I’ll never forget the smug look on my husband’s face the first time I slung a cuss fit in front of our firstborn.
I spent my entire pregnancy worrying that my husband would slip up and utter unsavory words and phrases in front of our children, thus scarring them for life. He rolled his eyes and ignored my concerns, probably because part of him knew that I would ultimately be the one to teach our children curse words. Which, of course, is exactly what happened.
The same thing happened with our tempers. “You’ll scare the kids,” I’d admonish, as my husband stifled screams into a couch pillow while watching his favorite football team lose the championship game. “Don’t yell,” I’d remind our toddlers when they got angry. “Use your inside voice!”
Meanwhile, I came completely unhinged the first time I found our oldest smearing fecal matter all over his bedroom. I yelled until I was hoarse—because when poop is involved, Mommy definitely does not use her inside voice. That’s the thing about parenting: I constantly find myself correcting the very same behaviors that I’m guilty of doing.
Eating like crap. I have to hide the junk food from my kids because if they can see it in the cabinet, they’ll eat it the moment my back is turned. Who wants broccoli when the Pop-Tarts are right there? I’m constantly reminding them that sugary snacks and empty refined carbs won’t fuel their growing brains, which is true, but that also means that they want to know why it’s okay for me to scarf down M&M’s with my coffee on our way to school. BECAUSE I’M A GROWN ASS WOMAN AND I DO WHAT I WANT, THAT’S WHY.
Screen time. I want my kids to be balanced individuals, which is why I work so hard to make sure they read and play outside just as much as they stare at a screen. I manage all of this with my smartphone in my hand because screen limitations are for THEM. Not ME. Right? Right.
Inappropriate language. The horror I felt when my 9-year-old walked into the kitchen, looked at what I was cooking, and yelled “WHAT IS THIS SHIT?” was epic. What would make him say that? Oh, yeah. Probably because I’d just hung up the phone with my best friend, and that’s almost verbatim what I’d been saying to her. Oopsies.
Bad attitudes. I bitched and bitched about getting a pet for the kids. I put it off and complained and dragged my feet. Now that we finally have one—shhh, don’t tell anyone—I put her in my bathrobe and cuddle her when my kids aren’t looking. We have a very special bond, but no one needs to know. I’d rather not have to listen to a round of “I told you so.”
Throwing trash on the floorboard of the car. I’ve been known to yell at my kids for throwing gum wrappers on the floor of our van, while I splash coffee all over the front seat. Hey, it’s a lot harder to drive a car full of kids than people give us credit for. I hit a pothole, okay? Multitasking achievement: unlocked. (Not really.)
Eyerolling and gusty sighs. My kids imitate the same facial expressions they see me making, so that look of contempt shot my way when I shut off the TV? Yeah, that’s the same face I’m going to make at my husband later when he starts snoring. I can’t help that I wear my emotions on my face.
Sloth and general laziness. I guess it’s silly for me to expect my kids to hop to it the minute I announce that it’s time to fold the mountain of laundry that I’ve been ignoring all week, huh? Damn it.
Do as I say, not as I do, kids. It’s just the way life goes. Now, please excuse me while I go mentally check out in front of a screen and cram my pie hole full of candy—right before dinner.