The following post was inspired by the book Dad is Fat, by comedian Jim Gaffigan. Jim riffs on his adventures co-parenting 5 kids (yes, 5!) in a two-bedroom (yes, 2!) Manhattan apartment. Join From Left to Write on April 22nd as we discuss Dad Is Fat. As a member of this blogger book club, I received a free copy for the purposes of this post (which contains an Amazon affiliate link).
It’s 8am on Easter morning…
Me: Pink, stop opening that piece of candy. We’re all done with candy for now. [not stopping] Stop it. Right. Now. [still not stopping] Do you want a timeout?
Me: Seriously? You want a timeout?
Pink: Yes. And then I’ll eat this chocolate in my crib.
Toddlers. Let’s be honest, they kind of rule the world. (Ok, one toddler in particular is kind of ruling my world these days.) It’s our job as parents to set limits, to teach them right from wrong, and to teach them to respect authority. And, truth be told, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t dramatically mess up (at least) one of those things. Because I’m tired. And I want a timeout, too.
Here’s how I see it. In this scenario, Pink wins no matter what. She either gets the chocolate (which of course she doesn’t, because when this mama lays down the law, well, sometimes she even follows through), or she goes in her room for a few minutes of quiet time to regain her composure. Both kinda sound like heaven to me.
It’s true, most days I’d give up a piece of chocolate in a heartbeat if you’d tuck me into my bed and tell me not to come out again until I’m feeling like I can face the world with a new attitude. And you know what? I’ve heard you should take a minute for every year old you are. That means I need 23 minutes, you guys. Yes, 23 glorious minutes of alone time for losing my cool.
But here’s the thing. If I sent myself to my room for a timeout, this little girl would not only eat more chocolate, she’d likely do it in the middle of the street while juggling knives. That’s what toddlers do. They’re crazed maniacs in deceptively adorable packages. And you know what moms do? They constantly try — though often fail — to stay one step ahead of the little animals.
It’s no easy task. And it can have a dramatic effect on
this a mom’s energy level and attitude. So forgive me if almost all the time sometimes I seem to be throwing a tantrum when I should simply be using kind words.
I just really need a timeout.