Matters of the Living Room

Tonight I did the thing you’re not supposed to do in front of your kids. Well, one of the things. Now that I think about it, there are very many things one should not do in front of one’s children. However, tonight I opened the door to all this My Parent is a Human awfulness by snapping at them and then bursting into tears.

How did I go from Mom-on-Vacation, making tortellini and quizzing Super Boy on his body parts and colors, to the terrible sort of person that says, “What NOW?” quite meanly, to a 9 month old baby who will not stop whining in her high chair? I think I got too wrapped up inside my own head. I started out thinking, “Wow, if I were home more often this whole dinner process would be in the bag. Why can’t I be a stay at home mom? We could be frugal! I could start a frugal living blog and we’d live on love!” and then all the whining and real life needs of my real life children took precedence over my imaginary Duggar life and I had to go back to picking the peas up off the floor and having a conversation where the words, “Well just squat down like you’re a little frog and push really, really hard with your bum bum and maybe the poop will come out then” actually came out of my mouth.

I had the unwelcome thought Maybe I’m never going to be any good at this and then everyone started crying at once, and I said “What NOW?!” and their two perfect faces stopped making those siren noises that make me want to pinch the bridge of my nose as if it somehow helps me, and looked at me questioningly as if to say, “Uh…I don’t think you’re supposed to ask that of us” and we all just sat there for a moment looking at each other. What’s there to do when Mama breaks the rules?  So I started to cry with my face in my hands, like a prayer, and Super Boy lay his head on my knee and patted my thigh. “It’s OK Mama, it’s a accident”. I looked pitifully at Darlin Girl to see if she might forgive my outburst too but she was looking back and forth between Boy and I, bewildered with a gob of spinach, raspberry and Greek yogurt puree matting her hair to her forehead. I hugged them both the best I could.

Moments later all was forgiven, because it was bath time, and we love the shit out of bath time in this house. They both stood at the edge of the tub, Super Boy declaring “I do me-self!” and getting his head stuck between the tee shirt and the cape he was wearing (we call him Super Boy for a reason) and Darlin Girl gripping the edge of the tub for dear life, dancing with her naked butt in the air and growling in excitement. Darlin Girl is not one for words quite yet. So they ended up in the tub and both yelled incoherently into each other’s faces for a bit while I soaped them. Super Boy helped rinse his baby sister, and yelled a bit too much in her face while doing so and didn’t see her slap coming until it was too late. More tears, only this time thankfully none came from me. I was the person I ought to have been, full of gentle guidance and quick reactions. Darlin Girl came out of the tub and Super Boy got some more water and the special Elmo Soap while DG slipped into a fabulous purple checkered onesie for evening. It was sometime between this wardrobe change and warming a bottle for DG that Boy ran out into the kitchen, slipped in his own puddle and shouted “I poooooped!” as he fell in slow motion.

“You pooped?”

“Yesh.”

“Where? Where is the poop? In Mama’s tub?”

“No, is not in a tub. In a floor. It’s too stinky!”

“Did you touch it? No! No, don’t move, you stay right there while I give Darlin Girl her bottle and we’ll see about that poop.”

So DG got her bottle, and after much protesting finally fell asleep on her own. Super Boy was right, he did poop on the floor and it was too stinky. But I cleaned it up, because that’s what mothers do, and he got back in the tub for some fish time while I cleaned the rest of my house, turning over ideas in my head about how I can cultivate a life that does not make it even an option for me to shout at my kids and then cry at them like fucking a lunatic. There are a few things I know I will need for certain, and here they are: I will need to quit my job. I will need to supplement my income in a way that does not require 40+ hours per week, otherwise quitting my current job will be for naught. I need to make something every day, with my kids, for my kids, by myself, for myself…the logistics do not matter. I need to learn something (many things, is more like it) and grow something (see former parenthetical) and I need to write it all down.

I am in my living room, typing during my witching hour. Once the kids go to bed I get one hour to myself to do as I please before Husband comes home from the restaurant. It is my plan to make that hour matter, rather than sitting and wallowing about the bits of my day that I could have done better. Here, dear reader, you will learn of the matters of my living room. Good luck to you.

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