jannica merrit

humor. honesty. sometimes both.


November 2016

The Mean Mom

I just did it again…

I just yelled and screamed like a maniac at my preschooler while he stood looking up at me, so small, a little scared, and finally understanding that Mommy meant what she said five times.  Or was it six?

But, dammit!  Dammit.

I won’t say my sweet son, because he wasn’t being sweet at that moment.  I love nobody in this world except his sister as much as I love him.  Nobody in this world can push my buttons as hard and as quickly as he can.

He is an angel for everyone else who watches him.  Does he push limits for them?  Yes, sometimes…that’s part of growing up.  But, when they ask him to stop; he does.  Does he push limits with me?  Yes, sometimes…that’s part of growing up.  But, when I ask him to stop, he then mocks me, ignores me, or goes harder at whatever it was.

When he spends the night with his Godmother or his Grandmother, and they say, “Honey, it’s time for bed.”  He goes to bed.  HE GOES TO BED!  Every night with me, I say, “Honey, it’s time for bed.”  He then mocks me, ignores me, or keeps doing whatever he was doing harder.

When he is playing at his sitter’s house and she says, “Share your toys with your sister”, he does.  He actually shares his toys with his sister.  When he is playing at home with me in charge and I say, “Share your toys with your sister”, he then mocks me, ignores me, or hoards his toys even more.

With me, he knows the boundaries and charges over them constantly.  When he knows he is caught, he turns on his charm.  He smiles sheepishly and says a quick, if likely insincere, “Sorry.”  Or changes the bad word he just said to “Silly!” and smiles.  Or the time out is acknowledged, but he needs a hug or a cuddle first.  “Mom, I just want to cuddle you!”  Or he “can’t” stay in his room because of the crocodile.  (And what mother would send her son back into a crocodile-infested bedroom?)

He is charming and he knows it.  He is manipulative and he uses it.  He is strong-willed and smart and he works it.  Most of the time, I am more than a match for him.  (He is, after all, only four).

But then, some nights I am stressed or tired from the adult things in my life.  Frankly, some nights, I am exhausted.  And, it is those nights that I am sometimes not the Mom I pictured myself being.

I am that Mom.  I am the Mom yelling and screaming at my children.  Again.  Dammit.

Grateful for the Strangest Things

This is the season to think about all we are grateful for.  Of course, I am grateful for the kids, having a roof over our heads, our good health, having a career, our pets—all the basics.  *Yawn*

But there are some things I am grateful for that fall outside of the usual realm of gratitude lists.  I would like to share those here:

Most days I can still run faster than my four year old.  That is good because occasionally he still decides to explore “over there” and goes for it at top speed, ears “off”.

I am strangely proud that my son is smart enough to be manipulative.  Talking in his version of his sister’s high pitched voice, telling me that she wants ice cream…and, well, okay, he would take a little, too.

I am continually impressed with the heights my daughter ascends to and that she is strong enough to be a little monkey.   I will turn my back for two seconds and find her sitting on top of something like the toy box I set on the coffee table where I put my son’s Power Ranger action figures to keep them safe from her.

My house is big enough for all of us, but not so big it takes more than one day to clean.  We will never get lost in it, and we spend more togetherness time than we might in an appropriately-sized house.

That my son’s car seat not only protects him from many injuries in the event of a crash, but keeps him out of the driver’s seat.  As long as he is four years old, I am adamant that I, not he, will be the driver.

That chasing kids around burns calories, as that is my main form of exercise since having kids and I will take all the cardio I can get.

That my friends are as quirky as I am.  It’s no fun standing alone letting my freak flag fly, and I am glad we can all be unique in our own, individual ways.

I am grateful that there are people who share in my off-beat humor, and will laugh at my jokes.

That I can stay awake at my day job most days on little-to-no sleep (and someone invented energy drinks for the days that are too challenging).

Finally, I am grateful that I can legally drink all the caffeine I want and still legally drive, go to work, and care for my children, for without it, I would likely collapse.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

My Life: Pre Vs. Post Kids

Besides the little people running around making my house safe from monsters nightly, there have been some definite changes in my life since I became a Mom.  So many aspects of my life today would be unrecognizable to my former self.  Here are some big ones:

My workouts. Before kids, I went to the gym at least four, usually five or six times a week.  I had memberships in three different gyms, for the different convenient locations and variety.  I kept an “emergency” gym bag ready to go in my trunk in case I had an unexpected chunk of time and could fit in an extra work out.  I had such “emergencies” frequently. 

Post kids, I try to take a walk if I get a chance at lunch at work.  I have one gym membership and I went last month.  Once.  Or was it the month before?  There is a new location I mean to check out, but I am not exactly sure where it is.

My house.  My mediocre housekeeping skills are no match for these two little people!  Pre kid, I had the luxury of remote controls being where I left them, and my living room floor had a vast emptiness about it.  My cleaning lady came every week, though I no longer remember exactly what there was for her to clean. 

Post kids, I enjoy frequent remote control scavenger hunts, with the Lego strewn foot avoidance techniques.  My cleaning lady, when I can get one to come back, visits monthly, and seems a bit overwhelmed.  I get it, trust me, I get it. And, in between—well, have you seen the new Swiffer?

My hair.  I used to have an appointment with my stylist every four weeks for cut, color, and style advice.  I booked two months ahead so I wouldn’t miss a week and have a root show.  I spent actual time in the mornings before work styling my hair to show off my latest cut.  I used a hair dryer, curling irons (small and large), crimpers, mouse, barrettes, and hair spray just to mention a few things.

Post kids, I tape a note on the inside of my medicine cabinet so I can remember when I last touched up my roots.  I have my own scissors from the beauty supply store so I can trim my own bangs (a task that is so much harder than it seems on paper), and every three or four months I will remember to book an appointment for a trim, the caveat being that it has to pull easily into a ponytail or look good just brushed in the mornings because that is all I have time for. My current styling tools are a brush and hair rubber bands.

Huge differences! Those are just three areas my life is almost unrecognizable post kids.  But, when I look in their beautiful eyes or watch their sweet sleeping forms, would I change a thing?  Absolutely not!

On Being Happy and Miserable at the Same Time…

I have a day job I don’t hate, where I make almost enough money to pay our bills, and I work hard but not overly hard.  I enjoy what I do for a living, and before I was a Mom, I really didn’t mind going to work—it felt good to be productive, to earn money to play and support myself (in that order), and I appreciated the social aspects of it.  Plus, it got me out of bed so I could be up and awake for all my after-work activities.  It was a pretty good deal all-around! 

Now some days I am crawling out of my skin to leave and be with my kids. 

Since I have had my children, work has taken on a new wonderful and evil dimension.  It allows me to support us, talk to adults, pay for my children’s needs and some of their wants, but it is also the thing that rips me away from them day after day.  Each morning, I wake my daughter to nurse and cuddle before I take them to daycare and go to work.  She snuggles in, nurses and drifts off, nurses and drifts off, nurses and drifts off.  Until the clock inevitably tells me I have to get up or I will be late.   Then she latches on like a shark with a sea lion using every ounce of suction power her little mouth has, her small body protesting with all it has our long upcoming separation.  I shift and shimmy until I eventually break free, and take her to get a fresh diaper and ready for the day.  Oftentimes, she drifts back into sleep land before I can get her in her car seat. 

My son is almost never awake and I will gently stroke his too-beautiful-for-a-boy hair and try to bring him back to consciousness.  It almost never works and I try to brush his hair and teeth before he wakes up enough to start struggling against the brushes he hates.  He is often grumpy and asks me his favorite word, “Why?” 

I try to explain, Mommy needs to fulfill her commitment to her job and people are depending on me, Mommy needs to make money, etc.  It never lands as a good enough reason to drag him up  and out when he wants to spend the day with me.

I wish I could say that my job is the best ever and I love and am inspired by what I do.  I wish the time trade-off felt a little more even.  I wish—I wish I felt like I had enough time with my most precious children.

I have kids I love beyond words, and I spend my days at work missing them, aching to hold them, eagerly talking about them to anyone who shows the slightest interest.  I am glad I have a good job, glad I can earn money, but if I thought I could get away with it, I would rob a bank to be a SAHM.


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