Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tax Season Disintegration

I am spoiling for a fight today.  Last night was rough, with me, at one point, walking out the door while Charles screamed (threatening to take a walk into the driveway turns his tantrums from angry fight-fests to a much easier to handle “no, Mommy, don’t leave!” style of crying) and at another point telling Charles, “Fine.  I don’t care where you sleep.  Sleep in the dog kennel.  It’s ten o’clock, leave me alone.”  I have a lot of lingering resentment over the past 24 hours of anger directed at me by my children.


The bottom line is that, with tax season nearing its end, the kids have moved from disliking me to actively hating me. 


Oh, I’ve always been the less-favored parent, something that really rubs me raw on occasion.  I mean, I carried these children for nine months each, fed them from my body for fourteen months each, and have cared for them, with all the attendant sacrifices and suffering, for their whole lives.  Tony, while he is a wonderful father, spends a fraction of the time and energy on them that I do, and still they love him best.  I suppose that’s the nature of the world: we want and love what we can’t have much of.


Like how I want a peaceful home life without someone (or two small someones) actively trying to make my day worse.


But in the past couple of weeks, it has grown to be something more than just throwing me over for daddy time each night.  In addition to scampering to the door as excited as if it were Christmas whenever Tony gets home, now they are trying to make me miserable.  They act out in ways I never thought they would, and it’s driving me insane.  Jamie refuses to allow me to buckle him into his car seat, no matter the time or location.  He screams and bucks and forces me to wrestle him down, hoping that I don’t break his arm in the process.  He happily lets Tony buckle him in.  The kids fight and scream and throw things, they do not respect my punishments, even when they include spanking and throwing away toys as consequences.  This morning, Charles threw his backpack out of the car while I was fighting Jamie into his seat.  He told me he did it when we got to school, so I had to drive back and was late for work.  They don’t like the food I cook and they don’t like the activities I plan.


I sometimes think that it would be better if Tony lived elsewhere for the three months of tax season.  I’m at that point where I realize that he loves his job so much that he is blind to the ways in which it is tearing me apart.  He’s here a mere two waking hours a day, but his dinner is always prepared, the house is always cleaned, his clothes are clean, folded, pressed, and put away, the grocery shopping is always done, the bed is always made… I could go on.  Maybe if the children didn’t expect to see him at all during tax season, they would respect me more and show me a little more love.


But now I’m blaming Tony, when it’s not his fault.  Well, not entirely.  I think I’m just a terrible mother.  I don’t know how to handle my kids.  When they fight over toast in the morning, and I explain that we have lots more bread and I will make more toast, they continue to fight over one piece.  When I put Charles in his room in time out during a major tantrum, he runs out of it, screaming, kicking, and throwing things.  I am powerless to stop him, no matter what discipline I attempt to enforce – discipline like removing his beloved night light from his room only results in a larger, more energetic and violent tantrum.  When Jamie throws himself on the ground, flailing and screeching, I’m often at a loss as to what to do.  I can’t figure that kid out and none of my solutions seem to help.  And he’s devious!  He’ll look me right in the eye and throw his bowl of cereal on the ground. 


I can’t make them understand that I have time to read one story or play one round of trains before I cook dinner or it won’t be ready at dinner time.  I can’t make them understand that clinging to my legs while I’m trying to get dinner on the table isn’t going to make it go any faster.  I can’t make them understand, when they are ravenous for dinner, that daddy isn’t home yet and we will be waiting until he gets there because it’s the respectful thing to do.  I love them dearly, but I don’t understand them and I can’t make them happy.  Maybe I’m the one who should move out.


Jennifer L. said...

I still think you're amazing and you have way more patience and organization than I could ever dream of having. Beds made and dinner on the table every single day?! Incredible! I certainly can't manage all of the things you do in a day, and I hardly work part time.

Roger Holeman said...

I think the only thing I could advise is to walk away and let them scream. You know the no reinforcement thing. It is not easy and doesn't work 100%.