Friday, July 29, 2011

Evil ogre mom?

It is Friday, but my mood is much more reminiscent of a Monday morning. Here's why:

Today, my husband turns 40. I'm going to be volunteering at the drive-in movies tonight, meaning I won't have time to make him a nice dinner, so I did that last night: cajun-spiced baked fish fillets with fresh homemade mango salsa, brown rice and fresh corn on the cob. YUM!

Then, I woke up early this morning to bake him some banana bread for breakfast. As I was letting the dogs outside for their morning constitutional, I heard someone stirring upstairs - it was Jason; he keeps waking up earlier and earlier; today it was 5:45 AM. His alarm clock usually goes off at 7:15, so this is really early for him. He showered and was downstairs ready for the day by 6 AM. He asked to watch TV, but that is out of the question; it would be a bad morning habit for him to get into. Instead, I told him he could read, or play, or he could sort and bag the recyclables for us to take into town today. He chose to help with the recyclables. Good kid.

So there I am, mixing up the banana bread and stepping over my son, who is sorting plastic and cans and paper and glass, right in the way. I get the bread in the oven (toaster oven because my real oven STILL doesn't work, even though I ordered a new heating element online, removed the old one and installed the new one, all by myself), washed the dishes, and began sweeping all the floors. During this time, Jason decides to he must find one of his toys and is walking around everywhere looking, getting in my way again. There is a reason why I sweep the floors first thing in the morning when the dogs are outside and everyone else is asleep.

I finish sweeping and cut up a fresh pineapple to go with the banana bread for breakfast. It turns out, Jason doesn't want either, so I get cereal down for him to eat that instead. (kids!) I pack the boys' lunches as well as my own, then call the dogs in to give Rosabelle (whom I believe we are now calling "Deuce", although the jury is still out on that) her medications. By now, the banana bread is done, so I put it on a cooling rack on the stovetop to cool. Donald comes downstairs and starts eating the pineapple, but he doesn't want banana bread either. He wants cinammon toast. (there is no accounting for taste!) I get him situated, and head off to my room to shower and dress. I'm actually going to be early to work this morning!

Halfway through my shower, Jason knocks on the door and asks, "Are the dogs supposed to be eating the banana bread?" During the process of coming to ask me that ridiculous question, he wakes his father, whom I was trying to let sleep in on this anniversary of his birth. What ensued was me fussing at the dogs, Adam fussing at Jason, and the whole exhilaration of a Friday morning, and a birthday at that, crumpling into a cranky funk reminiscent of a Monday morning.

I know it is just food, that I can easily sweep up the floor once again, and that I should have known better - our new dog has obviously never been in a house before, and I'm sure she didn't know that what she did was wrong (although I'm pretty sure she realizes it now!), but I am just so bummed.

While finally getting dressed, I realized that part of why I am feeling so off is that the ONLY time I get to myself all day is the hour or so before the kids wake up. Even though I am usually doing housework or paying bills during that time, it is still MY time. I don't have to talk to anyone. I don't have to do anything for anyone. I can do something from start to finish without being interrupted. I can just be. Having my son unexpectedly underfoot this morning threw me for a loop.

So, when I dropped him off at summer camp, I let him know that I wasn't mad at him, that nothing was his fault, that I knew he was just trying to do the right thing, both by getting up early and by coming in to let me know about the dogs and the bread, and that I loved him. In the future, however, if he wanted to get up early, that was fine, but I'd like him to stay upstairs in his room until 7 AM. I explained that I need some time to myself every day so that I am not such a grouch.

My question is, is that wrong? Is my request selfish and unreasonable? Am I an evil, ogre mom?

(And if I am, do you think Adam and the kids will forgive me if I make some Apple Crisp tonight before the movies?)


Anonymous said...

I think you handled it very graciously, considering! Children need to learn that we are people too, with our own needs.

Anonymous said...

No, you are not being selfish and unreasonable. On the contrary, you are being extremely reasonable. You need your "you" time in the morning, you deserve it, and it's good for the whole family. I think you offered a great solution. Too bad about that banana bread, but hopefully the loving thought and effort were appreciated.
Debbie R.

Auntie Em said...

Absolutely NOT selfish or unreasonable! You need a little "me" time to charge your batteries for all the wonderful things you do with your little guys.
Heck! You're doing chores! How can that be selfish?

Sallie said...

No, and I wouldn't be a short order cook, either. They either eat what's fixed, or wait till the next meal.

Char said...

No, I think you are being very reasonable. You really do deserve some time to yourself each day even if it's only 15 minutes.

Becky said...

No, you are not unreasonable. Even our granddaughter (when she was 4) had a digital clock by her bed with the minute side taped over and she was told the "number" of when she could come out of her room. Of course if she needed someone, that was different, but she didn't abuse it. You need time too!

JanetK said...

Ogre mom? I will have to remember that one next time I'm self-deprecating about one of those "teaching moments" - hahaha!

I agree that kids can learn that everyone needs space and that parents are humans...our son is still being trained to wait until at least 6am to wake us up (I'm not an early riser!) I hope you have a great rest of day and weekend!

DD Lindsey said...

I think you're a great mom! And good for you for teaching your kids to be considerate. That's what I called it when I was training my own kids. They could entertain themselves (in their own room) until a "reasonable" hour (no, 6am is not reasonable). Imagine my surprise when I married the "love of my life" 5 yrs ago, and his sweet little urchins would get up at the butt-crack of dawn, slamming doors, cabinets, turning the tv on (loudly, of course)...not caring that others were still sleeping. It's called manners. And good for you for teaching them.

Shay said...

I think you handled it all really well. And you are NOT an ogre Mom. (I need my alone morning time too and I only have another adult in the house!)

One of your spin off benefits from the 7 am rule is that Jason might go back to sleep and that would be a good thing wouldn't it? I use gro clocks to teach kids about sleeping in all the time!

Happy Birthday to your wonderful husband(It's Mr. P's birthday Monday!)

Hope the rest of the day goes swimmingly.

Stray Stitches (Linda G) said...

I think you handled the whole situation perfectly. We all need our own time and asking Jason to stay upstairs until 7:00 will make both of your days start out better. You are a wonderful mom and don't let anyone tell you differently :)

Wilma Lee said...

I feel the same way. The mornings are mine!! I get up at 6 so I can have an hour or so without looking at MIL's grouchy sullen old face, and when she gets up early, it just ruins my day. Dave knows just to leave me alone if he wakes early, lol.

Nancy said...

Well, of course I agree with all the others who said you are not an "ogre mom." Telling Jason to not come out of his room until 7:00 is a great idea - Becky has been having that rule for Jack for a pretty long time - and he gets up really early. I think now Reba is also under the same restriction - she's 5 and starting kindergarten shortly. You can't force them to stay asleep, but you can keep them out of your hair. My "me" time is late at night after Dave goes to bed, but whenever it is, everyone needs some, especially when there are kids around.