I have no patience. None. Zilch. Zero. You get the idea. I try. Boy, do I try. Patience was just never my strong suit. Oh, I’ve tried all the steps, theories and methods: Taking a break, counting to 10, alcohol. But I still don’t have the patience I’d like to have with my kids.
Many parents will be able to identify with the feeling of watching some well-mannered kids and wanting desperately to ask their parents, “How on earth do you get your kids to mind so well?” If you’re a parent and you have no idea what I’m talking about, then you’re just the parents we want to talk to! What is your secret? Is it a shock collar? Because, y’know, I’ve thought that might work.
This is not to say that I have bad kids. They’re great kids. But, like any kids, they have the ability to work my nerves something fierce. It seems like their favorite time to do this is in the morning. I tried long ago to reason with these kids: “Listen, I am not a morning person. Which means, I wake up and I hate the world for at least 30 minutes. Kids, give me 30 minutes every morning, please. It’s not wise. I am angry and I hate the world for no apparent reason. Just don’t talk to me, that’s probably your best bet.”
I feel like that’s fair. If my dad had laid it out for me like that, my teenage years would have been so much better. However, it seems like my kids have made a sport out of it. “Let’s see who can piss dad off the most this morning.” I have come to the conclusion that no matter which one of them makes me angriest in the morning, the only loser is me.
And, oh do they make me angry. Nothing major, really. Just the usual: our oldest, No. 2, tries to take things to school that he’s not supposed to have, refuses to wear a jacket, that sort of thing. No. 3 takes forever to get ready. Forever. Yet wears the same outfit over and over. I don’t get it. No. 4 plays all morning. He won’t get dressed; he plays. He plays with toys that I forgot he had. They take so long that they miss the bus more often than not. I know what you’re thinking: Wake them up earlier. I tried that. If I woke them up two hours earlier, they’d use up all 120 minutes.
But, it’s not restricted to just mornings. It can happen randomly. Just last Saturday, I popped lunch in the oven, walked away for 10 minutes only to return to find No. 2 microwaving himself a bowl of Ramen. I lost it. Completely. “You can’t wait a couple minutes for this lunch I’m cooking to be ready? Oh, I’m cooking yet another dish that you don’t like? It’s because the only thing you like to eat is Ramen! When I was a kid, I ate what my parents cooked or nothing!”
The meal that I was so upset that he wouldn’t eat? Frozen fish sticks and tater tots. Yep. I was that angry that he passed up fish sticks and tater tots for an equally as unhealthy and pointless lunch as I was cooking. But hey, at least they were star-shaped tater tots!
With each instance of my irrational outbursts, I feel horrible, like the worst parent in the world. I love my kids more than I ever thought imaginable. I can be so angry that I want to go all Homer Simpson on them while they get ready for school. But, as soon as they get out of the car (because I had to take them because they missed the damn bus), I watch them walking down the sidewalk with love, a big smile and a warm heart. Actually, come to think of it, that feeling may just be the result of knowing that I’m rid of them for a few hours. Or maybe the coffee finally kicks in.
Whatever the reason, it is a constant struggle. I know some of you are with me. If not, just let me know where I can order that shock collar.