crabby mom

Yesterday I was told by my oldest that I am crabby all the time. I protested that I'm not crabby all the time though I am probably crabby once a day. And that often I have a good reason to be crabby, like crabby kids that make me feel crabby.  But my boy insisted I am crabby all the time.

And man it hurt my feelings. I have three clients that I serve each day (four if you count the one growing inside of me, but I'm basically perfect for that client if I stay hydrated and take my prenatal vitamin daily). I'm with these three all day and it's all I do. I don't get strokes anywhere else so to hear that I'm crabby at the one thing that I do really stung.

Later in the day I cried about it, recognizing in my head that I'm hyper-hormonal right now. And also recognizing that what he is saying isn't 100% true. Just like 10% true. 

But then today something happened. My sister was coming over with her girls and my house has exploded with added Christmas possessions and we needed to clean before they arrived. I worked on the kitchen, laundry, living rooms and then told the kids we were going to go hit their room. And there was groaning and complaining all the way up the long, long flight of stairs up to their room that they crawled up, like fish against a mighty current. 

When we finally made it into their room I asked Elsie to "pick up every piece of clothing on the floor and put it in this laundry basket." And she looked at me like I had just started speaking Swahili. My request was so strange to her. She actually said, "I don't get it." Slowing down my Swahili, making certain I was speaking in English, I said it a different way while demonstrating what to do. Meanwhile I told Ivar he needed to put every piece of paper on the floor up on his desk. This was asking too much. His desk had no room for papers he told me. I told him that was why it is nice that papers can stack on top of each other, or fit nicely in his vertical file.

And then the words came at me again, "Mom. You're so crabby."

Aha. There it was. My crabbiness comes out when the people I love and serve become helpless sloths. And it's true. I'm totally crabby about it.

So I left their bedroom as they both started playing with toys that were neither clothing in a basket or papers on a desk, and went to complain to management. I mean, Rory. And he looked at me so perplexed. "Becca. Most kings are hated by their people. But they still have to rule. It's still their job. And it doesn't matter if people love them or hate them, they're still in charge. You're the king. Tell them what to do. They won't like you. But no kid likes being told to do chores. You have to take your emotions out of this. And yesterday when Ivar was saying you were a crabby mom I was thinking, "son, you have no idea how good you've got it."

His pep talk worked. I did sort of shake out of it. And was able to see clearly that my crabbiness is in direct relation to feeling unheard and disobeyed. But they are kids. And I am the king. Though we all know I'm not actually their king. More importantly, I am their mom. And they are my kids, not my subjects and definitely not my clients. I'm not actually working for their approval or grade or quarterly review or anything. I'm called to raise them, and part of that gig includes instilling some sort of work ethic. And if I am not well received during that teaching time then it's okay. It's still the parent's job whether the kids like it or not. 

I have a feeling this is a universal mothering conundrum. Just wanted to share my two cents.

Sincerely, a recovering-people-pleaser-easily-guilted-sometimes-crabby-but-often-cheerful-and-don't-forget-joyful-mom


Carrie said...

I needed to hear this! On Christmas Madalynn claimed it worst day ever because I said no to something. I took it so personal!

Emily said...

Calvin and Kara have told me that I am a mean mommy. It hurts. But just as you said, it generally comes out when there is disobedience.... Thank you Rory (and you for sharing) for the wisdom. :)

Emily said...

Calvin and Kara have told me that I am a mean mommy. It hurts. But just as you said, it generally comes out when there is disobedience.... Thank you Rory (and you for sharing) for the wisdom. :)

Unknown said...

Tooooo funny, Becca! You tug at my heartstrings! I have only one thing to add, and you can repeat this to your kids when they whine (just say it with a smile):
"My house, my rules!"
Hang in there, you're a wonderful mother!! When they are all grown up, Ivar, Elsie, Hattie & ?? will realize it!!!!
Love, Cathy and Chuck