He’s moody. He’s disrespectful. He hates everything I do.
Yup, my little boy is growing up. I can’t believe he’s a teenager already.
Oh wait. Sorry. That was a typo. I meant to type threenager.
I always thought people were exaggerating when they talked about the Terrible Twos. My angel was just that when he was two. An angel. He was sweet. Polite, even. And, oh, how he loved me. Every day was an emoji shower of hearts and googly eyes with this kid. He loved his Momma.
Me and my stretch marks I got from giving him life were firmly entrenched on that pedestal. And I loved it there.
So, of course, these same people had to be exaggerating about when their kids turned three. They just had to be.
Not at all.
My angel has fallen. Only now I’m apparently Satan.
Because no matter how many tantrums he has, no matter how many times he screams directly into my face, and no matter how many toys he hurls at my head, I’m always the bad guy these days. I am mean Mommy. A mean Mommy who yells for no apparent toddler reason. And only a mean Mommy wouldn’t let him jump off the back of the couch onto the cold, hard floor or hurl a heavy wooden toy car at his baby sister’s still somewhat soft skull.
I know he’s manipulating me. I’m just surprised it’s working so well.
And, oh, how it’s working. So incredibly well. Because he’s hitting below the belt, right straight into my uterus, by making it clear, in no uncertain terms, that he now prefers Daddy to mean ‘ol Mommy.
Now, since having kids, I’ve tried to be the mature one, no matter how much it goes against my basic personality. When my son calls me a stupid poop face, do I respond with “at least I can wipe my own butt!”? No. Except for that one time. Because I’m the grown-up now.
So as much as I want to respond with this new development in the family dynamic by setting fire to all his stupid toys and slashing his security blanket with a knife, I can’t.
Because I’m the…sigh…grown-up now.
But it’s slowly killing me.
As the mom, and as the primary caretaker, you get used to a certain level of favoritism. In my not-so-humble opinion, it’s our payment for all we do in lieu of actual money. Daddy got laid and I got 10 months (IT’S ACTUALLY 10 MONTHS) of discomfort and extreme farting, followed by a scalpel to my gut and shredded nipples and weird-smelling yellow poop in my hair. Followed by 3 a.m. feedings and hours of theatrical Dr. Seuss readings and cleaning up spills roughly every 23 minutes.
So, yeah, I get to be the favorite parent.
Except now I’m not. And again, I’m trying to be the mature one but IT’S NOT FAIR. *throws nursing bra against the wall*
Daddy is indeed great. That’s why I married him, in fact. He’s wonderful. But Daddy gets to leave and go to work.
So, by the very nature of our parenting arrangement, he always gets to be the fresh parent. The one who hasn’t had to say “stop it” 1,987 times or play “This Parent Is My Jungle Gym” for nine hours straight.
And trust me when I say I’m so happy I have a partner who works at a highly demanding job all day and can come home exhausted and yet still swoop up both kids immediately before he’s even had a chance to put down his computer bag (making sure to pet our dog in the chaos to boot). He’s a very hands-on parent and the kids love it. And the stupid dog loves it. And, of course, I love it.
Except I’m starting to hate it.
Because that’s the thing. Daddy always gets to be the hero. And I am the swamp demon who hasn’t showered and won’t let them eat cupcakes for breakfast.
But I guess it’s only fair that Daddy now gets his day in the sun. He deserves it and I selfishly hogged my son’s favoritism for almost three years.
But, still, it stings a bit.
At least until I remember I’m still his baby sister’s favorite.