Parents, let me ask you a question.
If your kids had to come up with a nickname to describe a negative personality trait of yours that, to your chagrin, you haven’t been able to shield them from, what would that name be?
Bossy Pants? Angry Man? Toilet Hogger? Screaming Banshee? Mr. Hypocrisy? Endless Talker? Or perhaps, Ms. What-does-listening-mean-I’ve-never-heard-of-it?
A recent conversation with my daughter smacked me in the face with a dose of reality. We began our conversation rather unremarkably. Her older brother had just laid out a pathetic stack of excuses as to why he had not been able to accomplish any and everything from washing the dishes to locating the ketchup bottle right in front of his eyes. It’s kind of a problem.
When he walked away, my observant daughter whispered (in the not actually whispering, just talking in a lower tone of voice way that young kids do) that his name should be “Excuse Boy.”
Well I was just tickled to death and impressed by the accuracy of her unprompted observation. So I thought to myself, This girl’s got some wisdom going on. And because my curiosity is a moron, and my ego was kind of hungry, I asked her what my name would be.
Because she’s too cocky and confident for her own good, she didn’t even take more than a moment to decide. “Angry Mom,” she says. Angry Mom! Is she kidding me? I’m flabbergasted and furious! My ears start getting hot. “I AM NOT ANGRY MOM,” I say, IN MY HEAD, lest I prove the child right.
And now, to take on the traits of Excuse Boy, I will tell you why I’m okay with Angry Mom. I blame everything on mornings…and school…and disorganization in my blood and the blood of my children. See, I’m not so much angry as angered.
Over the summer, when I am out of work and they are out of school, why, ladies and gentlemen, I am
A pleasure and a half
A charming delight
The personification of cool.
But that morning rush to get to school does not bring out my best side. I’m dealing with one child who sleeps like a hibernating bear, complete with snoring and apparent limb paralysis. I’ve got another child who’s brain visits everywhere but planet Earth. I mean, I love a wondering mind, but at 6:35 a.m.? Come on!
Then there are those days when I’m dealing with myself and my “Let me stand staring into my closet until I figure out what to wear” logic, or on my worse days, “Let me just lay in bed while I figure out what I’m going to wear. What could possibly go wrong?”
It’s not helping my situation that I refuse to give up my take care of myself morning routine. I will not become a hag. I won’t have it!
So, in the mornings, during school season (yes, I know it’s the majority of the year) I get a little frazzled. My voice rises a few octaves when shoes are not on feet and teeth are coated with last night’s grime and we are 4th and 10. It’s possible to score (which for us is getting out of the house on time), but it’s still a high pressure situation, damn it, and I deserve some credit and a little break. I mean, flags are being thrown all over the field– personal fouls, off sides, roughing the sister…
So to make myself feel better, I made a pouty face and pathetically asked my daughter if there was a chance for a downgrade. Grumpy Mom, she decided, was acceptable as she assured me that I was still the best mom ever.
Hey, I’m not looking for perfection. I’ll take it.
We all seem to be on a “My food’s not full of shit” kick. So then, the question now is, How full of shit are we? What would your unwanted label be? And let’s not discriminate against those without children. What nickname would your friends and family give you? Let’s hear it!