Katie Wisdom Weinstein: I was at a party recently. A kind of a reunion, where I had known all these party-goers since I was 12 years old. There was a lot of teasing and laughing and sharing our craziest stories. There were lots of little ones around too, so I would start a conversation with a mom and finish the conversation with the dad, as they tag teamed out to watch the kids in the playroom. I remember this parenting trade-off -- it was the ultimate in conversation interruptions. We would each get to enjoy the party, but rarely together! My kids are now typically the oldest at the party. We can count on them to manage themselves and they will come get us if somebody else's kid is drawing on the walls or spitting on the dog.
This party was mellow and I was struck with how patient, flexible and relaxed these parents were. Wait. Was I like that? It is foggy. It was more than 10 years ago. I cannot really remember. I know I enjoyed a few parties, but since we had some of the first kids in our group of friends, I think I was worried that my kids would paint the cat or poop on the carpet and show everyone what a heinous mom I was. Anyway, I have the general notion that I was WAY more patient than I am now. My kids were and are pretty stellar in public. In hindsight, I did not have anything to really worry about. I suppose we did not and still do not have too many family secrets that would shock my friends. Besides being precocious and hilarious, my kids are good party goers and good sports.
So, what happened to me? When did I get so intolerable and irascible that by 9 PM, I am exhausted, crawling into bed like Gollum crawling back into his cave? Why is it getting worse? Well, it could be this chaotic life I have chosen: full-time work, middle school drama (for all of us, because after all, this drama is better than a not-so-real, reality show), an ancient, filthy house, pets, traveling husband, family and a general circus-like life. In one word? STRESS!
I definitely do not feel like the patient, "let's let the kids explore their world," answer every question, understand when rules are broken kind of mom anymore. I need a stress buster. Sometimes even I wish I could go into the playroom and draw on the walls or spit on the dog just to see what would happen. It could help. My kids think I can be mean. My husband definitely thinks I am mean.
It seems that the older I get, the more impatient I become. I am learning this patience thing takes practice and that just because I was once, doesn't mean I am now. Most moms say they are getting more patient with age. Not me. I am looking at my friends with babies now and thinking, "F that!" If I had a baby now, I think I would accidentally let that baby watch TV before age 2 or let that tinkle-filled diaper hang 'til it hit the floor. And those years of shopping with a toddler? Forget it. I know too much. I am sure I would let the kids slobber all over grocery store items, then put them back on the shelf. I would leave them unattended in the grocery cart, standing up. I would most def allow them to eat marshmallows for breakfast because I was too tired and impatient to keep fighting them. I would be a hot mess.
I love kids, don't get me wrong. Try not to take me too literally (Lordy, though, I love the comments from people who do). I just think that personally, I am such a distance from the years when patience shaped my every day, that I could not recreate it now. It is now mildly entertaining, my impatience with the world. I have decided, right now, to use it as a tool, against tools. As in, you are a tool and I want to make sure you know it, so let me tell you all the ways you are a tool. My kids are rolling their eyes at me, now. They have about as much patience for me as I have for their ridiculous middle school antics.
So, to sum up: The older I get, the more impatient I become. Your kids are not safe with me as a guardian. I spit on my dog, on occasion. My kids often think I am mean. I will use my impatience as a new superpower to fight the tools of the world. Nice. Now, someone go write something mean about me, so I can use my impatience for the greater good...
|Katie Wisdom Weinstein is a professional modern momma. She lives in Portland, Oregon in a 100 year old house with her husband, Jess, and her two children Ruby, age 10 and Skylar, age 12. Cooking, camping, negotiating with pre-teens and allowing a zoo of animals in her house are her pastimes.|