I am starting to hate the sound of my own voice. Lately, everything that is coming out of my mouth is a nagging demand of some kind. I feel like all I do is constantly ride my kids about what they aren’t doing or what they should be doing or what they could have done better. With a husband that is gone before the boys wake up in the mornings, who often gets home late in the evenings, and travels a lot for work, I get to play Bitchy Mom 99.9% of the time. Sweet Mom rarely gets to make an appearance because Bitchy Mom has so much damn work to do.
I’m tired of having to be such a hard ass with my kids. I’m tired of nagging and demanding and bitching and complaining. I’m tired of hearing Bitchy Mom every time I open my mouth.
I am really good at complaining about how “no one else in this damn family helps clean this damn house.” I talk a lot about responsibilities, about how we all have responsibilities at home and at school and in our community. I’m a BIG talker. I am especially good at dinner time speeches about how we all need to do a better job helping, about how allowances aren’t given to children who don’t take care of their responsibilities, about how in the real world you won’t make it if you don’t take care of your responsibilities. I give my big speech and the boys nod their heads and look at me and say, “Got it.”
“Got it” is uttered by my children daily.
Go make your bed. Got it.
Watching You Tube videos all afternoon isn’t good for you. Got it.
Quit leaving all of the lights on. Got it.
And NOTHING happens.
“Got it” is a reflex. A knee jerk reaction. It’s said quickly, unthinking, with no emotion. It doesn’t mean anything. I’m sick and tired of hearing “Got it.” There’s something about it that feels disrespectful and rude. Like I’m being blown off. Yeah, Mom, I’ve got it. After yelling at my oldest several times to please stop using that phrase, he now just stares at me when I telling him something, unsure of what to say.
So then you find yourself wondering what the hell you should do because, by damn, something’s gotta change. Things came to a head for me one night recently and before going to bed I promised myself that the next day I was going to…I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do but I had to do something before I lost my ever loving mind. Like all mothers, I didn’t have the option to sit around moaning about how much I suck as a mother. So instead, I got on Voxer with my best girlfriends the next day and boldly declared that “shit’s about to get real” at the Freeman’s.
The next day I created chore charts and rule lists and calendars. If I was going to implement one change I might as well implement them all. No more here’s your allowance for doing nothing all week. No more getting away with stupid crap over and over again with no consequences. No more random responsibilities that have no name. No more asking me millions of times, “What are we doing this week?” Here it is all is in black and white. I’m done telling you. I’m done asking you. I’m done nagging you. I’m done being Bitchy Mom. Bitchy Mom needs a break.
That night, the hammer came down. The boys looked liked they’d been kicked in the teeth. What did we do, dear Mother and Father, to deserve such extreme punishment? Sadly, we had to explain that these weren’t punishments. That a list of rules and chores were a normal part of a family and a normal part of life. And then I clarified everything for them: “Boys, I’m not raising husbands that expect a woman to do everything for them. I’m tired of nagging and I don’t want your wives to have to nag at you either.”
They both smiled at me and said, “Got it.”