Sunday, February 24, 2008

Terrible Mother 2

I regularly read a column called Terrible Mother on The writer, another single, divorced, custodial parent, eloquently streams together all the words in my head and heart about what it's like to co-parent with someone who does not have to (and usually doesn't) pick up the slack.

Her latest column really hit home with me because:
  1. This was one of the every other weeks where the ex doesn't see the kids at all from Thursday night to Tuesday night.
  2. I feel like shit. (Specifically, I have a cold, a cough, a sore throat, fatigue, blurry eyesight, weakness, etc.)
  3. I was a terrible mother this weekend.
I'm guessing that, while 1) and 2) are not excuses for 3), they were definitely contributing factors.

I decided that since I probably did too much yesterday, we would take it easy today. No church, no meeting, we didn't even get dressed. We watched a lot of movies, the kids did some artwork, and we even made sugar cookies. Sounds like pretty good mothering, huh? Between stints as Carol Brady, there was also a lot of me napping on the couch and getting pissed when the kids woke me up and lots and lots of threatening to take things away if whining and fighting continued (there was a lot of whining and fighting, probably due to the fact that there were 3 of us in 900 square feet all day).

At one point, the kids were watching Little Bill, which set off my bad mommy tapes. (My mind map: Little Bill to Bill Cosby to The Cosby Show to Claire Huxtable). I kept thinking about how Claire Huxtable didn't yell at or threaten her kids but managed to command respect with a single look (and the look didn't include gritted teeth). She always stayed calm and never acted like she did not like her kids.

I did not like my kids all day today. At one point, we were watching Call of the Wild on demand with Rick Shroeder. It was PG but we had already seen all the animated crap that was rated G--even the Chipmunk movie I swore I would never watch. My children, bless their hearts, did not shut up throughout the whole move. First there were the questions: What's going to happen now, Mommy? What's that, Mommy? Why'd he do that, Mommy? Are they in Alaska, Mommy? I think we didn't get through one scene in the entire movie without a question. Then, there was the bickering: Stop touching me, Ruby! Zane's in my way, Mommy! I can't hear with her talking! Your feet smell! And then the demands: I'm thirsty--can you pour me some juice? Can we make popcorn? I'm still hungry--what are my choices? Can you pause the movie so I can go pee-pee? Wait, I have to go first!

They're in bed now. I think the're alseep. I gave them baths, read them books, and now I'm afraid to go check on them. If they're still awake, I want to smile, all the way up to my eyes, and channel Claire Huxtable to get them to settle down and close their eyes, but I'm afraid I will grit my teeth, croak out another threat in my laryngitis voice, and leave them to their nightmares of being chased my a rabid mother dinosaur. I'm going to check now.

The terrible mother dinosaur is dead...for today, anyway. Claire was there to kiss my beautiful sleeping babies on their cheeks. Tomorrow's another day, Scarlett.


  1. Saw your comment on TM's thread...
    Hubby & I are on-board again this year to do the MS 150 bike event; this year it's personal bcz one of MY good friends was diagnosed around the same time you were!
    Small world, eh?
    I can relate to the loving-your-children-but-not-liking-'em; my 9-yr old's "sleep hygeine" score feels like an F, thanks to our lovely co-parenting plan -- he fights bedtime tooth n' nail bcz I think it's one of the few things in his life he feels that he CAN control... But he's knocking Mom out!
    Sorry for filling up your comment thread; I need to hit the hay myself!
    Best wishes, Val

  2. Julie, If I had a nickel for every time I've said to myself, "Tomorrow's another day." after my boys have fallen asleep... You sound like a wonderful mom to me. Give yourself permission to be human (imperfect.)