About a week after Big Brother was born I got a congratulatory call from a college friend. She’d gotten married about the time that we found out that we were expecting big brother. It was exciting to be experiencing big joy alongside her.
She called in the afternoon. I was still in the hospital dealing with postpartum yuck (this is when I learned that im allergic to every pain med that hey give you after major surgery) and lingering neurological issues. Hers was the first phone call that I actually answered after Big Brother was born.
We talked for a while about how Big Brother and I were doing. I told her how perfect he was and what a great daddy my husband was turning out to be. She rejoiced with me.
She asked how I was feeling about being a mom, and she wanted to know if having a baby had changed everything yet. She had a ton of questions about our decision to have a baby. I felt like maybe she was doing research.
Toward the end of our conversation I asked her if she and her husband were thinking about kids in the future. This seemed like the natural direction of the conversation. I felt like she wanted me to ask.
“I don’t know, LJ. I always thought I wanted a big family, but my friends kids really annoy me…yours won’t, of course, but I think mine would! Can’t you just picture little mes running around?! It’s terrifying!”
How could she say that?! Maybe she shouldn’t be a mom! Kids aren’t annoying, they’re perfect! Look at my perfect little angel baby. He’s just perfect. He will never annoy me! I’m his mother!
I laughed with her and said something about how they’re not annoying until they’re old enough to talk, and we were far from that stage. We ended the conversation, and I picked up Big Brother from the bassinet and inhaled his perfection. Annoying? My baby? Never!
Fast forward three and a half years.
My kid annoys me! Both of my kids annoy me! Sometimes.
We’re still in the toddler/little kid stage, so I can speak for all ages, but these dudes can be nuts! They’re gross, they are irrational, they are loud, they’re needy, they grow attached to tiny things that they then loose and throw gigantic fits, and they’re whiney.
Toddlers are the worst sometimes, and it took a few years for me to admit it.
I think they’re annoying and I still love them. I even like them most of the time. Why aren’t moms allowed to say that they’re annoyed by their kids? Do we have to love everything about them all of the time because we made the choice to become moms? Is it our responsibility to stay tight lipped about how terrible they can be because it makes us look bad to tell the truth? I don’t know what it is, but it’s ok to let it out every now and then.
I’m in a mom group at my church. The first time I ever heard a young mom say that her son was annoying I almost spit out my drink. It felt so harsh!
Little Brother had just been born, and big brother was almost two. Little Brother was attached to my boob all day and Big Brother was always climbing on me- vying for my attention. My kids annoyed me too, but I didn’t dare say it.
“Guys, this kid is driving me nuts. Can I give him away? Like just for a week or so! He’s always scratching me- on purpose! He just walks up to me, puts his nail in my arm, and slides his hand down to my wrist. It doesn’t matter how short I cut his nails! He does it everyday. Nothing works. I’ve taken things from him, we’ve spanked… And don’t get me started on how gross he is! Y’all, he LIKES his poop! Who likes their poop? He doesn’t want me to ‘throw it away’ at diaper changes. Every time I open the diaper genie he has a huge fit! He’s so annoying!”
She vented for a few more minutes and all of the other moms nodded in understanding. They said supportive things and swapped stories about how annoying their kids are too. I was flabbergasted. Then it was my turn. They looked at me expectantly.
I was holding my little bundle of perfection. He was gnawing on my boob because he’d eaten fifteen minutes prior and there was no milk to be found. It was the only thing that calmed him, and I couldn’t have my three month old screaming at the top of his lungs in front of all of these moms who were getting a break.
“Let me hold him for you. It’s easier to complain about them when you’re not holding them.” A sweet momma at my table held her arms out for little brother.
“No, it’s ok…” I hesitated a little. “I guess I have been more annoyed than usual lately. I mean, he’s always attached to me. I just wish he’d stop being so needy.”
My instant feelings of shame we’re met with karate kicks to the groin.
“Don’t you dare feel bad about it, momma. We all feel that way at some point! They keep getting more annoying for a while, so you should practice getting it out now.” All of the moms laughed a little, then they went around the table bragging about the same kids that they’d just complained about.
Each mom had a tale of how wonderful their little terrors had been that week. Their joy and pride more than accounted for how annoying their kids had been.
Looking back at that specific group makes me wish I’d had toddlers then. My stories could have competed nicely with theirs. It would have been nice to take advantage of an open opportunity to use the ‘a-word’.
I don’t often desire to shout, ‘they’re annoying the boogers out of me’, but when I do, I say it. It’s usually to my husband or a close friend (because shame and guilt). Sometimes I even go I to my room, close the door, and say it out loud to myself. It’s super cathartic!
My toddlers annoy me, and I love them. I’m proud of them. I love watching them grow. I know that most of the annoying things that they do are just their ways of learning about the world. I don’t expect them to be charming and decent all of the time, and you shouldn’t expect that of them either.
Moms, don’t be ashamed of how you feel. If you think your toddler is the worst sometimes, you’re definitely not alone. And it’s not your fault! Toddlers act without thinking, they feel without guilt and shame. They are impulsively imperfect.
When I stopped trying to hide the fact that my boys can drive me nuts I became more patient and understanding with myself and them. And I developed better relationships with other moms (who wants to hang out with the perfect mom and her perfect kids? Not me.)
Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear stories of how your little bundles of perfection annoy you. I’ve had a ton of belly laughs as a result of my boys’ annoying behaviors. Please comment below if you’d like to share your experiences!