In the World of Mom, there are three little words that are inevitable, and ones mothers everywhere dread the most: I hate you. For me, it comes standard in the toddler version: I don’t want my mommy.
This has been an ongoing battle for the last three months. I don’t know if it is because Tiny is getting older, and needs his daddy more, whether it is because Daddy was head of the tee ball league, or whether my child is just being contrary for fun–because he gets away with it around the non-mother parent.
Whatever the case, I’m done.
I believe I have already established myself as Head Mom, Ruler of Tiny Tot’s World in past blogs. Maybe not with quite such an awesome title. The phrase paralleled those sentiments, though. I am Mom–my ways, my rules; total respect of the title demanded.
Sunday, however, after receiving a text from preschool stating, “Please bring a box large enough for your child to fit in on Monday. We will be focusing on a unit of transportation,” I busted my rear to bring a box to Tiny Tot–on Father’s Day. They were playing at a park, Dad, Tiny, and Brother, wheeling around on tricycles, having a terrific day in the sun.
My day, up until that point, had been a joyous occasion. I went to church with my family, got to hang out with my favorite niece, and celebrated Father’s Day with my most-awesome father. So, I pull into the park, wearing a pretty sundress, and five inch heels, and head toward the trio of boys. Tiny sees me, turns his trike around, and wheels in the other directions.
Great. I see where this is going. I looked at his dad, frustrated, and got a complacent, “Boys will be boys” shrug. Somehow, that made my blood boil.
“Hey, Son Son, Mommy brought you a box for preschool tomorrow. Come give your old mom a hug!” At this point I am still feeling hopeful, bright, and somewhat bubbly. It didn’t last long.
“No. I don’t want you. I want to stay with my daddy.”
“Sweetie, all I did was bring a box to give daddy for school tomorrow. Mommy hasn’t seen you all weekend. Please give Mommy a hug.”
“No!” my tiny human declared, and wheeled away.
Now, at this point I have options: chase down the toddler, yank him off his bike kicking and screaming, force him either into a time out, or into giving me a hug … or walk the hell away.
Because of my geriatric knee, I opted for the latter. I don’t run.
“Fine,” I said, theatrically, “If you don’t give your mother a hug, she’s leaving.”
The response was no, so I took off my heels, turned around, and started walking away.
It was at this point that Tiny Tot’s dad decided to speak up, exclaiming, “What? You’re leaving?”
Um, yes I am leaving. This attitude and disrespect toward me–the mother–has been allowed to go on for far too long, by him–the dad. I get it; my tiny person loves his father, and his father relishes in the much-needed attention from his three year-old son. But, it should not be at the detriment of me, the one who gave birth to him.
Typically at this point I have become “the bad guy,” aka, the one feeling like a classic movie where the mother beats her child, and the child refuses to be around her … except, even in the movies when people come to take the child away, the child longs for their horrid parents to save them. Apparently, around Tiny’s dad, I’m worse than a child abuser.
But, not only am I the “bad guy,” at this point, I now am forced into the role of Sole Disciplinarian, demanding respect. The one demanding an apology for being treated so heinously by my own child.
During these fiascos in the past–one in which my tiny tot hit me, screamed at me, and then got his butt picked up and brought into a ten minute time out in which he continued screaming, hitting, and blowing snot bubbles–I always demand an apology; I always demand respect. And, not to mention, I’m always undermined. When Tiny Tot is released from time out–if his father is there–he gives me a clueless look, and asks, “Why did he go into time out? What did he do wrong?”
Um, my child disrespected me.
And it was allowed, not by me, but by the indifference in his father’s face. It doesn’t matter, though, because Tiny’s attitude doesn’t directly affect him. He’s the one getting lauded, while I’m being dragged through the proverbial mud.
And so, on Sunday, yes–I was done.
I refuse to be the only person demanding respect from my child. And, the only time my child is disrespectful toward me is when I have to meet his father for pick ups, or drops offs. So, I can either be forced to deal with a screaming snot monster in order to eventually get a hug, and to gain respect, or I can walk away.
And walk away I did. I threw the box out of my car, seeing red, and drove away from the park. I didn’t say I was a calm, even-keeled type of person all of the time. Pretty sure I never alluded to the idea of being rational, at all. Okay, whatever. I am normally a slightly rational person, but some days impatience claims me, and I’m over the drama. Some days, when my fuse is short, walking away is the only thing that keeps me from blowing up.
When I got home however, I let his father know exactly why I was angry. I told him that I cannot be the only disciplinarian. I do not allow negative dad talk, or action, in my household. I do not allow disrespect. And so, because of the blasé inaction–on the father’s part–this disrespectful attitude has been allowed to get completely out of hand.
That night, I received my apology from my beautiful, tiny person.
Yesterday, my respectful little boy returned home, full of hugs and kisses, and the love for his mommy. Because, my tiny human knows the rules from household to household. He’s smart enough to play the game, in order to get his way.
However, it is up to both parents to pull their weight in discipline.
I get that Tiny needs his daddy more and more as he grows up. But he cannot be coddled, and he cannot be allowed to show disrespect toward anyone. My fear is that if this behavior is allowed to continue–and for the moment it has been nipped in the bud–it will extend into the way he treats his peers, his teachers, and anyone in which he might need to show deference.
But, I am going to remain strong; my child will respect his mother.