“If you don’t stop _____, I will turn this car around!”

Every parent has said it.

My parents said it.

My husband’s parents said it.

I’m pretty sure my Great-Great-Great-Grandparents said it, but back then it sounded more like, “If you keep sassin’ your pa, I’ll turn this buggy around, an whoop your ass down by the crick.” Wish I could have said it like that; getting to say it in that manner screams you mean fucking business. You won’t have fresh eggs from the Oleson store and a butt whoopin’? That would make most people shut up real fast. But my kids aren’t most people, and I don’t think I could pull it off.

Yeah… yesterday, I said it. We were heading to the local seafood festival, a day of family fun that only comes to town once a year. It’s a 45 minute drive from home and we were 9 miles into that drive, on the interstate. My older sons are in the stages of their love/hate relationship. They love to hate each other, and there was no end in sight to the bullshit. “Mom, he’s touching me. Dad, he won’t stop swallowing. Mom, make his stop swallowing. Dad, get him to stop touching me.”

I took a deep breath as I watched a vein pulse in the forehead of my husband. “If you don’t cut this crap out, RIGHT NOW, we will turn this car around.”

Beautiful silence…

For 5 freaking minutes…

It didn’t work.


Hubby and I nodded to each other and got off at the next exit. The middle one started to cry, which made the baby cry and then the oldest cried when he discovered there would be no usage of electronics when we got home.

I wanted to cry. It was a beautiful, Florida day outside. The sun was hanging in the sky, clouds moved with a heavenly breeze, and all I wanted was to eat a plate of deep-fried seafood washed down with a cold draft beer… or 6. To enjoy my family enjoying each other. But the gauntlet had been thrown… to back out now would be stupid. So we stuck to our guns. The kids played with Dad outside, we went on a bike ride; It was a normal Sunday. It wasn’t extraordinary, and that was kind of sad.

After the kids were in bed I wondered if they’d learned their lesson. The lesson that Mommy and Daddy mean business and we will turn the car around even if it means missing out on something fun we’d like to do.

A small part of me hopes they still have this lesson to learn. Fingers crossed I get out of the next birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese’s.





I always knew I’d have children.  That was just something in the cards for me.  I never thought I’d have 3… but that’s for another blog.  I remember being a teenager and talking with a friend about where we saw ourselves at 35… I said, point-blank, married with kids.  And she said she was never having kids because she’d never be able to be “the mother she wanted to be”.   At the time I thought her words were so bizarre, so strange.  How could she know the future?  You are the person who decides how you will act, what moral compass you will follow.  You dictate your future.  At 15 I was really into that whole dogma.

Now, looking back on that conversation, I’m shocked at the words of wisdom provided to me by a person who was so young.  She was TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY right on.  I am nothing like the mother I thought I would be.  That doesn’t mean that I’m not a good mom, although I do have my moments of total insanity.  But I’m not “that mom”.  That imaginary figment could never fly around here.

Mother I Thought I’d be…

My children will always be able talk to me, about anything, and I won’t judge them.

Mother I Am…

They talk to me, about anything, and I judge the ever-loving shit outta them.  I judge them so hard I’m Judge Judy.  I don’t always hand down a sentence but believe me, I judge.  And they aren’t even teenagers yet. Oy.

Mother I Thought I’d be…

My kids will always be able to pick the radio station in the car.

Mother I Am…

Fuck that.  After hearing Timber a million times I’m picking the radio station.  “When you have a car you can listen to what you want.”  {Did I just say that? My mother used to say that}

Mother I Thought I’d be…

I will actively play with my kids all the time.

Mother I am…

I can’t believe I even thought this was possible when I was younger.  Like, I actually resented my mother at times because I didn’t think she played with me enough.  And she played with me a lot!  Between the housework, the siblings, the drop-offs and the pick-ups, I’m lucky if I get to eat a meal sitting down.  Play with you?  Another game of Candy Land?  We’ve already played 5.  You must be joking.

Mother I Thought I’d be…

My children will travel.  We will see the world together.

Mother I am…

Traveling costs money.  Traveling with small children is a mind numbing siege that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy.  The last trip we took was a 2 hour car trip to a soccer tournament and I actually considered putting duct tape over the mouths of the older 2.  Travel?  I don’t fucking think so.

Mother I thought I’d be…

Each of my children will have their own personality, and I won’t let their behavior, good or bad, change how I feel about myself.

Mother I am…

Wrong, wrong, wrong.  When they accomplish something fantastic… I too, feel fantastic.  When they act like animals… I see that as a direct reflection of my parenting failures.  Just because I feel this way doesn’t make it right.   But it’s still how I feel.

No, I’m not the mother I thought I’d be.  Far from it.  I have cobwebs in my house, I’m not hip, I’m embarrassing, and I’m not always fair.  But I am here for them… 24/7, no matter what.

And I’m laughing.

And I’m trying.