I'm Supposed to Play with These Kids?
I created a new category called “things I shouldn’t say out loud let alone publish on the internet.” This post, my friends, falls squarely into that category, and may actually redefine the term “over-sharing.”
I actually considered not writing this, even though I felt compelled to do so.
Because this borders a little too closely on something I may want to pretend doesn’t exist. Something I may deny. Something my ego hates to admit.
But in the first post I wrote for this blog, I asked “where do the bad mothers go?” (Wait. Did I just quote myself? Wow, that’s a new low.)…and that got me thinking…I already admitted I’m a bad mother, and I don’t mean “bad” in the “ha ha ha aren’t I funny because really I’m a great mother and we all know it” kind of way…I mean “bad” like for real bad – like people may wonder if I have a heart bad. Like screw you, Janelle, bad. Like I’m not proud of this but it’s true, bad.
And since I already admitted it, why back out now from telling this shit the way it is?
There’s no reason.
So here you go…
Most of the time, I pretty much can’t stand playing with my kids.
You see? What the fuck. Bad.
Sometimes the stars align perfectly and I’m in a great, playful, carefree mood, and I can play with them and sing and be goofy (like recently when I walked around Walmart with underwear on my head – (I was buying them, they weren’t dirty)…and the kids were in hysterics and we played sword fighting with the foam pool noodles, right there in the aisle…and it was fun and we laughed and I felt like an alright mom for a minute.)
But say…oh…I don’t know…say the kids ask me to play with them, and I’m not in that kind of mood. Say yesterday happens, when I had been cleaning the house for 6 hours and was finished, but was suffering from allergies and feeling not quite right…just a little uneasy…just a little depressed…just a little, wait…what was it? Oh right. Self-pitying and self-centered and DOWN. That’s right. Uninspired. Over it. Fuck this family crap. Down.
And they’ve been asking me all day.
And the game’s all set up.
And I should do this for them.
But what I really want to do is leave. Be by myself. Not clean. Not listen to kids. Not be in this house for one more damn second.
But I have that pull. I hear that voice “Janelle…you should do this. Mothers do this. Just fucking do it.”
So I sit down to play Monopoly and they are bouncing. Bouncing. Because mama’s playing a game with them. Mama’s involved. As a courtesy they pretend to buy my plastered smile.
They even put cushions down in my spot, so I would be more comfortable on the floor.
Those kids are damn angels.
But check it out. Everything they do irritates the hell out of me. The way they slam the board when they’re moving their tokens across it…the way they lean over and knock the money piles everywhere…the way Ava directs everybody’s every single move…the way Rocket won’t focus and rolls around constantly…the energy…the time it takes… all of it. My skin is crawling. I act terribly. I’m a straight asshole to those kids, telling them what to do, demanding they do things my way.
Demanding that they not act like kids.
As I’m doing it I hate myself.
What the hell is wrong with me?
I’m there. But I’m not there.
I try, but I can’t snap out of it.
If you’re reading this and your kids are in college now and you’re thinking about how much you miss them, please don’t tell me how I’m short-sighted and should cherish these times because wow they’re SO QUICK and before I know it they’ll be out of the house and soon I’ll give ANYTHING to have these moments back .
Don’t tell me that.
Because I already know it.
I felt a yearning for that Monopoly game 5 hours after it happened.
I realized the beauty of what I missed while lying in bed that same night.
Right now I feel the sacredness of playing a game with my non-stop director daughter and goofy distracted son. I feel it. I know it.
And YET it doesn’t change it. It has no effect on The Now – when I need it. And all the self-talk “Oh come on, Janelle, be patient. Be kind. Chill the fuck out. These are your KIDS…”… all of it withers in the face of…well…I don’t know. Whatever the hell it is that makes me act like that.
It’s only the next day and I wish I could go back. But as one of my favorite songs says… that’s a “no-go for this hobo.”
I wonder how many times I’ll feel this before I learn.
Sorry, guys. You got dealt a mama who ain’t that good all the time. In fact she’s pretty shitty most of the time.
She’s a bad player.
But she loves you. And she’ll keep trying.
Hang with me little ones.
Photo Credit: r80o.