Help! I think I might be bringing up entitled, little douchebags. I kid, I kid (somewhat), as I think my boys are *basically* nice boys with good hearts but I can’t help but feel that I’m raising part of the Disney generation. These little people expect to be entertained 24/7. In their minds, life should be a series of entertaining vignettes designed for their amusement. I’m sure I caused this. After all, we do live in San Diego, which is home to Safari Park, the world famous San Diego Zoo, Sea World, and my own personal nemesis, Legoland. Since these boys were young, they’ve had a fairly steady rotating schedule of visits to these places. I justified it because, with the exception of Legoland, these were fun visits for me, too.
But I’ve come to realize that I’ve sunk myself into a deep pit of shit that is my own doing. Now, the first question each of them asks each day is, “What are we doing today, Mommy?” And the last question of the night is, “What are we doing tomorrow, Mommy?” I want to scream, “Stop with the fucking questions, okay? I brought you into this world. Isn’t that ENOUGH?” Of course, I don’t say that but, instead, begin the ever-continuing inner dialog of anxiety. It’s like I expect them to stand up and revolt if I say, “You’ll do nothing and like it.” They’ll hop out of bed and demand my head while shouting “Death to the boring mommy” while smearing my face with Hostess products. Seriously, these are the things that go through my mind.
The point when I pick them up from school is the worst as, now that my freelance writing workload has picked up, I don’t have time for the rotating visits to all the places that house fun in our area. So I begin to get a flop sweat as I pull into the parking lot, knowing that they want to know what we are doing after school. I try to decide how to best to frame how fun it will be that they watch Spongebob while Mommy finishes her writing. And then I think I might have diarrhea. “Maybe I can at least run an errand or two with them,” I think.
“What are we doing now, Mommy?” the older one will ask as he gets into the car.
“How about Target?” I say, with a fake and shrill note of excitement clutching my larynx but all I can hear is that overwhelming sense of fear lacing my words.
Commence staring contest.
“What is he thinking?” I wonder.
“How long is this going to last?” I think.
“Don’t offer a toy. Don’t offer a toy. Stay strong!” I coach myself.
“Can I get a toy?” He inevitably asks.
“Maybe something from the dollar section,” I say, trying to sound confident and avoid ending that sentence with a question mark. “This isn’t a negotiation, you little twit!” I think to myself.
Commence another staring contest. Beads of sweat have now formed on my upper lip.
“Kids can smell fear, dammit. Stop sweating!” I command myself.
“Okay,” he relents. “I hope we can find one of those really big carts that drives like a truck.”
I let out a breath. “He said ‘yes!’” I think to myself while the suffocating self-loathing starts to take hold.
“I used to have balls,” I think to myself as we head to Target. First stop — dollar section, of course.
When I was young (oh yeah, I said it), I remember having to entertain myself for hours at a time. With tops (dating myself). With four-square. With my imaginary friend. With my stuffed animals. My brother and I would were the MacGyvers of fun. And I don’t ever remember expecting anything.
The worst was returning from our trip to Disney World to celebrate my MIL’s 70th birthday. The boys had four straight days of rides, toys, cotton candy, and more rides. I knew I was in for it. “How do I compete with that?” I thought. I’ve got to get a grip on this. Nip it in the bud. Teach these little shits some humility. So I gave myself an inner pep talk. Fight the power! Show ‘em who’s boss! Life isn’t a fucking merry-go-round, little lords-a-leaping. We are NOT the royal effing family.
“YOU CAN DO THIS,” I thought to myself as I approached their bedroom the first day after we returned.
“Hi, Mom!” they both exclaimed, seeming happy. “What are we doing today?”
“Uh, I’ll get back to you.”
Ever experience this? Please tell me I’m not alone!