Friday, November 9, 2012

Old Yeller

I confess, I'm a yeller. I've always tried to be soft spoken and patient with my kids. And most of the time I hope I do that. But, it's those other times that make me feel like a complete and utter failure as a mom. The times where I become so frustrated and overwhelmed that I yell at my kids. After I apologize for my attrocious and inexcuseable behavior and vow never to do it again, then I try to bury my shame. But, it just waits soft spoken and patient for just the right conditions before it resurfaces.

I didn't intend to be this way. I had the same idealistic ideas that every woman does before she has children.

I was going to play guitar while lying in the grass singing Ben Harper songs with my kids. During which time, I would also teach them to play guitar.
(Please note: I do not play a musical instrument, nor do I sing in public, but I do like Ben Harper.)

I was going to make them try every vegetable on the planet while making them so delicious they'd actually ask for seconds. In a quaint British accent.
(I still do kind of have this fantasy, although I do now realize the accent is a little over the top.)

I was going to sew the kids clothes out of old curtains. Or teach them how to sew their own clothes out of curtains. Or did I get that from a Chinese documentary I saw?
(I did in fact buy a sewing machine and make pajama pants with the kids a few years ago. But the ice cream cones on the girls ended up upside down. So they didn't want to wear them. And they turned out to be really expensive too.)

I was going going to play games in the car and sing "99 Bottles of Beer" on road trips with them.
(Do you know how long that lasts? Less than 5 minutes. And it ends with the kids fighting. Actually it starts with the kids fighting, it ends with me putting ear plugs in.)

I wanted to introduce my kids to volunteering for the less fortunate.
(But, I'm just so busy doing all the things I have to do for my own kids and I'm not sure I even do a good job at that, sometimes I think they're the less fortunate.)

Among many, many other things.

Now, I realize, some of those might be unrealistic, unreasonable or just really unimportant in the big picture. Like the notion that I can be a perfect mom. I can't. And maybe if I give up that ideal, I won't be Old Yeller anymore. Maybe I'll magically transform into fun mom. Or maybe I should just start an alpaca farm, we can spin the wool and I can teach the kids to knit sweaters, we can build a yurt and sell our wares in there. Of course, all the profits would go to charity. And that just might be earplugs.


Leah Griffith said...

Marie, or should I address you as Old Yeller? LOL!! You're a great mom with a big mouth. It's hysterical how we have this magical thinking when it comes to raising our kids. BTW, I believe the making curtains into clothes thing came from Gone With The Wind;) I used to imagine my children being really close like best friend close...they fought with each other from the time they were able to talk. Letting go of magical thinking really freed me up to enjoy the reality of being a mom. It's a messy job but so worth the effort. I'm pleased to announce that my kids finally get along. They are 29, 29 and 31;) Oh, and I still yell. Loved this post!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Yeah, I couldn't manage the ideal stepmom thing, either. But I am one fantastic grandmother, and even then I yell once in a while. My theory is that kids have to keep testing their limits, and grownups have to keep being the walls that the kids run into, or the lassos that grab the kids just before they fly off the cliff. Sometimes volume is the only thing we can dial up in order to get their attention. said...

You have years to go before you are an OLD yeller... Right now, you're just contemporary...

Rachel said...

I see your Old Yeller and raise you an Empty Threatener (it's a word, I looked it up). Imperfect Mothers unite!

Your pajama bottoms made me laugh and reminded me of the last time I attempted to sew. I ended up with a $2 pair of $75 shorts and WEEKS of tears and frustration. I don't know what ever happened to that sewing machine, but I may have demolished it in a fit of blind rage and am now suffering from criminal-minded amnesia. It's possible.


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