Failure is an option

Today was a horror show. I had both of my beautiful, spirited, funny handsome boys all to myself and for some reason (hormones/neurotransmitters/the moon) it all ended up in an endless cycle of anger, recrimination and regret. And swear words. Lots of swear words.

See along with being “spirited” (a euphemism for “manic”) my little darlings are capable of the trifecta of whining, begging, crying, and punching each other, followed closely by making up with each other, laughing hysterically, manipulating me into feeling guilty about doling out consequences and finding something else to destroy. Besides my life.

I constantly have to remind myself of the deep purpose I had in having children (I literally gave it zero thought) and the two simple maxims I have come up with about a parent’s duty to their kids:
1. Keep them alive.
2. Don’t let anyone diddle them.

That’s really all. Then before you know it they are 18 and diddling themselves, although some begin much, much earlier…

At one point today I was so frustrated, having had to repeatedly leave public establishments due to my kids’ behavior, that I blurted out something I shouldn’t have:
“I really failed with you guys…”

And without skipping a beat David (8) replied, “No mommy you only failed at some things.”

Oh good. That makes me feel much better.

Add that to the new puppy, whose cuteness is diminishing in inverse proportion to the amount of waste matter I’ve stepped in today, in bare feet of course. Finally, I had to get stern, and instead of letting him run around gleefully wherever he pleased, I put him in his crate every time he made a mess, making him squeal and throw himself at the bars, like a demented bird smashing its head against a window. Which made me feel even more like Cruella De Ville.

What kind of G-d puts me in a position to act as disciplinarian? How do I raise two free spirits when I am angry at them for being so free (when I am not?) How do I forgive myself for not managing my emotions, at the same time as I expect them to manage theirs?

Also… I wonder if they sell child-sized crates on eBay.


  1. It’s on days like this why you can understand why Victorian parenting techniques focussed so heavily on children being seen and never heard, and regular beatings. There is something to be said for running a house like a military boot camp, with regular punishments to ensure discipline and rare but ‘worthwhile’ expressions of affection and hugs to give children something to aspire to.

  2. I sometimes feel a child-shaped hole in my life, having none. But then again…thanks for the perspective!

  3. I use to drive my THREE BOYS<<<to the "Boys Home." They'd scream and cry.."Please Mommy no!."….Once a week did the trick for their bad behavior. They never did catch on. Every week they were just as frightened as the last. Now they hate my guts for torturing them,,But I tell them "I hate you more."…"Oh well..sticks and stones."

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