I think we can all agree that as parents, there are days we are so fed up with being unappreciated by our kids, we could walk out the door and shout to the world that we are on strike. Well…that is exactly what I did…but instead of walking out the door, I went upstairs and shut my door. (Had the same effect).
I was having a pretty crappy week to begin with so my tolerance for bad behavior was quite low. On the way to school one morning, I asked my kids what they wanted me to make for dinner. Steak was the unanimous answer so being the awesome mom that I am (sometimes you have to self-promote), I made a special trip to buy steak and all their favorite sides. Dinners are a big deal in my house. The kids love home cooked meals and get excited all day when they know we are having something delicious.
Upon pick up, my six year old asked me what we were indeed having for dinner. With a giant smile, I said, “Guess, what? Mommy got STEAK! WOO HOO”. Lets just say it was not the reaction I hoped for. Instead I received a sourpuss face and a response of, “who cares, I don’t want it”. WHAT?!?!?! I had spent $50 on dinner at the market that I somehow fit into my schedule, did what they asked of me and still, a poor attitude. REALLY? I felt worthless, useless and completely defeated. I was a balloon that someone had let go of, left to fly aimlessly and awkwardly in the air. I felt hollow, angry and sad all at the same time. (Press play to share my memory)
Did something happened at school? I secretly hoped so because if this was my thanks for getting steak, then I was about to freak out. Turns out it was the steak because he was no longer craving it. I could feel my blood boil. Keep in mind you are reading about one instance. There were about 100 similar ones all week leading up to this, filled with ungrateful moments, disrespect and total lack of appreciation for my time, energy, wallet and overall being.
I came home, announced I was done and proceeded to tell my kids they could make their own dinner. The look on their faces was one I had never seen before. If an expression could talk, it would say, “What? What do you mean? We can’t function without you mommy? There is no gourmet dinner? Uh oh…we are in trouble.” I stomped up to my room and slammed the door. I was having a full on temper tantrum and it felt great! My husband happened to be home, which is unusual for him during the week as he usually travels. I think he was more scared than the boys.
I took the hottest bath possible and drowned myself in sorrow (not bath water). The tears strolled down my face and I felt like I was losing my mind. How much more can a person do for someone else and not get recognized for it. Yes, I knew motherhood was a selfless role and accepted that, but it still hurt. I wanted to crawl into a ball and lay in my bed for the remainder of the evening.
The boys ate bowls of cereal filled with regret and apologized for their lack of appreciation. I would accept their apologies and hand written notes but this time, it would take me a while to get over this. It is true that absence makes the heart grow fonder and the absence of dinner made my kids appreciate me more…at least for one evening.
Kids have tantrums because they don’t know how else to express themselves and need attention. Same goes for adults. I was so angry, I didn’t even know how to express my thoughts without scarring my children for life. I was craving some much deserved attention and wasn’t getting it. It was easier to shut down, shut my door and take a few moments to myself than face my family.
I later apologized for my odd and childish behavior and explained that sometimes mommies are allowed to and need to have meltdowns to send a message. I stressed the importance of thinking about how our words effect others. Everyone agreed, my kids both offered me a massage, which I gladly accepted, and I was treated like a queen for the rest of the evening. My plan worked perfectly! lol
I am happy to say I am no longer on strike but my signs are never too far away to start the picket line again…and my kids know that;)
While I don’t recommend going insane and freaking out in front of your kids, every once in a while, they need to realize that you work your butt off for them, go out of your way for them and could use some appreciation every once in a while. Is that too much to ask? I think not.
TOGETHER WE CAN MASTER MOTHERHOOD!™