A Thankless Job?

It’s 8:15. We should have left the house five minutes ago. The timer on my phone goes off and gonging bells fill the air, temporarily drowning out Dora’s nasally whine.

“Alright Tori, it’s time to get ready to go.”

“Five more minutes?”

“No. That’s what you said five minutes ago. Turn the TV off.”

In a flash, the sneaky smile she’d been wearing turns into a scowl.

“NOOOOO! I don’t want to. I don’t want to go to school!”

Pulling from the recent parenting books I’ve read, I get down on my knees and attempt to look her in the eye.

“I know. I know you don’t want to go to school. You want to watch TV. Right?”

She nods, temporarily biting back the scream that had been building in her throat.

“But it’s time. It’s time to get ready to go. You can watch Dora later, okay?”

And then I get up and turn off the TV.

That’s when the scream lets loose, shredding my ear drums with its shrillness.

“I don’t want to, I don’t want to, I don’t WANT TO!” she shouts as she runs for the bathroom in the kitchen, slamming the door behind her.

Her screams echo nicely in there.

I take a deep breath. Square my slumping shoulders. Fire off an angry tweet. And then I open the door.

That’s when she hits me.

Knowing I have to be consistent, I pick her up without comment and haul her up to her room, trying to ignore the voice shrieking in my head, “you’re late! You’re so fucking late! ”

“Let me know when you’re ready to calm down,” I say pseudo-calmly and shut the door on the screaming monster inside.

Then I slump to the floor and put my head in my hands.

This mom gig is hard. And at times like these, I wonder why so many of us want to do it. After all, I give her everything. Place her dreams ahead of my own. Do my best to make sure her every need is met, even needs she doesn’t know she has.

I’d do anything for her, I really would.

And this is what I get in return.

In a few minutes, the screams die down to sobs, then hiccupping whimpers.


“Yes, honey?”

“I’m ready now.”

I open the door and scoop her hot little body up, taking her to snuggle in the blue chair.

We don’t say anything for a minute. Just sit together, her breathing slowly returning to normal.

“Mommy, are you mad?”

“No, honey. I’m not mad. Just a little sad.”

She presses her forehead against mine, and one of her tears slides down my cheek.

“I won’t be naughty anymore,” she says.

“It’s okay. We’re all a little naughty sometimes.”

“I really love you, mommy.”

“Oh, baby. I love you too.”

Then the moment is over, and she’s sliding off my lap, chattering about the flowers we’re going to plant when we get home tonight.

I guess that’s why we do this thing. That love.

It makes everything else all worthwhile.

But damn, mommy needs a vacation.

5 Comments on A Thankless Job?

  1. Venus
    May 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm (4 years ago)

    Wow. I’ve been catching up on your posts as I’ve been away for a while. I am consistently impressed with both your talents as a writer, and your patience as a mother. I hope to god I can be as patient when G gets to the age of serious tantrums. As of now, he’s having little mini ones that are super-easy to deal with. But that will change.

    I’ll echo your sentiment, thank god for the love that gets us through it!

    • Amber
      May 10, 2012 at 9:20 am (4 years ago)

      Thank you for the compliment, but I’ll tell you what. I don’t feel patient. All I feel is frustrated. But you’ll be fine. Everyone survives this phase, I’m told.

  2. Meagan
    May 10, 2012 at 7:25 pm (4 years ago)

    Need a date night? I’m sure we can arrange that – either drop her off here or I could watch her at your house.

    Or, let’s plan a girls night sometime. Seriously, let me know when.

  3. tiffany moore
    May 12, 2012 at 9:37 pm (4 years ago)

    Amber- Seriously, I feel like you snuck into my house and watched one of our “episodes” and wrote about it :)
    Nice to know we are not alone!!!
    Love you- hang in there!

    • Amber
      May 14, 2012 at 2:38 pm (4 years ago)

      Isn’t it though? SOmetimes I think, man my kid is a monster. Then I talk to other moms and realize…they’re all monsters!


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