The “Say What?” Moments That Makes Motherhood A Thankless Thing

Photo: Oh snap! Look at that primer! Lookin’ sharp! That is not the color that we’ve chosen, that’s just what the tint of the primer is. Real paint color goes up tonight and I’ll have a picture for you on Wednesday! I’ll note that it’s nice that we did the Playroom DIY first with all of it’s insanity, because this paint job is peanuts in comparison. Got done in about 2 hours. Totally amazing!

Before I really get going on this, can I just start this post with a bit of a wail of grief? I witnessed snow falling from the sky yesterday morning! Saw it with me own eyes! Felt it on me own skin!!

And with windchills in the thirties this morning, I broke out the heavy coats for all four of us, put the boys in layers, started the car early to warm it up…there was this voice in my head, small but strong, that came to me as I was walking into the house saying, “haven’t yah been heeyah too long fah this? You know this isn’t really cold!”

“You can take the girl out of the South,” I told my new New Englander brain, “but you’ll never take the South out of the girl!”

In all seriousness, it was a bit of a shock this morning. Winter is a thing that one must ease into. Winter is that nerd who shows up for the party an hour early and then stays 2 hours after it’s over… Just no damn manners, ya know!?

Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to write about.

I had one of those moments over the weekend where I was reminded that, though I’m surrounded by people all the time, motherhood is a most lonely occupation.

It actually started last week… Still in the midst of my potty war with Ursa Major, I informed one of his teachers during school drop-off that he’d only performed one act of potty at home, but the other was pending. The teacher, distracted by taking attendance, I think, sorta nodded about it. “Oh, ok then…” she dismissed me. But then she kinda snapped to it. “Wait, so, is he using the potty at all?”

Clearly. That’s what I just told you. “Yes, he is. Just, you know… for number one, not number two.”

“Ok. So, is he in underwear or is he in a diaper or…?”

“We’ve got him in the pull-ups right now. He says that he wants to go here at school, but I’m not sure that he will. I informed him that he wastes the potty diapers when he poops in them. That’s not what they’re for, you know?”

In all seriousness, this teacher: “Well, why aren’t you just putting him in the underwear?”

Uh… is you gonna clean up the mess? “Well, I’m just not sure that he’s ready for that. We’re still having a lot of accidents, and I’m not excited about cleaning up that mess…”

“Well, I mean, it’s a mess in the pull-up just as much as it’s a mess in the underwear, right?”

I’ve really gotta get control of my face. Really. Because at this point, I’m pretty sure that I had a good scowl going. I swear to God, older women get straight-up amnesia about how hard these toddler years are. There is absolutely nothing pleasant about potty training, least of all some cotton underwear with a full load in it. Can’t just throw that in the washing machine, ya’ll… oh noooo… you’ve gotta rinse that somewhere first after taking care of the package. It’s just… I do a lot of gross things as a mother, but that is beyond the pale.

She kinda put up her hands and backed off a bit. (“Oh no, it’s a Black person” face on)  “I mean, you’re the mother and I just want to be clear on the instructions… we’ll check in on him before snack. ”

You do that. Thanks a lot.

So that’s the start of the week, here’s the end of it: Saturday, dinner, me and The Husband and the boys. I’ve prepared some ribs and baked sweet potato and some broccoli. Ursa Minor goes into his daily dinner meltdown because of some non-articulated some-such that makes him not want to get into his seat. Ursa Major, on the other hand, is excited to sit and eat. He likes that you’re allowed to pick up the rib by the bone and eat it that way. Of course, he eats all of the parts with the barbecue sauce on it and now he wants a new rib.

We look and there is still plenty of meat on the bone. We gently inform him so. “You can have a new rib after you eat what is left of the rib you have.”

My child picks up the rib, starts whining about how he doesn’t see any meat and how he wants a new rib and, when we begin to explain to him again how this works, he decides to throw the rib across the table.


I was hot. And when I’m that hot, I actually get quiet. It was a low rumble that came out of me. “Get down.”

Now, of course, the child is crying. And not moving.

“Get down now.”

The child slinks down and slowly walks to the living room, crying as he goes.

My husband let’s out this deep sigh and continues eating, just not looking at me or the child…

Come on, bro.

It’s one thing to have strangers second-guess me, though to do it to my face is a bit much, but it’s another thing to always feel like you’re standing in front of an army in an open field with a single spear and not another soul behind you.

I can’t believe how lonely and thankless motherhood can be. You have a vision, you set some standards, you maintain order, you make decisions, and you pull, as best you can, the entire clan toward what you think is a pretty reasonable set of goals. In so doing, you’re the instant villain. I feel like I’m the villain all the time. It’s not like The Husband is contradicting me in front of the boys or purposely being the good cop all the time, but then again, he’s never the back-up or he’ll never take on the bad guy role so that way it’s not me huffing and puffing all the time.

So he eats, staring at his plate. I eat, trying not to give him the death glare. I’m waiting or him to say something, like, what? Do you disagree with me? Should I have let him stay at the table? Do you have another suggestion? Want to say something right about now? Major calms himself down, eventually comes back to the table, and finishes his dinner. Why all the nonsense?

This phase, too, shall pass. Toddlerhood will be done and they will be on to the next set of challenges. But motherhood and its villainhood counterpart will remain, I suspect. And that’s a hard reality for me. It’s exhausting. I try to say “yes” as often as I say “no,” but that’s not always possible.

Anyway, that’s the headspace I’m in right now. At least I can tell you that I was productive this weekend, clocking 6,500 words before I went to bed last night! I expect to hit 9,000 words before I sleep tonight! Yeah! Off to a great start! Act One of my story is on track to be done tonight, which means I can edit tomorrow through Thursday and then press the “publish” button on it on Friday! Oh my God, I’m so nervous!

Let’s have a great week, yes? VOTE TOMORROW, you American readers!!!!  See you Wednesday!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. zeudytigre says:

    I do not know an honest parent who could not write a book about food wars. Until they become a grandparent. Then it seems wisdom descends and memory evaporates.

  2. Oh, I get tired of being the asshole in my house. And now that Mr. Father and I have split, I am the very tired queen asshole, and I never feel like I am doing it right. But at least I don’t have to watch him be good cop anymore…cause he did, bless him. As a side note, that is NOT why we split, but it sure did piss me off. I totally relate to ALL of this. Love it.

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