Losing my shit with a side of global citizenship.

“BUT, I didn’t do it!” and, “That’s not mine!” is the new black.

I lost it on Sunday. Like, really lost it and not in the cute way where I turn a moment of weak parenting into a joke on social media or, make a great meme or, in the million other small ways that do nothing but advance the stereotype of the wine-fueled “Momster” that has been my bread and butter for so long. For too long.

I lost it and had this out-of-body “I SEE YOUR BULLSHIT!” moment about everything in my life. My kids were jerks. So was I. Just a globe of jerkiness being flooded by a tsunami of selfishness.

I’d had enough.

I’ve had enough of bullshit stories about how we’re ruining our children when we expect too much of them. So now, we expect nothing. In kind, they give nothing and then we’re supposed to take that nothing and make happiness out of it by overdoing every holiday, birthday and Arbor Day with crafts. Bullshit.

I’ve had enough of spoiled children who want for nothing but still want everything. Nothing is enough. Because they have everything. And we’re supposed to give everything because NOTHING is more important than their happiness. Bullshit.

You know what’s more important? Global citizenship. And a whole host of things bigger than worrying about the zinc in your diaper cream.

I asked them to clean their rooms and they started a very well known diatribe about whose toys were on the floor and a very succinct, Atticus Finch-like defense of why they shouldn’t have to clean anything they didn’t physically place on the ground.

And, I lost it.

Because, enough. ENOUGH. ENOUGH.

I’ve had enough of how we’re all too comfortable imposing responsibility on everyone else. I impose my aggravation and quick temper on my kids. They impose their laziness on me and we get stuck; as we pour our worst qualities all over each other. Then when we feel guilty, we let internet heroes tell us how we’re doing it wrong.

It’s not about who left the decapitated Barbie on the floor; it’s about global citizenship and Little House on the Prairie.

LOOK! Everyone gathers wood for the fire.

We’re so bored that we can’t even figure out how to help one another without praise. So we buy stickers and charts and give everyone rewards for being a global citizen in a world that will fall to dust unless everyone stops getting stickers for being a good person.

Just pick up the damn Barbie.

My 10-year-old is examining her conscience; what makes her feel like she’s participating fully and what makes her feel like she’s stuck in moral quicksand.

And, I’m sitting well beyond her preteen brain explosion wondering the same thing…what am I doing?

What am I truly doing wrong? Am I doing anything right?

As with any moment of clarity, you have to get out of your own bullshit’s way to own it.

Yes, I am responsible for the decapitated Barbie.

So:

  • My kids drive me crazy but, that’s not why I drink more than I should. I do it because I have an addictive personality and I’m more socially awkward than I let on. Drinking helps.
  • I yell. A lot. I yell because they’re turds. Also, because my parents yelled at me. Also, because yelling works. I get results when I yell. I like results more than I dislike yelling. Yelling helps.
  • When I’m mad and my kids hug me, I sometimes recoil. I do this because I’m incredibly bad at being angry. I’m the suckiest, meanest angry person ever. I’m a bad human when I’m angry.
  • Sometimes, I leave all of the dishes in the sink because I can be a passive-aggressive. OR, I do it because I’m tired. OR, I do it because instead of just saying, “Hey, can you do the dishes?”, I like to put people through silent tests of character.

I’m owning my bullshit. For the good of global citizenship and because I’m tired of saying that the mess spread all over the floor of my life isn’t mine.

And that’s where family comes in. We’re in this together. The Barbies and the dishes and the taking care of each other. Expecting more from each other. We have to start expecting much, much more from each other.

Their room was clean in 10 minutes. We’re not allowed to say, “I didn’t make that mess!” anymore. Life is always going to be messy.

We all help make it. We all help clean it up.





Comments

  1. I stopped what I was doing the second you popped into my inbox. I really, really like when you pop into my inbox.

    Dishes are in my sink because I’m done doing everything for everyone when they’re completely capable human beings. There, I said it.

  2. This is beautiful Bethany, and so true. I am constantly screaming at my kids to take accountability and need to remember to do it myself sometimes too. We are all just doing the best we can. Kids, parents and Barbie’s alike.

  3. You’ve just become my new hero. Your bullet points at the end come straight from my life and i love you for saying them out loud. I love how you take the shit of our ordinary lives, our low moments and the dark side of raising (and sometimes kinda hating) our kids and make it ok. Thank you so much 🙂

  4. Genericmommy says:

    This.
    Not feeling so alone now.
    Thank you.

  5. Love to follow you…. This blog is my life daily with 3 boys 15,9 and 5 and a husband…. I also am a drinker and a screamer and I guilt them into doing things and if that doesn’t work….I bribe them.. I took a hard left somewhere in my parenting and cannot find a u-turn to get things right. So I kind of accept it and say a Hail Mary they will turn out to be not as dickish when they are adults….There… I said it.

  6. “I like to put people through silent tests of character.” Jesus. I do this all the time, and in my head I think, “Just tell them what the fuck you want them to do,” but I’m so damn tired of asking, so I don’t, and then a week later, as I’m loading the dishwasher, I can think, “Well, I was right. They failed me…again.”

  7. Stacey Sheehan says:

    I love the very bones of your wine drinking, yelling, human soul.

  8. Thank you for making me feel human. I’ve been a shitty-ass parent for white a while now, and though I think it’s important to own your shit and apologize when things get out of hand, it’s also important to make your family realize that they can’t expect you to be what I privately call Motherfucking Theresa. Because I’m just not. Things I rock at:
    – Owning my shit.
    – Saying sorry.
    – Stopping for roadkill and turning it into a science/life lesson.
    – Dancing.
    – Being depressed.

    Things I suck at:
    – Patience.

    Yeah, that’s pretty much what I suck at in a nutshell. It covers all of it (The dislike for loud noises .The waiting for you to get to the point of your pointless story. The trying to fix the relationship in 45 minute once-a-week couples counseling sessions.).

    Thank you Bethany for keeping it real.

  9. Whitney Knoblock says:

    I’m an autism mom and you have NO IDEA how much your little Cobb Webb ridden corner of writing has made me feel so much better that someone is out there with my EXACT frame of mind!

  10. My people are grown ass adults and a 5 year old. I wasn’t perfect when they were growing up but now here are and they are taking up space in my house. They don’t do shit to help and still say “not me”. I constantly test their character and they constantly fail. I realize that if I want to live in a clean house I have two options: 1. Move away and leave them to fend for themselves knowing they will eventually figure it out or 2. Clean it up myself and continue to silently hate them all for being lazy, disrespectful shits. Currently I am opting for number 2 because I do love them and like them on occasion. I have decided to look into a third option and hire a live in maid. Not sure where the maid would live, perhaps the patio, but it might be our only chance of not all ending up as decapitated Barbies…
    Bethany- we all feel your pain.

  11. YES. I recall sitting two toddlers in the living room as we got home and putting the empty cup in between them. They asked what was up and I said you two wanted to fight over it so bad in the car, here ya go, 10 minutes nothing but you two and the precious cup!
    Passive aggressive was how my Mom did it….
    Now they are older and we’re better. I don’t yell nearly as much and get instant results when I do. But there was a LOT of yelling as well as spanks and time outs when they were younger. We do the best we can with what we have, and bravo to you for being brave and saying this sucks sometimes and you gotta own up. When the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing, you’ll change. Sucks but true.
    Thanks for the safe place to confess. Parenting is hard.

  12. women are caretakers and men are gatherers. one day some stupid woman decided to tell her man hey, I wanna do the gathering today. so the man said ok, go ahead. at the end of the day the woman realized she could do both and she felt proud to help. at the end of the day the man realized she could do both and thought good now I don’t have to do anything.
    I let my husband and kids go 16 years without having to do anything but my husband working, now I’m tired and want help but I trained them into becoming lazy procrastinating people. now I do shit when I want to do shit, now I am the lazy procrastinator who blames everyone else for the Barbie head on the floor,….instead of just picking it up and moving on. now I say if you want it done before I feel like doing it then do it yourself and don’t complain to me about not having a clean bowl or plate if your not willing to help then just shut the hell up. really would like to meet the woman who thought helping her significant other and not making them or the kids do anything, thought that was a good idea!

  13. I think evil thoughts about my 4 kids all of the time! Why are they so lazy? Why do they only think of themselves? What have I done wrong? They only have 1 chore to do and they do it half-assed consistently! Right now, my daughter is in a battle with me, unbeknownst to her. She wants me to take her to get her hair cut but she hasn’t done the thing that I asked her to do days ago…so no hair cut until she does that thing. She has obviously forgotten about it but, of course, I have not. I know that’s not very rational and I’m supposed to be the grown up but DAMN, how many times do I have to ask?? Anyway, thank you for this post and it is great to know that I am not alone.

  14. This was exactly what I needed. I’m sharing the shit out of this because I AM you, except not so eloquent with expressing it. If you don’t win some major award for this piece then life as we know it has come to an end. I’m going to make my family listen to me read this aloud and say THIS is what we are doing. I think the passive aggressive addictive personality of a family is more common than we let on. And humorists are usually made from that cloth. Thanks for this gift to me and my unsuspecting family. The shit is going to hit the fan today.

  15. As always, you put your fingers on the pulse of exactly what’s happening underneath all our exterior layers and then turn what no one else can even find words for into a song. Or a really badass beat poem. I like to put people through silent tests of character, too, though I never thought of it that way. Ditto yelling. And all the rest of it. xoxo

  16. I have no barbies to decapitate, but I have lots and lots of Lego minifigures. Lots.

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