A few weeks ago, I huffed into work stressed out one morning. I got to my desk, put down my bags and stepped into a coworkers office to say hello. We exchanged the usual pleasantries and then she asked me how I was. How was I, I thought? And then the words came flowing out of my mouth.
“My kids are assholes”
“Way to keep it real”, she said in response to my remark. My words caught me off guard. I had only at this point called my kids assholes to 3 other people ever; my husband and my two best friends who are in the same stage of life and parenting as me.
We both giggled and I felt some relief when I shared why my kids were assholes that morning, making me feel much better.
I don’t know if it’s my kids ages but having a 5.5 year old and a 3.5 year old at the same time is exhausting. Beyond exhausting. I feel like they are constantly pissing each other off. On purpose. I feel like I’m constantly refereeing their interactions, giving time-outs and redirecting their behaviour. No matter who I ask to do something, the other one is upset. No matter what I do or what I say, one of the two of them is upset.
I often wonder why all the sudden have my kids become difficult. If not their age, then what is it? Is it that one is a girl and the other a boy? That my daughter is so bossy and now my son is getting more independence and wants his voice? Is it that he’s watching too many shows that show aggression and that he thinks he’s one of them? Did having a sick mom at a crucial time of their development screw them up? Are my kids just spoiled brats? I’m not sure I’ll ever know the right answer, maybe it’s a combination of everything?
But, one thing I know is that my kids being assholes hasn’t been an isolated event of them being difficult on one morning. This past weekend we decided to take the kids to Buffalo for a night away. We had taken them to Buffalo with us in January during Christmas break and we had a great time so we figured 24 hours away for all of us would be fun! To be honest, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to bring them, but my husband said he felt bad leaving them behind. So we did what responsible adults do and write all of our options down onto paper and put them in a hat! When I picked my choice it said “Niagara Falls” which really means “adult trip” but then a wave of guilt fell over me. So quickly, I said, “let’s go”. And we packed our bags and the four of us got into the car.
My kids are pretty easy-going in the car and soon after we got on the road they fell asleep. But as soon as we crossed the border, everything went south. There was fighting, bothering each other, arguing and not listening. No matter what I said to them, no one listened! It was SO frustrating! At one point I looked at my husband and said “this is so not fun. Why did we bring them?” Sure, there were moments that were nice, but within every moment were feelings of frustration, and annoyance.
I know being a parent isn’t a walk in a park and that these moments may feel catastrophic now and that in the grand scheme of life, they aren’t so important. But, and this is my huge but, being an asshole isn’t ok at any age. My husband was kind of brushing off their behaviour as them being kids, or being tired or being out of their routines. I get that, I really do. But, I’m not ok with anyone, no matter how old or young you are to be an asshole. Their actions were that of assholes.
After our 24 hours in Buffalo, which were frustrating, and the drive home where Little Dude decided to throw whatever he could at Princess Peach, we were home. As we pulled into our driveway, I asked them to reflect on why their mommy and daddy were frustrated in Buffalo. They both answered that they didn’t listen. See, they knew exactly what they were doing.
And yesterday, as I left the house to go back to work, I gave them lots of kisses and hugs. And I thought to myself “Bye, bye kids. Mommy loves you assholes so very much”.