I’m Not Trying To
I’m having one of those parenting moments. Okay, when am I NOT having one of those parenting moments? Honestly, I have never so seriously contemplated the option of sending my kids to public school as I have (continually) this school year (with the notable exception, of course, of the year I actually did send the two oldest to public school) (and last year and this, in which the oldest is going to high school, but that has always been part of the plan). Maybe it’s burnout. Maybe my hormones need adjusted (umm, yes, I’m sure that’s part of it), or maybe it’s that, as I’ve been getting healthier over the past two years or so, I’ve come out of a bit of a fog, and I am seeing more clearly that I am profoundly not appreciated in my own home (ha! what stay-at-home mom is, right? RIGHT??) But whatever it is, there is one phrase that I wish I could just erase from my kids’ vocabulary:
“But I’m not trying to!”
Me “Please stop chewing with your mouth open.”
Child “I’m not trying to!”
For the love. Never have I ever said, “Please, stop trying to chew like a gorilla with a bad head cold. Please stop trying to mine for nose nuggets. Please stop trying to write in run-on sentences like the 3rd grader and/or blogger that you clearly aren’t. Please stop trying to forget to wash your face so that you look like you’re part of Fagin’s gang. Please stop trying to put your make up on in a way that makes you look like crack whore raccoon*. Please stop trying to make your bedroom resemble a post-Katrina New Orleans Wal Mart. Please stop trying to treat me like dirt.”
Nope. Never said any of that. But any time I tell them they need to do something, or stop doing something (seriously, I’m the mom – I’m supposed to do that, right? Because I’m surrounded by people who don’t seem to agree with that philosophy (and I’m not jus talking about my kids), so I’m starting to question myself; starting to think maybe my role is to just be here and let everybody “exercise their agency” and “learn from their mistakes” while I take antidepressants so that, as they spiral out of control, I don’t care).
Where was I? Oh, yes. Any time I tell them to do something or not do something, I get the whiney, “But I’m not tryyyyying tooooo.”
So maybe I’ll stop trying to do laundry. Maybe I’ll stop trying to clean the house. Maybe I’ll stop trying to do the grocery shopping. Maybe I’ll stop trying to take them to their church activities. Maybe I’ll stop trying to buy them clothes. Maybe I’ll stop trying to make meals (this one is so high on my list, for various reasons, that I just may do it, and they can all fend for themselves). Maybe I’ll stop trying to help keep the 10,000 animals we have alive, enclosed, and well-tended, maybe I’ll stop trying to teach them . . . anything.
And when everything goes to hell in a hand basket? I’ll just tell them I wasn’t trying to.
In the meantime, I have to go try to make a birthday cake.
Tewt the Newt is grumpy.
*In her defense, she really isn’t trying to go for the crack-whore look, so it isn’t a battle over what is and isn’t appropriate eye makeup. In my defense, how many times do I have to emphasize the value of WASHING under one’s eyes?