. Well. I didn’t like that.
I snapped. The hulk that had lain dormant in me leapt out and yelled at her; two very loud, direct, and unkind sentences. The cherry on top was when I slammed my bathroom door afterwards.
Not cool, mama. Not cool.
I should have handled it better. I’m sure she didn’t get back on the phone and tell her boyfriend how awesome her *Bonus Mom* is!
After my shower I had calmed down and felt in my gut that I needed to apologize. I knocked on her door in my blue housecoat and white towel wrapped around my head and said, “I’m really sorry for losing my temper and yelling at you.” Without any hesitation, she said, “It’s okay.”
We had a good hug. I think we were both relieved.
As I mentioned earlier, my step-daughter is doing more things like me: She has started drinking tea. She repeats things I say. Sometimes she even dresses like me. But I also want her to be able to admit when she is wrong and apologize, like me. That’s something I need to teach her.
So we made up! She even took this ridiculous picture with me!
Two morals to this story:
1) Next time I will say: “Please take out the garbage right now.”
2) Try to be more cool.
Photo credit: The Hulk: https://www.polygon.com/2017/11/3/16598976/thor-ragnarok-hulk-bruce-banner-mark-ruffalo-marvel