Snohomish County Career Fair - September 10
The Herald of Everett, Washington
Customer service  |  Subscribe   |   Log in or sign up   |   Advertising information   |   Contact us
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up  Green editions icon Green editions
Published: Wednesday, August 22, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Like a good song, parenthood can stick in your head

I really “live it up” when I get the chance. The other day my mother-in-law gave me a bit of freedom and watched my kids while I got to go to a doctor's appointment and Trader Joe's all by myself. Driving around in the car alone meant that I could turn on the radio and risk hearing bad words, which is mother-loving fantastic.

While cruising down 196th, a song by P!nk came on the radio called “Please Don't Leave Me,” which is about a horribly dysfunctional adult relationship. That particular day for some reason, the thought occurred to me to imagine that it was one of my children singing the lyrics to me, instead of P!nk. “I don't know if I could yell any louder/ How many times have I kicked you outa here?” Wow! It was like P!nk was singing about a tantrum. Can you picture your child's bedroom door slamming after your simple request to flush the toilet?

“How did I become so obnoxious? / What is it with you that makes me act like this?” I don't have a teenager yet, but I bet that particular line would appeal to parents who do. It is hard to look at my 3-year-old right now in her tutu, cowboy boots and tiara and imagine her turning into a 16-year-old with a nose-ring and pink hair, but if that day ever comes there will be yelling involved.

I am sure you are already familiar with the reality of kids moving through developmental stages. To me this has always meant that kids are supposed to act like brats sometimes because it's in their job descriptions, right next to: “Drive Mom and Dad crazy!”

There are lots of behaviors that are pathological in adults, but perfectly normal in children. A 50-year-old who strips naked and runs down the street shouting “Eureka!” is a weirdo. A 2-year-old who does this in the middle of the Little Gym is just high-spirited and in need of a time-out. It is typical for 12-year-olds to allow their bedrooms to become minor disaster zones. But if your neighbor's front door was blocked by rotting laundry you would be concerned.

Then there's the issue of tantrums. A 40-year-old channeling P!nk and cursing out her husband might need counseling. However, a 9-year-old saying mean things to his mother requires some natural consequences and … fourth grade. The next time a tantrum strikes in the Bardsley household, I'm going to picture my kids wailing into microphones like pop stars. Maybe that will help.

If raising children means filling your home with little human beings who are working through some pretty serious mental stages, where does that leave us as parents? Knowing about normal childhood development never seems to make dealing with it any easier. I'm sure I'm not the only mom who has stayed up late at night worrying, “What if this isn't just a stage? What if my child never grows out of this?” And heaven forbid, “Was I like this when I was little?”

Oh crumb. This parenting stuff is hard.

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at
Story tags » ParentingFamily

Subscribe to Weekend to-do list
See sample | Privacy policy

Most recent I Brake for Moms posts

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

» More life
HeraldNet Classifieds