While on vacation, we manage to meet up with some friends for a birthday party. My friends’ kids, two boys, are three and almost five and nice, sedate, sorts. Totally foreign.
The party is at my friend’s in-laws’ house, which is filled with white couches and tall free-standing vases… balanced on pedestals… and filled with decorative sticks… Josie loves a good party and runs from one terrifyingly crushable object to another with me trailing behind her whispering in my most compulsive, creepy, mommy voice – these are not our things. These things belong to our hosts. We must respect our hosts and their things.
Oh, sure Mom, I should respect their things, why didn’t you just say so? I’m totally old enough to grasp that concept.
Just as soon as I’m done explaining why bubbles don’t have feelings, I’m going to explain the concept of respect. I’m sure she’s ready. Then we’ll teach her to tend bar. (Yes, sweetie, that’s right, the green jigger. Good work! Now run along and fetch Mommy a slice of lime.)
The next day, still on vacation, while sitting in the sun reading my magazine, I come across a cartoon that has a picture of mother and child on a playground and says Mommy needs to get mad at you in a weird calm voice now. (I wish I could embed it here but I would have to pay the New Yorker $450 for that right.) This was exactly how I felt the night before, and really, how I feel most of the time.
Why is yelling forbidden? Not that I yell often, but isn’t there a time and a place? Dangers, for example? Or instances of extreme frustration? Sometimes it’s the only way to get the point across. Sometimes the kid needs to know how much trouble she is in. Sometimes nothing else works.
Shouldn’t we be free to show the whole range of emotions to our children? Can’t we be loving and happy and nurturing but also sometimes frustrated and angry and just pissed off? Can I write a whole blog post consisting only of questions? Perhaps.
My point is this (I think): why do we have to act all weird? This is how life is. It’s tough, and if we argue and get frustrated and then reconnect and work things out, aren’t we better off for it?
Can I get a hell yes and a fist pump from all the angry mommies in the house?