My son likes to tell me I am mean. Tonight, it was because I wouldn’t let him have TV and dessert. I don’t believe he should have dessert every night and told him to pick one night this week to not have them, and earlier in the week he picked Thursday, so we stuck with that. He couldn’t have TV because he had to finish all his homework tonight that he blew off the last couple of nights, as I have to turn in the sheet tomorrow stating that he did it.
He’s really tired by the time evening comes. So am I, I get it. When we first get home, he’s been forced to sit and be good all day so he acts like a maniac for the first half hour or so that we are home and I let him, because he needs to burn off the energy, while I get dinner together for us. But starting homework at 6:30 is hard. His brain is no longer working as crisply as it did earlier. He’s whiny and short tempered. Really easy math questions that I know he knows (he is way better at math than I ever was at his age), he can’t figure out. I help him, but I won’t do it for him. I simplify it. Yesterday’s math he understood when I talked about groups of minions in different corners of the rooms instead of how they had worded the question. Tonight it was adding and subtracting in the “tens” column. I understand how they are teaching him and try to explain it the way they do it (common core style) and help him get to the answers.
He requested sweaters of a specific type, and I ordered a couple, which arrived today, so I showed him that I bought them. Really a mean mom to get sweaters just like he requests, which had to be ordered online since stores have almost NOTHING this time of year, and since most stores seem to think little boys should live in character shirts, hoodies and basketball jerseys and not much else. So mean, right after I blew all that money on Christmas stuff. I went online and paid the Target bill tonight and it was very clear I did not win the Powerball last night.
This mean mom also won four tickets to a kid’s movie this Saturday morning, and have secretly set up for his best friend and the kid’s Mom to meet us at the theater.
So much of what we do, they just don’t know. It’s a balancing act, deciding how much of it to show and explain to him, and how much is too much, like I’m rubbing his nose in it. One thing about parenting alone is you’re in a silo so you never have someone else to bounce off of and know if you are getting the mix right or not. So you just guess and do your best, because that’s all any of us can do, right?
I also made him clean all his crap up that was all over the living room floor, and then I got to tell him why I don’t let him “skip” brushing teeth some nights, even though his Dad does: this is not Dad’s place, and my rules may be different but you have to follow them when you are here, and here, we both brush our teeth every morning and every evening. He baits me, the kid, with stuff about how Dad does things. I refuse to take that bait. When I told him tonight that he said something to me that wasn’t respectful (6 y.o. boy talk now doesn’t stop at farts, poop, pee and penises but also includes trying to mention “boobs” a lot and laughing), and that he needs to always treat women and their bodies respectfully, all women, no matter what kind of person they are, and that I am a woman and so that also includes me. He said, well, Dad doesn’t always treat you respectfully. “That is not my concern,” I told him. “My concern is you and the choices you make and what kind of man you are going to be.” Back on topic, kid, I will not be distracted from my mission of turning you into a fine man.
He was really frustrated with me at dinner because he couldn’t explain himself right. He was asking how many more years of school and homework he would have, and I said that was hard to answer as it depended on whether or not he went to college after high school, or to some other kind of school, or not, and so it could vary. But at minimum, this many years until you are done with high school. “You know, you don’t have to go to college, Mom,” he said. I said I knew that, but you would be better off going unless you planned to go right to a trade school so that you could learn a trade that you could apply towards getting a good job, such as becoming a welder or learning how to drive a truck or operate a crane, and in any case that would still be more school and homework, just a different type than you would likely have if you go to college. “But when are you done with the WORK?” he said. I thought he meant homework and studying. I said look, I’m still learning all the time, even on my job. I had to learn all about what an extradosed bridge is yesterday, spent hours researching how they are designed, built and constructed because I had to write about it, so you’re always learning new things even at work. He got so frustrated he was in tears. “No, Mom, the WORK. When does the WORK end. Like the work you do!” I realized he was asking basically how long this shit goes on and when do you just get to relax and do nothing. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that basically your choices are a) when you are pretty much too old to enjoy it like you would have when you were younger and active or b) you don’t, you drop dead while you are still working. Yeah, my outlook is a little bleak right now. I skirted the answer and said it wasn’t for a long time, when you get to be older, like when Grandma retired she took care of you part of the time when you were a baby, so that was a great way for her to stop working. Yes, I am in marketing, and we make things sound nice, even if they aren’t very nice.
I got a pretty hard workout in at lunch, at least. I still can hardly walk because of the plantar fasciitis, but I rode the stationary bike full out for 45 minutes on level 10. We had a client in the office almost all day today, so I had to sneak out quietly with my workout bag and change in the bathroom downstairs and then I got all the way down to the gym in my building and realized I didn’t have a hair elastic. My hair is really long and I knew I was going to get sweaty. I looked all through my workout bag but there wasn’t one to be found, they are all in my desk and my tote bag, upstairs where the client meeting was. So I used the rubber stretch tubing my physical therapist had given me to do hip strengthening exercises. No, it was not fun or pretty. But it worked, and I got it done, because I was determined.
I am determined.