I was commiserating with a mom whose kids are smaller than mine over the heavy lifting and long nights that makes up the vast majority child rearing. Especially infant and toddler years.
“Girl,” I said, “you are deep in the K-hole.”
And she started laughing her ass off.
Does it mean something else?
I guess it does.
Despite my version of the K-Hole not being a byproduct of recreational horse tranquilizer use, it bears some resemblance to parenting.
According to Wikiepedia, the K-hole is described as,
“…often accompanied by feelings of extreme derealization, depersonalization and disorientation, as well as temporary memory loss and vivid hallucinations … Users may experience worlds or dimensions that are indescribable, all the while being completely unaware of or having lost their individual identities or their sense of an extant and external world.”
That is totally me! Do I feel depersonalized when I pick up the soggy towels off the bathroom floor because my kids treat me like a maid/cook/chauffeur/ATM?
You bet I do.
Do I feel disoriented when I’m standing in the hallway of their school and I can’t remember if I need to be in Scrotus’s class with the snack at noon or Testiclese’s class with the crafts at 1:30 because I overcommitted?
Do I experience extreme derealization when I catch myself losing sleep over some shit that I know for a fact that no one from my parents’ generation even gave a second thought to?
Memory loss? HAHAHAHAHAHA. Hallucinations? Every night. Loss of identity? Comes with the territory. Lost a sense of an external world?
What is this “external world” you speak of?
Gawker says, “you can’t tell whether you’re asleep and dreaming or awake.” Heck, I’ve felt that. Anyone who has had an infant knows exactly how it feels to be in a perpetual state of sleepwalking exhaustion.
Anyone with an older child feels a deep affinity for the movie Groundhog Day. Every day is exactly the same: the same battles, the same struggles, the same reminders. But with a twist. You have to keep repeating that day over and over again until you get it right.
I’m still in the K-hole.
Tonight I had it. Something short circuited at the sight of towels on the floor and I marched the boys upstairs to hang them up, the right way, before I released them.
Oh the wailing and gnashing of teeth!
“I don’t know how to do it! I can’t! It’s too hard!”
I realize I have been too soft on them. If they can’t hang up a freaking towel, my god, what else do they believe they are incapable of? And what does that do to your self-esteem if you truly think you can’t do something as simple as that?
If there is one thing I value from my upbringing, it is the belief that I can figure almost anything out, that I am resourceful, that I can do it. This did not come from my parents doting on me and making sure my perfect existence was never marred by (gasp) chores.
Quite the opposite, and I am grateful for it.
Do you hear that mom and dad? Gratitude.
As I picked up stupid Rainbow Loom rubber bands off the floor for the 20th time today while chastising the boys for not picking up after themselves, I saw myself for what I am: a doormat.
A doormat that is raising entitled little monsters that will some day make some person miserable because they are used to having a mom that does everything for them.
A doormat that would rather do it quickly myself than endure my kids’ complaining and whining. A doormat that half-heartedly protests being treated like a maid while picking up someone else’s mess.
I’ve quietly judged other people for letting their kids get away with being tyrants and spoiled brats.
“Why don’t they be the parent and endure some temporary discomfort and raise decent human beings?” I would bluster, as if my shit didn’t stink. I’m just as bad as they are, but I’m going to try to claw my way out of this timeless parenting trap.
I want out of the K-hole. NOW.
My boys are old enough to do stuff for themselves and to do it right or else they will have to do it again. Starting tomorrow they will:
- Put away their clothes and make their beds in the morning before they come downstairs.
- Set the table for meals and clear their dishes.
- Hang up their coats and get their homework out.
- Assist with the care of the chicken and pets.
- Take out the trash.
- Fold laundry.
- Clean the house with me every Saturday morning.
- Fold up the blankets and put them away after watching a movie in the living room.
- Put away their toys OR LOSE THEM.
Really, I am completely disgusted with myself for letting things get as out of hand as they are. And I hate it that I have to throw a tantrum to get them to do stuff.
I can’t just ask them in a civilized way to complete a task, I have to remind, cajole and eventually blow-up before they hop to.
This is me failing as a parent.
But there’s no time like the present for fixing problems, especially when it comes to my kids. Ultimately it comes down to who has the most staying power. Can I outlast an eight year-old in the battle of the wills?
Time to Mother Up.
You aren’t allowed to weigh in on this if you don’t have kids. Sorry.
As down as I am on myself for letting my kids run roughshod, unless you have your own kids (and I mean your own, not nephews and nieces, not babysitting, not friend’s kids, not any kids that you get to send home eventually) you aren’t allowed to criticize.
Maybe you have been a positive influence in a child’s life. Thank you! It’s easier for non-parents to be tough because someone else’s kid doesn’t have the same emotional ties to you. They don’t have access to your buttons. You can get a break from them at the end of the day.
And if it’s not easier because you don’t have the authority, control over their environment, etc., it’s still not your problem and no one will blame you for raising a total asshole. Nor will that asshole be living in your basement when he is 27 and still expect you to do his laundry.
In the end, if you fuck it up, they are someone else’s problem.
You have to walk in these shoes to know the true spirit rending power of desperately needing some peace and quiet, not wanting to struggle yet again over the smallest thing, over doing it the hard (and right) way. “I’ll just do it,” is more seductive than you can possible imagine.
I’m not complaining about having children (well, maybe just a little) but I chose to have children. Nobody made me. I’m happy about my choice even when things are hard. But since this blog is about me being real … here it is. Reality.
Anyway, I might have to give some things up for a while (free time, phone conversations, writing, fucking around on the internet) but it will be worth it.
I’ll let you know how it goes. Time to cut the crap.
*Just for the record, I have never done Ketamine. Drugs scare me.