One of the best quotes I’ve ever come across was on a crafty little handmade sign in a vintage/resale/upcycle shop that read, “Raising children is like being pecked to death by chickens.”
It’s only funny because it’s true.
Being in the trenches, day after day, hour after hour, with these little pecking chickens can push even the most docile nurturer to her insanity brink. I, however, am no docile nurturer.
I find that the older my chickens get, the stronger I have to be to keep the words I want to say from becoming the things I do say. So, I’ll share them here; like a slow leak of pent up steam instead of an explosion:
1) “Stop being punk-ass little bitches!”
Oh, that horrifies you? You must not be raising an almost teenaged boy. If you are, or have been, and you are still horrified, well, you are clearly a better parent/human than I am. I am aware that these are the precious gifts from God that I am lucky to have and raise. I hug them, love them, laugh with them, pray over them, worry for them, and need their deliciously idiosyncratic little ways in my life! But, I promise you, there are times when the only words I can use to aptly describe their attitudes are, “Punk-ass Bitch!” But, I can’t tell them this without harming their little souls… yet.
2) Your ‘singing’ sounds like a cat being beaten with a bagpipe… put us all out of our misery!
My children do have lovely little voices. They both have a good ear for music and can carry a tune. They come by it honestly, there are many musicians in their ancestry. But… they are untrained, yet they want to sing like pop stars. Especially my daughter. Here’s the truth little girl, Can’t nobody sing like Ariana Grande except Ariana Grande, and even then I bet she uses auto tune! Please stick to ballads, Beatles, and lullabies! But it would be cruel to actually say this, at least not yet.
3) Go to bed early so that your father and I can have sex!
Why can’t I say this one? It just feels wrong. Like it will torment and torture their little brains. But their night time shenanigans and the nightmares that cause the littlest to wander into my room dozens of times before nodding off, or before I give up and let her sleep with us, are killing our “bow-chick-a-wow-wow” time. Seriously. I say, “We want to watch a grown-up movie” or “I need to clean the kitchen” or anything to try to convince her that it’s just not an option to cling to me like a shadow from dusk-til-dawn. It seems like honesty should be the best policy, but I just can’t say, “I’m randy and you are killing the mood” … Yet.
4) SHUT UP!!
I’ve never said this to my kids. Nope. It just seems so dismissive and rude, so belittling. I have gotten to the point, after a 20 minute monologue about Minecraft or an entire drive of questions, to say, “My brain needs a few minutes of silence now.” Or, “I really have to focus on this task and can’t listen or talk right now.” But what I really want to do is jump up and down like a maniac screaming, “SHUP UP, shut up, shut up!” But I can’t… not yet.
5) Raising you is the most physically and mentally exhausting thing I’ve ever done!
The ache of parental love is so strong that it can be a physical malady. Some days I literally hurt with agony over trying to raise these pecking little chickens. Every move they make seems to teeter-totter between success and failure: life and death. There are times that it’s so overwhelming I am immobilized by fear and exhaustion. But I don’t want them to know. I just want them to know how much I love and enjoy them. I remind them how much they were prayed for and how my only life goal was to be a mother. But one day, one day when they are parents themselves, then I can be honest.
One pecked mama,