Monday, October 29, 2007

Hey Man, I Really Need My Space

I confess, I skipped the pumpkin patch trip to get away from my son. I felt guilty, sure, but that eased up after that first cappuccino. I did walk the walk-a-thon, while my husband skipped both without a smidgen of that deadly mommy parent guilt and he was at home, not missing valuable cubicle-dwelling time. I swear my son is becoming a disgruntled teen right before my very eyes, and that morning was the worse.

It started in the normal fashion. "Is it school today?" says he with a touch of excitement. "Yes it is" say I while I pick out clothes and negotiate a pending battle between the kids. Completely crestfallen he whines about going to school, then asks dreaded question #2, "Am I going to the YMCA?" "Yup, it's Wednesday." "But I don't want to go" he sobs as my heart breaks just a little and my brain yet again searches for an answer. So unfair that I only take him the days he goes to after-school care, while my husband gets to drop him off, then eat lunch and play soccer a mere four hours later.

This morning took a turn for the worse as the blame game was in full force. He accused me for buying stuff for myself and nothing for him. If I didn't spend so much on food he could have more toys. He wanted to "just open his Transformer thing, not play with it." He needs to color and has no time to get dressed. I always do everything and he wants to pack his own bag and get himself dressed, but I never help him with anything.

This is in between crying out when he's hit by his brother, as I'm clearly wasting time trying to get myself ready for work. By the time we leave, running late as usual, he tells me, several times, it's my fault we're late as I was so slow eating my breakfast. For the record, he ate half my eggs, as well as the pancake he finally agreed to eat after I ran through the cereal, eggs, cinnamon role and toast list. I am so petty.

I tried so hard to finally just shut myself up, after responding to many of the accusations.

"Mommy has to work so I can buy you things" - That's a classic failure, since of course I waste too much money on food and never on toys.

"You have too many toys already, when you learn to clean and organize them I'll get you more." - a no win situation, since his brother inherited the "dump out every box of toys" gene and, surprise, doesn't like to clean up.

"This is why I hid it from you. Open the toy if you want, but we don't have time to play it and I don't have time to open it." - I dread when he finds out this "toy" is a greatly marked down Transformer airbrush kit I was planning to use to make cheap party decorations.

"No, your brother should not hit you but you need to stop yelling when he takes your stuff or he'll hit you." - nothing like blaming the victim.

"We need to talk as a family about moving from the YMCA." - can you say "pass the buck?"

"We're late because you don't listen to me and do what I ask" - ahh, the ol' standby, general criticism, sure way to keep the complaints coming.

So when the promise of a FIELD TRIP TO THE PUMPKIN PATCH didn't revive his spirits, and I was exhausted from the onslaught, I asked if he wanted a break, from each other. How very adult of me. Only problem, I'm not dealing with an adult. "Yes," he says, "I want a break with you." While spending time together is probably a better option, I chose not to return for the field trip but treat myself to coffee. (I was glad to chat with a fellow mommy, who predicted her son would probably do better without her. He'd probably whine about how tired he was from the walk if she came, and sure enough, my son later told me "how tiiirred everyone was from the looong walk".)

I did, however, pick him up a bit early so we could play with the new toy. He did get a bit pouty after finding out his dad and brother we're off to a soccer game, but grudgingly admitted he'd rather do this. So, any coping techniques for 5 going on 15?

Cross-posted at Not Just a Working Mom, where Nicole blogs more about her angst-ridden life.


  1. We try to focus on one task at a time. Clothes first, then brushing of teeth, then breakfast (if he eats at all).

    And I taken to yelling like a drill sergeant until he falls in line (or starts crying uncontrollably).

    Seriously, I find that the more time I spent in quality time momma mode, the more time D is able to then play by himself or not get into trouble.

  2. Ok, that was me. I accidentally hit a button and now my name is bir] which I can onlu imagine is geek talk to "need beer now"

  3. My three-year-old is doing this sort of thing, too. It's hard to be the adult and get told how much you suck all day. I feel for you.

  4. I am trying to figure out how not to sound like a real jerk in this comment, so please take that into account when you read it. I'm not offering advice or dissing your lifestyle either. And I don't usually comment on things like this, but this time I looked at the little guy's face and felt like I had to say something. Since whatever I say will sound wrong, I'll just leave a link to what I had to say about my son who was sometimes difficult. Here's the link
    If I'm out of line, just thwap me back with a comment telling me to mind my own business.

    Shine On,

  5. Lill, I appreciate the link and no worries, you most certainly do not sound like a jerk.

    I did want to point out that I just happened to find that picture - not sure why he looked like that at the time (in the one before and after he was smiling, think he was just being wierd) - the photo had nothing to do with that day :)

    I'm so sorry to hear about your son Mike and that was a lovely post. I'll go comment over there.

  6. I loved your perspective: you're talking to him like an adult, even though you know he's not an adult. Isn't it ironic how we moms can know we're not logical, but we do or say it anyway? Distance sounds like it was a good idea.