3/12/2008

Confessions

It was suggested recently that I write a post about parental confessions, opening the floor to anyone who wanted to chime in. Oddly enough, I'd been planning to do this as soon as I had a moment to scrape brain remnants off the floor to mold a coherent thought or two.

Lord knows I could start a new blog chock full of my bad parenting moments rather than a single post, even at this early stage of my job as a shaper of a young mind. However, I'll have a go and it will no doubt be equal parts appalling and arresting.

-Floor food: P is a thrower. Our kitchen is painted in what is surely 50% matt paint, 50% smeared foods. The ratio has perhaps shifted in favour of Miscellaneous Food after tonight's dinner of mashed potato and Ham and Emmenthal slice was added to the wall, you know, to mix it up a bit.

I work full-time and as a person not particularly fond of large amounts of housework, things may get a bit untidy at times. Food, may, hypothetically, sit on the floor for a good 24 hours. Child may, hypothetically, eat said food every once in awhile. In fact, the child may actually prefer floor food at times. Whilst chewing on a crusty lump of the previous night's dinner, P often ruminates on her love of day-old food, preferring its slightly crunchier/bendier/congealed texture. There are times when she will purposefully throw her food on the floor and refuse to eat, then, an hour or two later, go back to said (now) floor food and consume it happily. I don't stop her. In fact, I will usually just ask her if the floor food tastes good. It's tremendously unhygenienic and I'm far too casual about it, so no doubt she'll spend the rest of her life trawling through dumpsters for rancid meat and black bananas. It brings to mind one of David Sedaris' tales about his father Lou, a man who favoured rotten food. God I love Sedaris. Anyway...

-TV is my saving grace. P isn't in front of the TV every hour in which she is home with me, but I'll confess I put it on some evenings when I'm trying to make dinner, and I almost always put it on first thing on a Sunday morning when I get up with her. I blame all of you, because if it wasn't for reading blogs, I'd spend more quality time with my kid. Fuckers. Tearing a loving mother away from her darling child who needs to be nurtured and taught many exciting things each day...for shame!

-We get down to Jay Z. So he says things like, "You're now tuned to the motherfucking greatest" and "I got 99 problems but a bitch ain't one", but damn, that stuff is catchy and I cannot give up my Jigga, not even for the fruit of my loins. I tell myself that she can't possibly pick up any swearing when the words are being sung or rapped, but I'm sure I am deluding myself. In case any of you are particularly worried about poor P's ears being bombarded with swearing, I am strictly Disney around the kid. I don't even say "crap". Look at that restraint.

-I sometimes laugh when she cries. Not only do I laugh, I take pictures. With flash. I then laugh at the picture and her at the same time. The proof is in the sadistic, day-old pudding:





-I sometimes wish P could sprout some hair on the sides of her head to banish the mullet for good. It's beyond lame, but I do think to myself how she would look so much cuter if she could grow a full head of hair, rather than 60% of it. Could I be any more shallow? If I was smart, I'd confess such things anonymously in my own comments section.

-Despite confining P to a nursery all day, every day, I have quite a few evenings during which her bedtime couldn't come fast enough. This means I have spent a grand total of about 2 hours with her and I still want her to be in bed so I can have some time to myself. I blame the constant teething for making her an evil hellbeast, thus forcing my hand. Not my actual hand, as in I hit her, because I don't. The metaphorical hand. Hey, this is a confessions thread, I didn't want you to get the wrong idea!

-Last but not least, the confession which would banish me from the company of most mums, at least the ones I know - I don't want to spend every waking hour with her. In fact, I could quite happily go away for a week or so and not spend all of my time pining for my daughter. That is not to say I'd miss her, because I would. Tremendously. Would I spend most hours of those days wishing I could leave my vacation so I could be home with her again? No. Every mother I know seems to feel the complete opposite, to the point that I wonder if I love P enough. I think I do, but maybe my love is more finite than theirs, I don't know. I can't tell you how many times I have heard the expression, "I just can't bear to be away from ::insert child's name here::!" from some gushing mother. It happens in real life, and it happens in bloglandia. I don't feel this way, and I haven't since she was born. I spend a significant part of my working day thinking about her - wondering what she's doing, revelling in her assured brilliance, smiling at the amazing little girl she has become, but during none of this time do I think that I simply must be with her.

I would feel guilty enough feeling this way if I was home with her all the time, but I'm not. I work 40 hour weeks so I'm separated from her a lot, but I still feel like this. One of the hardest things for me to cope with immediately after P's birth was my (our) complete lack of freedom. Our lives were not our own, which, after all, is the basic premise of parenting. I really struggled, and obviously still do, with this notion. When I am given this time to be me rather than someone's mother, I take it. I need to not always be identified as Mummy. I need to sometimes be Pru.

So that's my sad tale of shite parenting. Please, add your own comments, anonymously if you wish. Though I have a stats counter, I hardly have the time nor inclination to match ISPs up with trails and times, or what have you, so anonymous means anonymous. I will make this post a permanent link in my sidebar, so that anyone can leave a comment there at any point and not need to trawl through my archives. I don't think this needs to be limited to current parents either. I think there are plenty of guilt-inducing confessions which can arise from the whole trying-to-get-pregnant scene as well. In my case it would have been my distinct lack of maternal feelings even in the midst of years of fertility treatment. Going through the emotional and physical rigors of treatment all the while disliking children could be perceived as a slight conflict of interests. It was always the pink elephant in the room for me, and even today I like my own kid, but the list almost ends there.

Tell us your confessions and fears. NO JUDGING!

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Quick whoring moment - I have been avoiding actually doing any work at work lately, so I hang out doing the Google chat thing in Gmail with my Cheese Hand to make the hours melt away. I would love to mix it up a bit and talk to other people as well, so please, indulge me sometime and message me (BarrenAlbion). I'll probably be frightfully dull and you'll regret it always.

29 comments:

statia said...

I dare any parent to say they spend every waking minute being productive with their child. Even the best, most hands on parent needs a break. I let him play by himself in the morning so that I can get my email on, eat my breakfast and wake up so that I can listen to sonic level screaming until nap time. It takes me forever to fall asleep, and it takes me that much longer to wake up.

I totally let the Mini watch tv. Not all day, but he gets to watch a half an hour of baby signing time 3-4 times a week.

And eating food off the floor isn't that unsanitary. I mean, unless you're into scatting and you don't clean up after yourselves. Otherwise, it's good for her immune system to have a few floor germs.

I totally make fun of the Mini when he starts with the whiny tantrum cries. He looks ridiculous and he thinks he's going to get his way. When I make fun of him, not only does he stop crying, but he starts laughing. "Yeah, it's pretty ridiculous when I do it isn't it? It pretty much looks the same way when you do it." I figure, the money that I'll put into the therapy fund for that is completely worth it.

elizasmom said...

1. I have it on good authority — as in, from an acquaintance who is an immunologist — that in fact, it is BETTER for your kid to be exposed to dirt, including floor food. Crucial for strengthening their immune systems.

2. My kid has been so annoying lately that even my husband, who is of the sunshine and roses lalalala denial variety r.e. obnoxiousness of his girlie, has been complaining. Today he told me he wants to get a calendar so we can count down to her summer camp.

3. One time, Eliza was doing some nutty rappelling maneuver on her bookshelf and I warned her she'd hurt herself, and then somehow, she managed to wedge herself ass over teakettle between the bed and the wall. She wasn't hurt, but plenty pissed, and I have to confess, I laughed.

4. I have, on more than one occasion, told her "I told you so!"

orodemniades said...

Thank you thank you thank you.

The Chieftain is only 11 days old (!!) but I was beginning to wonder if my lack of 'l-o-v-e' was just me being depressed and shit, or if it was just me being me. I've concluded that 'love' is just the wrong word for how I feel about him, that actually, it's something far deeper and more primal than I could have ever imagined. So, I can't say that I 'love' him, but no motherfucker better touch a hair on that child's head, or any other if in my presence, is what all I'm saying. Maybe it would help if he looked a little bit like me...but then I say to myself, Oro, you saw him taken from your own womb, he's definitely yours!!

Either that, or my clinic has some 'splainin to do.

He's my treasure and I can't imagine life without him (no, that's not true, I can imagine it all too easily, which makes me sob as if I'd lost a beloved family member). And yet...it's weird. I don't know how to explain it.

Anyway, thanks for 'outing' yourself...

Anonymous said...

It's my opinion that those mothers who say they can't bear to be parted from their little one for any amount of time are goddamn liars.

How can anyone want to spend so much time with someone so selfish, because, admit it, babies are selfish little tyrants.

I love my kid beyond belief, she's the only person I would take a bullet for, but she's annoying the ever-loving piss out of me these days. The teething is kicking our asses and there have been times this past week that I have wanted to hand her off to her dad and run away from home.

So, the muffy moms who say they can't be parted from baby for any amount of time can kiss my ass because I was GLAD to return to work on Monday just to get away from the squaling, whining, tantrum throwing jerk that had possessed my sweet baby last weekend.

mm said...

We're all for floor food chez Limbo. Without it, LL would surely starve as the little devil refuses to eat from his highchair much of the time. That and I forget to feed him snacks. Yes, that's right. I forget to feed my child. Doesn't get any better than that, folks. But it's not as if LL takes a minute out from maniacally screaming while pointing at the phone (his preferred pastime these days... must be waiting on a call from his bookie) to remind me that he's hungry. I actually felt so guilty for depriving him of snacks today that I gave him a giant bowl of ice cream after dinner to compensate for the lost calories.... and um, well, because I forgot to buy milk (again) and the kid needed calcium. Those are just my most recent feeding related sins. I also have a magnitude of suckage with regard to spotty teeth brushing, bath giving, and playdates (or lack therof. I hate people, you see.) In all seriousness, thank you for this post. I've been feeling like a shitastic mother recently and could use some reassurance that other peeps don't always get it right. At least the cool ones don't, anyway.

electriclady said...

No time for long comment so in brief:

1. Floor food. Yes. Also I watched my child pick up, examine, place in her mouth, chew, and swallow a scrap of paper. I made a half-hearted attempt to get it out, but she was pretty determined to keep it and those tiny teeth are sharp, dude.

2. I wish my kid had hair too. All the other kids have hair!

3. I work all day and have at most 2 hours each weekday with BG but there are many, many days when bedtime can't come fast enough.

I'm sure there's MUCH more but I had a long day and need to go stuff my face with chocolate now.

Nic said...

Confession #1: I locked Ant in the car the other day. Not on purpose, but still!

#2: I am so totally with you on being okay with being away from him during the day. In fact, to be honest, as long as I know he's safe, I really don't think about him that much at all when I'm not with him. So I'm even a worse mom than you are :-p

#3: I often have a hard time not laughing when he throws a tantrum. And I make myself feel better because one time when I was crying for a reason that now seems particularly inane, he laughed at me. Fair is fair!

I have more, but right now I need to put out the trash and get to bed! Great post :-)

Eva said...

1. I've given up on avoiding germ sharing. I let them swap sippy cups, put food into each others' mouths, pick their own nose and then their sibling's...

2. I sometimes keep my kids in high chairs so I can be on my computer, and my husband has to come rescue them.

3. My kids eat more goldfish and Gerber fruit bits than I think is right, but I'm too lazy to do them better.

4. We only give the kids milk like once a day, if that (though they do get it at daycare).

Better stop now or become anonymous. That did feel kind of good, though!

May said...

Oh, I think 80% of mothers out there could have authored this post, myself included. (Though with considerably less style.) I agree that people who "cannot bear to be away from little junior" are big liars.

I ignore D a lot. A LOT. When she's poorly behaved, I ignore her so as not to encourage the bad behavior. When she's well behaved, I often am doing dishes, laundry, or on the computer. I have to remind myself to go sit down and color with her or something.

And the new baby? I still forget he's mine, and he's 2 months old now. He sleeps a lot at the park in the mornings while I'm pushing D on the swings or, more likely, socializing with other mothers. Then I'll hear a baby crying and think, "Whose baby is that?"

Um, that would be mine.

wheelsonthebus said...

You're kidding, right? Those cannot possibly be your worst confessions. All normal people do those things. I used to think I should scatter veggies along the floor to make them more appealing to Zachary.

I lose my patience. I wish I laughed at the tantrums. I snap. I sometimes yell or bark. It isn't every day or even every week, but it sure happens. Sometimes, like last night when he refused to be washed in the tub, I was not as physically gentle as I could have been. I just forged on ahead, fully aware that a better mother would try to be gentler. It is not violent or anything even in that ballpark, and usually I will hold him when he is upset, but every now and then, I just do what needs to be done, even if it means physical force.

Seriously. You never yell? Are you kidding? Because that's WAY worse than a few curse words on the radio. Honestly, email me your response, because I had made peace with it but now you have me feeling like a terrible mother.

OvaGirl said...

Pretty much all these things (except the hair) hits the spot. And last night I said to my husband, do you ever wish he was a girl?

Bittermama said...

LOVE this: "If I was smart, I'd confess such things anonymously in my own comments section."

I'll have to come back later to share my true confessions, because right now I'm catching up on blog posts while my son eats breakfast upstairs alone.

LIW (Lady In Waiting) said...

That was an absolutely fantastic post! I laughed through the entire thing. And loved each and every minute of it. It was so refreshing to hear from someone else who does not want her entire persona to be defined by motherhood. One of my dirty secrets is that I spent a decade of my life simply not wanting children at all. Not a bit. Not an inkling. For some bizarre reason that changed when I approached 30, though I don't believe it had anything to do with the infamous biological clock. Despite the fact that I already love Little Life completely, I don't want his/her existence to be what I am all about. And, if IF didn't beat the shit out of me, I would be even more afraid of all the freedom that I will lose. But I confess that there were times that I wondered if infertility treatment was worth it. I hated it. I despised ivf. Still do.

I know that I will love Little Life when he/she is outside of my body and demanding my attention. But I also know that I will often yearn to be away from him/her. That I will miss my quiet time and the luxury of hanging out in my own mind when I want/need to.

And, as an aside, I am already grateful for the fact that my dog will keep the floor clean. Except for the dog hair, of course. Hopefully, Little Life won't want to snack on that!

BRAVO for this brave post!

XOXOXO

Helen said...

I'm all in for this.

1) I love my children madly. MADLY. But when grandma and grandpa come to visit you bet they can babysit. In fact, only call me if the kids are bleeding from their eyes, m'kay? And day care was a seriously hard adjustment for me but I find I think it's good for them to go there, and good for me, too. My dad keeps saying he's going to take the babies for a few weeks every summer from the time they're about 5, and I think: Rock on, man. Sure you just want them for a few weeks?

2) My kids watch TV. Only CBeebies, and only a little tiny bit in the morning and maybe 30 minutes of In the Night Garden before bed.

3) Unless they're sick. Both babies have been ill and you bet they were parked in front of CBeebies because NOTHING made them happy.

4) Until recently, the babies have been getting jarred food. I now make food for them, but before that? All jarred.

5) The babies don't get a bath every day. Not only because their skin gets too dry but seriously, I can't handle the screaming.

MoMo said...

I just found out that I am being let go of my job this June...and I am dreading the full days with B. I love him to death, but th thought of being a stay at home mom scares the cr*p out of me. I can't look for another job for at least 8 months due to P. I am pretty sure there will be lots of tv watching...we do it now and I only get to be with him about 4 hrs a day!!

calliope said...

can not stop laughing at the photos.

DD said...

I haven't figured out why you haven't taken full advantage of P's hair and mohawked - big time. While you're at it, you can buy that spray in color and just rock it.

I took pictures plenty-o-times of XBoy in fits: time-outs, tantrums in the back seat. I still do and I love it when he gets even pissier. I figure he'll burn off that attitude all the faster that way.

My son didn't learn how to make his own sub-sandwich because we have been all about infusing him with independence. He's hungry - I'm not (because I'm napping). He'll have a ham, turkey, slice of cheese on a hot dog bun with dressing and pepper and be as happy as a clam and I don't have to do bupkiss. Which reminds me, I really need to rearrange where I keep the cereal - it's too high.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you all suck at the mom thing, FAIL!

Shadiva said...

Annnd....there it is.

And just for the record, the first anonymous post was me. I didn't intend to post anonymously, I just wasn't signed into my acct.

So there.

Becky said...

Dude, the list continues here:

*I don't bathe my kids every day. Usually once a week.

*Sometimes, due to Ben's massive list of issues, I worry that I care for Alex more.

*I feed them both fast food at least once a week, despite the fact that I am home and could conceivably cook.

*Rather than do a project with my eldest, I will let him play video games. A lot.

*I have vivid fantasies about running away from my family from time to time and starting a new life, away from shitty diapers and incessant demands.

I'm sure I've got more. I'll think on it and likely be back.

Jenn said...

Shoot, they had their first overnight away from me trip to grandma's at 5 weeks old. I'm going away from them for three days next month and we're both going away for 4 days in May. They'll be fine.

We have floor food, I do my best not to let them eat it.

They entertain themselves a LOT.

When Nick fell face down in the snow and started crying, I totally took a picture before helping him.

We're both working 40 hrs a week from home with no childcare and I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing yet.

I'm sure there are more but I'm too tired and sick to think of anything more.

B. Mare said...

This all sounds really normal! Parenthood seems to me to be a long litany of stuff I thought I would never do, and now I find myself doing it anyway. Here's my list:

1. Jarred food. I suck at feeding myself, and can't cook for shit. So even though I made an initial stab at all homemade fresh food- guess what she eats mostly now? Jars. Lots of 'em.

2. We watch In the Night Garden every day on Ceebies for about 15 minutes. And I actually bought a mini plush toy of one of the characters (which, I might add, she LOVES).

3. The floor under the Tripp Trapp highchair should probably be classified as a biohazard area. Though a lot of what she drops, the dog licks up. Come to that, the whole house is a bombsite most days. I like to clean and all, but there is only so much I can do with a fussy infant strapped in an Ergo.

4. One of the reasons I haven't been able to get Botany on a different sleep schedule is because by 7pm, she is so tired and fussy and frankly, I am just DONE and put her to bed.

I could go on but I have a blog for that, after all!

Rachel said...

We watch A LOT of TV. A LOT. A crazy lot. But we went to the peds yesterday for the 18-month checkup (only a month late!) and the doctor was astounded at the number and types of words Jillian was saying, so... hooray TV.

I'm so lazy about the food thing that Jillian HAS to eat whatever we are eating because I'm not about to make an entire second meal just for her. And the dining room is carpeted, so we had to buy a plastic mat thingy for under her chair. It is DISGUSTING, but[shrug].

Floor food is the snack standard here. Freddie freaks out about it but he only sees it on weekends since he's working all week. It works just fine for us.

And Mama's Day Off is Sunday. I will rip the face off of anyone who gets in the way of my alone time with People magazine and Starbucks at the bookstore.

Angela said...

1. There has been yelling. Yes.
2. There has been swearing. Yes. Even the big guns.
3. There is an ability to happily leave home for days on end without pining for them. ABSOFREAKINGLUTELY.
4. There has even (gasp) been an occasional desperate resorting to spanking. Yes.
5. And the short one has been spanked more. Yelled at more. Escaped from...more.
6. She knows this, and she takes it personally sometimes. However, the short one IS CHALLENGING.
7. I sometimes forget that they've been sacked out in front of the television or on Webkinz for a very long time. Very. Long. Time.
8. Two days ago, they ate donuts for breakfast. A lot of donuts.
9. I don't particularly enjoy reading to them. Their books bore me most days.
10. I haven't changed their bedsheets in well over two weeks now. Oops.

Magpie said...

I love it when my child is asleep in her bed, or even in mine, and I'm not. I love her dearly, but she is exhausting.

rockmama said...

You CAN'T make it all about your children. You just can't, if you want to stay sane. Everyone needs "me" time, some more than others. There are times when I wish to god the Prawn was tired and would go down for a nap, just so I could sit on the couch with a cup of tea and pick my nose for 15 minutes.

I love the Prawn hugely and wouldn't swap her, but some days I still long for a time when I didn't have to leave the house with enough crap to service a squadron of incontinent marines.

Sober Briquette said...

Linking over from Wheels on the Bus.

Love yours.

Here's mine:

I'd love to get away from them so desperately, I'd get a job I don't even need, except I'm too lazy and burnt out to make the effort. I think I'd yell and whine even more if I only had them two hours a day.

Pathetic.

pixi said...

Ditto to many of these, and I'll add one -- I hate it when I lose my cool w/my husband in front of my kid. My parents were terrible fighters, and it traumatized my sibs and me greatly. I always said that I wouldn't fight with my husband in front of my child, but I do. And I'm always the one who starts it -- nothing, nothing like my parents used to do, and I don't do it often, but there have been times. I always feel like shit after it happens, especially now that my son is old enough to know what's happening.

Kristi said...

There are mothers who want to be in their kids' company every second of the day? No one I want to be friends with, that's for sure.

Here's my taxicab confession: I will sometimes dump a small ocean of Cheerios on my daughter's high chair tray and then escape to the computer to check email, blogs, etc. She's happy, I'm happy. Everyone's a winner!