Monday, March 22, 2004

Can I Have a Do-Over, Please?

I need a do-over. Yeah. Really. I think I should never have married or had children. I would like to have a second chance and if I were that same 20 year old girl, I would go to medical school and then disappear into some needy country to devote my life to serving others.

That would be easier than where I ended up. Okay, right, so that would be my hormones talking. Or maybe my sore throat and aching head. So what?

My husband was gone most of yesterday and the day before and the week before that and the weekend before that and the week before that. Turns out that I am a horrible single parent. The kids drive me crazy with their incessant arguing. TwinBoyB, in particular, seemed to be on a mission to make my head pop off my neck. I'd tell him to do something (like "stop hitting you brother and come here") and he would slide his body half-way off the couch at glacier-speed. I gave him a thwap with my foot under his thigh and he shrieked as if he was burned with a hot poker in the eye.

Of course, his dad came downstairs just then and got his wailing report of how I kicked him. Which, technically speaking, it was a kick. It wasn't intended to be a kick, but a . . . well, a reminder-thwack. My husband scolded me and said I should use time-outs. Yes, I heard that loud and clear: You are the worst mother in the world and a rotten human being as well.

That was Saturday. Sunday, I decided I would use time-outs. So the first time TwinBoyB disobeyed me, I told him to go sit on his bed for ten minutes. He said, "No." I said, "Okay. You just earned yourself an early bedtime." He launched himself into a wildly dramatic performance, flopping around on the ground. Then he went and sat on his bed and screamed, "Mommmmmmmm! Mommmmmmmmm! Mommmmmmmmmmm!" He wanted to argue with me about his punishment. I told him to stop immediately or he'd get an additional ten minutes.

He got the additional ten minutes.

This kind of thing wears me out.

Last night, he expected not to go to bed early. He thought he "earned it back." I said, "No, there is no earning back your punishment. Otherwise, it won't count." He sobbed and cried and carried on so much that I said, "Just go now." It was 7:40 p.m. He laid on his bed and shouted and cried. When I'd go in and check on him, he'd argue with me more and complain more. This child is not a quick learner.

My husband came home, of course, after TwinBoyB had been sent to bed, but before he had finished throwing his fit. TwinBoyB tattled on me, trying to make his behavior my fault.

Husband tells me I should go in and comfort him. I do so, but of course, get even more aggravated with him. Now it's not about his behavior but about his brothers and school and why he's going to fail math. I told him it's all about choices. You choose how to behave, you choose how to do in school.

Then TwinBoyB comes out to report to his dad that he does not have a particular item he needs. I already know this, but TwinBoyB is telling his dad anyway. I say, "Hey, if people would tell me when they use the last one, I would buy more!" (Early in the day, I find out that we have no more trash compactor bags. I did not use the last one and I did not know we were out.)

My husband rebukes me and says that it's my job to know these things and not the job of a 10 year old boy.

With that, I went upstairs and ironed Husband's clothes and fumed and stewed and then crawled into bed at 9 p.m., watched a show until 10 p.m. and turned off the lights. I never, ever go to bed at that hour, but I was tired, sick and emotionally drained.

I decided just as I fell to sleep that I am a complete failure as a wife, mother and homemaker. The worst part is that being a wife, mother and homemaker is all I do. So, at least I would win "Best All Around," if Anti-Mother of the Year Awards were given out.

Of course, that's completely irrational, but it still sounds true to me today.

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