My kids are awesome. I'm sure yours are, too. The best kids that ever walked the earth. (We can argue that point later.)
But my kids can be assholes. I'm sure you've thought this, too. About your kids, not mine -- well...maybe about mine.
Like when I wake up to the two boys screaming and wailing at 6:45 a.m. Every morning. They're being little assholes.
Or I ask them if they've brushed their teeth and they adamantly respond yes, though the inch of tooth-fuzz betrays them. Because clearly I don't have eyes.
Like when I ask my eldest daughter every day of the long weekend if she has homework and she insists that no, she doesn't. Yet at 9 p.m. on the Monday night I find her sitting at the computer because, "I forgot I had to finish this thing." Mama's about to pop a gasket. Or the cork. Of the wine bottle.
Or when my youngest daughter, through the sweetest smile -- wait, did she just bat her eyelashes? -- absolutely refuses to listen (in anyone one of a dozen scenarios) and I want want to rip my hair out (except that it's already falling out from the stress, so why bother?) She's lucky she's cute.
Or when my youngest son tries to karate kick his sister's head at the bus stop because she looked at him. Because she looked at him.
Or -- and maybe you can relate -- I ask one of them to clean up a mess and the response is I-didn't-take-that-out-so-why-do-I-have-to-put-it-away? Whining, of course. Never gets old.
Kids are amazing. They push you to the brink of exhaustion, frustration and borderline insanity only to reel you back in with their sweetness and love. They are an oasis of hugs and kisses and cuddles and I-love-yous.
Ah, the power of forgiveness. Next to unconditional love, it is one of the cornerstones of the parent-child relationship. It's nature's way of ensuring we don't eat our young.
Not that it comes easily, though.
The power struggle.
The battle of the wills.
The attitude one-up-manship.
Umm, say what, now?
I refuse -- refuse -- to raise a bunch of egotistical, entitled children that have no regard for honesty, integrity, responsibility or respect. So, of course, when these moments happen, they have the ability to make me question the job I'm doing as a parent when I'm trying so hard to make all the right moves.
No one can test the limits of a parent's patience or has the ability to drive a person to drink like an ill-behaved child. The thing is, I know that my kids are capable of -- and are recognized for -- being helpful, respectful and hardworking. They are funny, loving and affectionate. So then why do they behave like assholes?
Well --and I offer this purely from a parental point of view -- because they're kids and kids are ruled by filterless emotions. They don't think, they act and they react. There's very little consideration for the consequences of their actions. As much as we want to sit and communicate with our spawns of Satan, to talk it out, to discuss the situation calmly and rationally, they will stare blankly over your head, at the wall behind you, at the fly on the window and then insist they were listening. Ask them to repeat back what you just said and it's instant amnesia.
What's actually going on in their mind? Probably something along the lines of: If I sit quietly and nod a little here and there and then say "I'm sorry" I can have my Goldfish crackers and go play Minecraft.
For the love of...
Listen, I love my children with all my heart and I am the first to celebrate their wonder and their achievements but I hate that they behave like assholes sometimes. Especially in public. Because then everybody knows.
Don't worry, this doesn't mean that you or I have failed Parenting 101. I take solace in the fact that I'm not alone in this journey and that all kids, at one time or another -- yes, even the most perfect progeny -- act like this in spite of our best parenting efforts. Thankfully, they don't act like this all the time and these stages won't last forever -- even though it feels like it -- because there is no way I'm going to let my little assholes grow into even bigger ones.
In fact, let's look at this as a Phil Dunphy-esque teachable moment: Judge not lest you be judged. This is a great reminder for me -- for us -- not to judge other kids or their parents at face value, just as we hope not to be judged when our kids pull an asshole move and we lose our shit as a result, despite all our best parenting intentions -- or at least despite all our best attempts at covering up the crazy.
This, too, shall pass. I just have to trust that at the end of the day all the love, support and Goldfish crackers we give them will ensure we raise kind, aware and respectful individuals.
To read more of Erica's funny parenting moments, visit her blog at diaryofadomesticdiva.com.
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