Monday, July 7, 2008

G'Head, Hurl those Insults, Doesn't Bother Me

"I hate you!"

"I wanted it cut up."

"I didn't want it cut up"

"Why do we always have to walk the dogs?"

"We always go to this park."

"I'm not talking to you anymore."

"You are the meanest mommy in the world!"

Do those sound familiar? Only if you are a parent I guess. Then there are the grunts and silent treatment, all spurred on by some horrible fallacy such as not ever getting the puppy cup or having to eat breakfast. I get that a lot, and perhaps it's because I truly am the meanest mommy, but I'm going to hazard a guess I haven't quite earned that prestigious title. The other day my husband told me he gave the kids a little talking to, told them they had to stop being so mean to mommy. Sweet.

I'm not sure if this is a good thing, but it actually hardly phases me. And an added bonus is after one of these episodes, which with Donovan often culminates in a punch to the gut (he punching me, don't get your panties in a wad) I get spontaneous hugs and kisses, proclamations of love and "I'm speaking to you mommy" and "I'm your friend mommy" and a lot of "I love you."

I thought perhaps I was just getting used to it, realizing that kids have some inherent need to complain and vent, and mommy is a readily available and safe target so I shouldn't take it personally. To be honest a year ago you could find me screaming things like "fine, then we won't go to the park" or giving myself a timeout after a yelling fit, and I still am the ultimate crank when I'm forced to get up and 6am to referee a chocolate milk battle.

But after a grueling month at work, I realize I may have my job to blame thank for the thick skin. If I had a nickel for every time I said "I've been here for 13 years, I can take it" in response to sympathy from a co-worker. My most recent position came about as a result of a pretty major reorganization, and for some reason it helps people transition by having a weekly bitch-fest, often directed at me. The same complaints are rehashed so often I'm pretty much immune, and even occasionally amused.

There was a scene in the movie "Charlie Wilson's War" where Tom Hanks (Charlie Wilson) was meeting with Pakistani President Zia and found himself trying to be an understanding listener, while remaining loyal to his country, not having all the facts of the situation and not wanting to defend his country's position either. An outstanding balancing act by a compassionate if naive congressman. Obviously not on the same scale, but I was a meeting recently in that same position a table full of people complaining about something I was barely involved with, while I was trying to be understanding while supporting my co-workers without getting all defensive. I call it karma and figure it allows me to do my own whining.

On the other hand, perhaps it's just the anti-depressants finally kicking in.


  1. "You are off my love list" is the invective my son hurls at me in times of anger and frustration. I too have developed a thick skin, knowing I shall return to said love list soon enough.

  2. Oh, I feel ya. My DD last night (after an impressive bout of epithets) turned to me and said, "Mommy, I am not frustrated with you right now. Almost every other time, I am frustrated with you. But not now!"

  3. This is good practice for when they become teens. Just saying...