“If you don’t get away from me, we will be on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper.”
“Leave this room, or I’ll be gifted a small holiday in a jail cell.”
“Please, Lord, just keep them alive until bedtime.”
“If you don’t behave, I am duct-taping you to the ceiling fan and shooting you with Nerf guns.” This one backfired on me. They thought it was a great idea. I had to hide the duct tape.
Terrible things for a parent to say, huh?
No, it’s not. In fact, it’s perfectly normal. Telling your child that they have pushed you to your breaking point is healthy. It lets your child know that their behavior has emotional consequences. I prefer to do it in a more joking way than most. My children share my sense of humor, so it works with them.
However, you must know your child. My children know, without a doubt, that I love them and they have seen firsthand that I will protect them no matter what. They know they can wake me up if it’s after 7, or just curl up in bed with me if it’s before. They know the rules, because I enforce the rules. They know what punishment will happen if a specific rule is broken. They know I wouldn’t actually do what I threaten. It’s just a fun way of mom saying, “I’m hitting my breaking point.”
Some children are serious and just need to be told that their behavior is making you angry, and they need to leave the room while you calm down.
With only my most sensitive child did I keep most of what I was thinking to myself when she aggravated me. One day she asked me, “Why don’t you joke around with me like you do the others?” I said, “I thought it might hurt your feelings, because you feel things more than they do.” Turns out she felt left out, so I began saying them to her as well.
It would probably look a bit odd to an outsider to see my young daughter smile, because I threatened to hang her upside down in the pantry, and let the dog lick her face (something she hated), if she didn’t stop arguing with me over her talking to her characters at the same time she was talking to me (my writer). Seriously, it became very confusing as to who (whom?) she was addressing.
Anyone who tells you that they have never, just for a brief second, wanted to duct tape their non-stop screaming child’s mouth shut is lying. Well, okay, they may have thought of holding the child’s head under water instead.
Guess what? It’s okay to have those thoughts!
Does this make you a bad parent? No. Following through on it would make you a bad parent, and you’d definitely get that jail “holiday”. There is nothing wrong with letting your child know you are human, you have limits and they’ve reached them.
Thinking things like this doesn’t make you a bad parent. It makes you a human one. It makes you a parent who has limits like all parents. That mom you know who seems to have perfect children and life? I can guarantee you there are times she would like to lock herself in a closet with a box of chocolate.
As I said before, I have 6 living children. Some were super easy to raise. Only a stern look was needed to stop whatever they were doing wrong. Others were lucky they lived to see the following sunrise. One in particular greatly enriched my prayer life as I prayed to God to keep me from sending that boy through a window. And no, I’m not kidding. He lived and is my Marine. One day I will write about him. Some days, I just wanted a nonstop supply of alcohol to drown out the memories of the past 12 hours.
I told a friend one day, “Enjoy them while you can. They grow up so fast.” Later, I realized that was an asinine comment to make. She couldn’t enjoy them because, as she was telling me, they had literally destroyed drywall in her house (they ended up having to replace a 4×8 sheet), ripped out her crochet project that she’d been working on for months which was a present for her mother (deliberate orneriness), dumped all the flour on the floor (she has a limited budget and had to make a birthday cake), and many other things and it was just now their nap time. Yes, this was all in one morning.
In my attempt to be “wise”, I was stupid. Instead of making her feel better, I made her feel worse. At that moment, she didn’t want to be a mom. She didn’t want to deal with what they had done. Who would? Replacing an entire sheet of drywall, getting flour out of kids’ hair and every crevice of the kitchen, redoing her project, etc. Her frustration level was extremely high at that time.
What she needed was acknowledgement that it was okay to not want them around at that moment. She needed to know it was okay to feel like she wanted to walk out of the house and leave them behind. It didn’t mean she hated them. It just meant she was at her limit and needed a “mommy time-out”. She felt guilty about feeling that way. What she needed to hear was IT’S NORMAL! It’s okay!
People don’t think twice about thinking negative things about their spouses, parents or friends, but if they think it about their children then “Oh my goodness, what a terrible parent I am!” Society has made people think they have to be perfect parents and love their kids all the time.
It’s not true. Depending on the child, you may have a 2 legged dictator, wrecking ball, monkey impersonating a human (and all the behaviors that entails); you may think of changing one’s name to Houdini, Chicken Little or any other name you can think of that describes that child to a “T”.
When you see the refrigerator emptied of the groceries, eggs broken all over the floor, smashed fruit and know that you have no money for two weeks to buy more, because you took a shower when you thought the 4-year-old was napping – it’s okay to feel resentful! It’s okay to be mad! As long as you don’t take it out on your child – you’re not a bad parent. You’re a normal one!
Do they grow up fast? Yes, they do. Do you have to enjoy every minute of their lives? No, you don’t. Is it okay to think bad thoughts about your personal collection of Oompa-Loompas? Yes, it is. Especially if they start singing “Gangsta’s Paradise” in the middle of church.