Welcome to our Monday guest post series on Parenting and Imperfection.
Now, I won’t say I begged for this post, exactly, mostly because that would be unflattering to myself, but I will say I maybe pushed a teeny bit, or cajoled slightly more than once. 🙂 It’s just, I love Julie Cairns‘ writing. I love her honesty. And I love that I fall inside her words and feel welcome and understood and not alone, you know? Some days, that’s just what we need, every last one of us. To nod our heads and say, I’m not alone.
Welcome to this space, Julie. I’m very glad to have you here.
Sometimes, It’s a Baba Ghanoush Day
by Julie Cairns
dedicated to Chrissy at Life With Greyson + Parker,
who yearns for a Baba Ghanoush Day
I have three kids and I’m convinced their favourite word is “Mom.” What leads me to believe this, you might wonder? Well, simply, the staggering overuse of the damn thing.
Mom? MOM! Moooooo-oooooommmmm! Mo-awwwwww-om! Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom? MOM! Mom. At roughly 120 uses/minute.
It’s like nails on a chalkboard sometimes. The muscles in my neck tense. My lower back spasms. My forehead does that creasy line thing. And sometimes, it pushes me over the edge.
Sometimes, at the dinner table, I completely melt down and announce that no one, and I mean NO ONE, can talk TO me or AT me. No one. No talking. No Moming. And especially no Mo-awwwww-oming. And sometimes, at the same said dinner table, shortly after the aforementioned announcement, the Big Man will point out, “Julie, you are the most important person in their life. They want to talk to you. They need to talk to you.”
To which I respond, “No, I’m not!” and “No, they don’t!” Because the Big Man and I are partners and we’re in this together. Equals. And it wouldn’t be right for me to be the most important. And being the most important scares the crap out of me. And really, right now, can’t it please be “DAD!” I cannot handle another “Mom,” most important or not. Chinese water torture. Drip, drip, drip.
There are times I think little chicks are so cute with their peep, peep, peep. And then I realize, what was I thinking? That poor mama hen must go absolutely bonkers. Peep, peep. Peep, peep, peep, peep. Peeeeeeep, peeeeeeep. Peep. Peep. PEEP. Peep. BONKERS! No wonder she does all that clucking, that weird neck bobbing thing, and is capable of running around with her head cut off. If you think it’s the laying of the eggs, you’d be wrong. It’s the peeps!
Sometimes, I’m at my computer, and sometimes I’m doing something somewhat important, and the “Mom, mom, mom…” starts. The 30 second email I must send has taken me an hour, because the 7,200 ‘moms’ make me reset and start over. Every. Single. Time.
And sometimes, I must confess, it only takes one “Mom!” to push me over the edge.
The one ‘”Mom!” that is bellowed from a great distance through the house, precisely 2-1/2 minutes after I explained to each child, making solid eye contact, in a clear, loud, instructional voice that I was now going to get into the bathtub and if they should need me, that is where they will find me, and they will need to come and knock gently on the bathroom door in order to have my attention, and by the way, it better be very important, like, life-threateningly important.
Or the one “Mom!” whose pitch falls right between the identifying level of This-Will-Require-a-Visit-to-the-Emerge and This-Will-Work-Itself-Out-Before-They-Physically-Find-Me. Frankly, I just don’t want to deal. Right now I’m going to wallow in my bitter mixture of irritation and guilt and just have a freakin’ momless moment.
Because sometimes, yes sometimes, I am simply not interested. Not interested in one more who-did-what-to-whom-when? One more “Can you, will you, right now!” One more elaborate summary of a movie, or book, or idea that seems to take longer than watching, or reading, or thinking actually does.
No! Right now, I’m not kissing another ouchie. I’m not praising another Crayola creation. I’m not making you anything to eat you hollow-legged kid!
This minute, I don’t have anything left. I don’t have any ideas, any ideas at ALL. If I did, I would figure out a way to get you to stop saying “Mom!”
Oooooo. Wait. I have an idea. Wait. Come back. Okay, stop crying. Seriously, you can’t hear me if you’re crying. Okay? Okay? Okay! You ready?
Don’t call me Mom! No more Mom. Instead of Mom, call me “Baba Ghanoush!”
Sometimes, dropping the overwhelming title of Mom is the best I can do. And you know what? It’s all I need.
Sure, I can remember being a kid and gazing in wonder at my mother and how she could tune me out and my dozen ‘mom’s. I’d marvel, I’m right here! How can she not hear me?
I remember the Big Man saying I am the most important person in their life. They want to talk to me. They need to talk to me.
I often think of Chrissy and how words from her two autistic boys are like precious gifts from God and I see my own precious gifts and wish I could smile and open my ears happily.
But sometimes, yes, SOMEtimes, I simply have to forgive myself for wanting to be…just for a moment… Baba Ghanoush.
The beauty for me in this story is that I chose Baba Ghanoush because: 1) I’d been somewhat addicted to the dip at the time. 2) The kids had to stop and really think in order to recall it. 3) It is so fun and silly to say and hear that it makes us giggle doing it. And 4) It doesn’t matter if we wear it out. I had no idea that ‘Baba’ means ‘Father.’
Julie at the age of 39, is all the things at the age of 29 she said she wouldn’t be: unemployed, dependent, frumpy, suburban, domestic and the most surprising… a MOM! And not just any mom, but THAT mom. The one that makes you NOT want to have kids. The mom you see in the grocery store wearing sweats, crocs, no make-up, an unintentionally messy pony, and a scowl directed at her kids that could remove paint. She lives out her privileged, stay-at-home life with a Mr. Darcy of her own and three exceedingly lovable (born within 22 months, you do the math) munchkins in Waterloo, Ontario. She can be found procrastinating any real sort of doing on her blog Cairns Connection, and dreaming of again having some sort of job that pays.
You can see all of the Parenting and Imperfection posts here.
11 responses to “On Parenting and Imperfection: Sometimes, It’s a Baba Ghanoush Day by Julie Cairns”
Love it. That’s exactly how I felt today.
Oh, yes! Absolutely! Some days I just can not take one more second of someone needing something from me. I don’t even want the dog to look at me.
Me too! Everything, every word you said. I tell the kids that I’ve decided to change my name, and I am no longer answering to mom. However, I haven’t decided what I want to be called and will let them know later. They are completely confused and for a brief while, I have peace. Sadly, my son has caught onto this scheme and stands at my side repeating his demand over and over without using my name. At least I get a break from the word “Moooooommm”!
Oh, yes! Thank you for the solidarity, Julie – sending you some in return! 😀 x
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I will NEVER look at a clucking chicken the same again. Thanks for that laugh out loud moment at the end of my Mom’d out day!
My mom made us call her Hildegarde (we are not German!) because she thought it sounded elegant and was impossible to whine. Of course, we said Hildegaaaaaaarde just to prove we could whine it!
I actually have a similar experience working in child care. The other teachers and I would often say that we should carry a clicker around one day and see how many times our name is called (yelled) out. I was always in amazement of the child who is literally 6 inches from my ear, watching me engage in conversation with someone else, and still repeating my name over and over and…Hmmm, I wonder when they grow out of that??? Working with preschoolers, I never get to see them grow out of that phase!
My own was standing next to me saying mama mama just as I was reading this! Thank you so much for summing it up so well!
Ohmugosh, I thought I was the only one! Seriously though. My six year old is killing me loudly with elaborate summaries all day every day.
Yep, me too. Nevermind that I listen to my recordings with one earphone in so I can always hear them, I also just wish for them to somehow cope with their own needs for an hour or so… ha.