• Lijing Cobb


I’ve been using the last two mornings to get breakfast, lunch, and snacks ready for my kids and adjusting to daylight saving’s time rather than writing this blog. The time change seemed to have naturally called forth this change in my morning routine, so I was at peace with it. Of course being more present with my kids over the last two days were not without its issues. I have not been this angry with my son for a while.

By the time my two younger kids get up, I’ve already sent my oldest child on the bus, and packed lunch, snacks, and water. Their breakfast was waiting for them, and all they needed to do was to finish their breakfast (happily, hopefully), brush their teeth, and head out the door. But it has not been working out the way I thought it should. My presence seemed to present more of an obstacle to their getting ready. The two kids fight, and my 7yo invariably cries. My son could not lift his head out of his book to hear two words from me. When he placed his empty milk glass on his open book as a marker so that he could put his plate in the sink as I requested, I lost it. “Have you lost your mind?” I shouted.

I mean, don’t the kids know how lucky they are? Shouldn’t they appreciate the amount of stuff I’m doing for them, sacrificing my blog writing time and all? Shouldn’t they behave better because of that? An idyllic family picture. That’s what I deserve for being such a good mom.

But then seriously, the kids don’t give a rat’s ass about what I do in the morning. They are the most resilient beings in this world. If I take care of all their needs, it’s because I want to do it for them, not because they need me to do it. They are fully capable of doing it when I asked them to. So, if it is me who wants to do it for them, why the hell do I expect gratitude in return?

The hypocrisy of it all. Unconditional love is pretty darn impossible y’all. I’m so humiliated by the lack of it in me that I’m inclined to doubt the existence of it at all. Next Monday my kids are off school so I’m looking to consolidate my work on Monday so I can have some more time to spend with them, maybe take them to the zoo or something, but then I find myself looking for approval. How evolved of me to look that far ahead to realize that they are actually out of school for the day, and how considerate of me as a parent to want to get them to do something they would otherwise not be able to do. Pat me on the back, I deserve it. I’m a good mother.

I wonder how my ego could have gotten so outrageously rampant. If I do any bit of good, it should be noticed, recorded somewhere. No, no, I don’t want a medal, but a look of marvel would do.

Life is this annoyingly, persistently, and unfailingly complicated yet simple. If I let my kids eat school lunch every day, pack them the same dry snack, let them eat chocolate muffin every morning, allow them access to electronics anytime, many of our “issues” would go away. Kids would be “happier”. For a while my 7yo bugged me about getting her Lunchables because her bestie in school gets it all the time, so I showed her the ingredients of the “food” she wants me to get her and continued to not buy her what I think is not good for her to eat. I talk to my kids about food and they all know what not to eat, so now they are voluntarily asking me to prepare their lunches for them. My kids want Cheetos because they are oh so yummy, but I have yet to buy them any and will never; instead I insist on cutting them apples, pears, pineapples, washing grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and packing them in containers that they never remember to bring out of their bags for wash. Instead of letting electronics babysit my kids, I nag them about practicing their instruments, playing games with each other, going outside to be active, reading, crafting, dancing…

I “create” all these “problems” for myself. If I don’t want to deal with them, I should not be the instigator in the first place. What’s wrong with all the other choices and the fall back, mom?

The thing is that I see all the problems, but my kids don’t. They are, in a way, forced to deal with my set of rules because of the fact that I see the problems, but because they don’t, they have a bone to pick with me. If everyone else is doing it, why can’t we? They ask. Fair question. You can’t because you are my kids. You can’t because I know, or at least I think I do, and right now I get to decide for you.

So I suppose, no matter how much I want to throw in the towel, I just can’t yet. I’ll have to continue to create problems for myself. I think my son will already think twice about using another freaking milk glass as a bookmark. Let’s hope so. Yesterday he got three prizes from his librarian because he was the only kid in his class who read over 3000 minutes in the month of February. Perhaps in all the other days I didn’t witness it, the milk glass had already served as his place marker without accident, and in my zest to be a “better” mom I had to see it this morning and all of a sudden it turned into a Waterloo issue.

Calm down, LJ. The kids are all right, and it’s just a milk glass. Reading is worth more. Unbelievably more.

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