Case of the Mondays

Photo: Friday morning vibes. I don’t take a lot of selfies, but I’ve been known to take them from time to time. This is us on Friday morning. Happy. Ready to get things going. “You can do anything on a Friday,” is our motto. But after the weekend comes the dreaded Monday.

You woke in the morning in such a bad mood…

Then sat down for breakfast and fussed with your food.

But then you blew kisses and waved from the door! I love you, I love you my Dinosaur!

So begins one of my favorite read-aloud books from when the boys were younger: How does a Dinosaur Say I Love You? The Dinosaur books got me through the toddler years. This one brought me to tears more than a few times after very long days with demanding little boys. Who knew I would have a revisit some years later, but here we are.

We’re not having the best time on school mornings. Both boys wake up grumpy. Ursa Major complains about lack of sleep. Ursa Minor complains that school is too boring to be worth his time. With the exception of the first day of school, it has been a daily fight: Yes, baby, you’re going to school today. Yes, baby, you actually love school and it’s totally worth it. No, little sir, you cannot stay home today. I love you, dear, please get out of bed.

This morning, the first Monday morning, we got a little mean. Lots of refusal to get out of bed. Lots of pushback about getting dressed. Finally, Minor walks past me with his halo of curls completely lopsided with bedhead and I say, “Oh, Lordy, we’re gonna have to do something about that hair. The both of yous. We’re puttin’ stuff in the hair this morning.”

Ursine in Unison: NO! No way! No stuff in the hair!

Me: Gentlemen, how you look when you leave the house matters. We’ve got to do something about that.

Minor: You won’t be doing anything with my hair today.

Me: Oh I won’t, will I? We’ll see about that.

Major: I also refuse to have my hair touched. You cannot touch my hair.

Me: Little boy, this is not a democracy! It’s a dictatorship! This house is under the tutelage of a horrible dictator!

Major: Well, I’m under the tutelage of a horrible mother!

In case you’re wondering, yes, the child did actually use the word “tutelage.” I realize I fed him the word. Still.

It’s never fun getting negative feedback. Get it from your kid and it’s just… delightful. It’s always during the moments when you’re simply trying to do the right thing. Their hair is at a length where it needs to be managed. Summer is over and I care again.

And what do you say when your kid calls you a horrible mother? Was I supposed to turn the other cheek? I didn’t. I said: “You’re absolutely right, baby. I’m terrible and horrible. I care about how you look when you go out into the world. That makes me absolutely awful.”

I let the boy go downstairs and eat his breakfast. I informed both of the children they would be having their hair done and I wouldn’t be accepting any more whining about it. Major would go first.

“[Ursa Major], words are powerful things and they have meaning. When you speak, I listen. The words you say come with consequences. The consequence of your words this morning is you hurt my feelings. This was an unnecessary way to start the day.”

There were other words said. I don’t know how much sank in as I added moisturizing goop to his curls. After a bit of “alone time” in the playroom, he came out, told me he was sorry and gave me a hug.

I hang out with a whole lot of mamas of teenagers and they keep telling me that it only gets more complicated from here. “I promise, this is the easy stuff” is the popular refrain from all of the teen mamas. Now having school-aged kiddos, I get to turn to the toddler mamas and say the same thing. Motherhood doesn’t get easier or “better.” It just gets different. It gets more complex. Good comes with bad.

I suppose the good news is that the moments that suck are also the moments that fade. I can’t tell you anything about the days that the Dinosaur book made me cry. I know that they happened, because toddler motherhood is really, really hard. But the scars clearly didn’t linger. Not for me and not for them.

Hair got done and backpacks got put on. We piled in the van and blasted the Spiderverse soundtrack on the way to school. They both had great days, despite all the drama. They got in the car excited to return home.

Just a case of the Mondays. Thanks be to God there is Tuesday to help us recover.

It’s a new week, Dear Reader. Things are “back to normal” and we’re all back in the swing of things. Grab hold of your week, shake it a little, get it into line. It will be what you make of it. I’ll remind you: ideas have consequences. Let your opening idea this week be “I’ve got this. Obviously.”

Until Wednesday, kick ass and take care.

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