In my imaginary world where I’m perfect at everything, I am a mean mom. Not gratuitously cruel, just very strict. And as a result, my child behaves impeccably.
In the real world, I’m a pushover. I never in a million years thought I’d turn out to be a pushover parent. In those years before-child, I had a sharp tongue, quick to judge any parent who showed the slightest inclination to cave to the whining of their offspring.
Then life happened. A life in which I am quite literally paid to fight with people all day. All very long day as a matter of fact. And by the time I get home, for the love of Pete I just don’t want to fight with people any more, can we just let it go?
And consequently, I let my kid get away with a lot of nonsense. I feel like a lame parent about it, but we’re talking about me letting her slide for jumping on the couch when her dad’s not looking or letting her eat noodles with her fingers, it’s not like I’m letting her smoke crack in the closet.
Then, of course, Tuesday happened.
Baby Beez was in quite a pathetic sickly state when I picked her up from daycare Monday. She was actually laying on the floor, moaning. She didn’t have a fever, but she clearly did not feel well. And then we went through Monday night. She kept me up almost all night, alternating between coughing her head off, whining to come into bed with me, me caving and saying “fine, just climb in my bed” and then after 20 minutes of her spinning around in the sheets like a whirling dervish, I snap “GO BACK TO YOUR BED, I NEED SOME REST.”
I kept the sicky child home on Tuesday. She spent the morning resting calmly. As the day wore on, she was clearly feeling better, because she went from resting on the couch to climbing on the ceiling. Before bedtime, I spent an hour with her playing “scaring simulator,” which involved putting a stuffed animal on the recliner, and then we snuck up and ROARED. Six hundred times.
Then it was bedtime, and she roared her terrible roars and showed her terrible claws and gnashed her terrible teeth. But I tossed her in the bed and said “SLEEP” because I was desperate to get some exercise in. And I went downstairs and plugged my earphones in my ears and hopped on the treadmill and jogged jogged jogged and then…..there is Baby Beez. Downstairs. Coloring at her easel. Because naturally, what else would she be doing when she didn’t feel like sleeping?
I feel like if Regulator Daddy were home she wouldn’t have dared sneak out of bed. But he’s not. And so she’s under the supervision of a sucker. And you know what I did…of course I said “Hey kid, I’ve got 20 minutes left in this workout. So enjoy the time while you’ve got it.”
SERIOUSLY, WHO DOES THAT.
Once my workout was over, I hauled her back upstairs, put her back in bed. And a few moments later, the door creaked open. I scolded her to get back in bed. She started the whining about “But I want yoooo” and dear lord I wanted to take a shower and I needed just one minute away from whining and I stirred up a deep roar of “GET. BACK. IN. YOUR. BED. NOW. AND. GO. TO. SLEEP.”
And that room was silent the rest of the night. I need to try this enforcer stuff more often.