Tag Archives: cleopatra

I’m telling my mom on you.

I like to think I’m a mature person. Mature-ish at the very least. Especially since I became a mother. Because when the world hands you a screaming, leaking lump of fragile human clay and expects you to keep it alive for 18 years, you grow up a bit in spite of yourself.

I can now even say the word Uranus without giggling.

Usually.

But let me tell you, the first time I heard my own mom scold my misbehaving kids, telling them they better behave and listen to their mother or else, I gloated. Oh, I gloated so hard.

(Internally, of course. I am mature-ish, afterall.)

But you could not have wiped that Cheshire Cat grin off my face with a jackhammer.

“Oh yeah,” I thought to myself. “Memaw just put the smack down on you. Who’s a stupid poopy-head now, tiny humans?”

I’m not necessarily proud of this. But then again, I’m not necessarily ashamed.

It can be lonely at the top of the family hierarchy. Heavy is the head that wears the crown made of macaroni your offspring made you at day camp. And nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to disciplining.

Now that my kids are 4 and 20-months-old, respectively, my days have devolved into one long verbal parade of “no.” Oh look, there’s the “Knock It Off” float. And the “Please Stop” marching band. And the “Don’t Do That Again” men in the funny hats riding the tiny cars.

And, perhaps my personal favorite, the “And That’s Why We Don’t Stick Our Hands In The Toilet” cheerleaders.

It’s exhausting. Especially because you have to constantly be vigilant about disciplining. And correcting. And punishing. One tiny little inconsistency and BOOM. The whole wobbly stack of cards your authority rests on comes crumbling down.  

Because small children are relentless. And merciless. And love nothing more than finding a loophole in your disciplining and squeezing their squirmy little tooshies through it.

So, when someone else with familial authority steps in and disciplines your children while simultaneously giving credence to your own parental authority, it feels like one of those deus ex machina moments in a book or a movie, where the hand of God comes down and fixes everything.

At least for the next 15 minutes.

This is particularly a big deal for me since both my mom and my husband’s mom live far away. Which can make it feel like my husband and I are ruling on a remote island that is constantly under threat of a coup from the restless peasants. Just last week they were screaming “LET US EAT CAKE!” while trying to bang down our bedroom door as we huddled under the blankets, clinging to each other.

But when either one of our moms comes to visit, oh…oh, it’s like watching Cleopatra riding into the city with her giant army of weaponized cookies and stickers, ready to take over and restore order.

Because grandparents, and especially grandmothers, enjoy a different sort of authority. Parents, by necessity, usually end up becoming dictators. Otherwise chaos reigns. But grandparents are more like benevolent royalty. Since they are a degree removed from the children, (unlike us dictators who are forced to live side by side with them), Grandma and Pop-pop can show up, shower them with jewels and snickerdoodles, and earn their obedience without any bloodshed.

And it just so happens that my mom is in town this week for a visit. Which is why I am out in a coffee shop right now writing this, disastrously mixing up my political and historical metaphors in peace, instead of strolling the hallways of the gulag that was formerly my house.

What’s going on inside my house right now? I have no idea. And better yet, I don’t care. Because a divine parental authority even more ancient than mine has taken over.

And for this week I say, hell, let ‘em eat cake.

 

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Fun mind games you can play at home

No matter how strong your relationship is, there will come a time when your love is put to the test. And this moment will come when you least expect it. It could be next Tuesday. Or a Saturday two months from now. But it will happen. And it will happen right before dinner time. And it will go down just like this:

MAN: What do you want to eat?

WOMAN: Oh, I don’t care. Whatever you want.

MAN: Pizza?

WOMAN: Except that.

MAN: Burgers?

WOMAN: Or that.

MAN: Sigh. Chinese?

WOMAN: Nah.

MAN: What. Do. You. Want. To. Eat?

WOMAN: Whatever is fine.

MAN: *primal man scream*

WOMAN: Why are you freaking out? It’s just dinner. Pick something already.

MAN: Fine. Italian.

WOMAN: Ugh. We just had that three weeks ago.

MAN: *bangs head on steering wheel until unconscious*

eat1

eat2

Why do women do this? More importantly, why do so many women do this? Did we all get together at a super secret meeting and decide to do this as punishment until the female-male wage gap is closed?

Ha Ha!

That’s none of your goddamn business.

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The point is, many, many females are guilty of this. I’m one of them. So, while I can’t speak for all women who do this, I can try to explain why I have done this.

See, this whole awful carousel ride from hell revolves around the fact that what I really want to eat is tacos. But YOU have to suggest it so that the calories don’t count. Because female logic. (This logic is also telling me that maybe you will suggest something better than tacos. But you won’t. Because what I really want is tacos).

Still with me? No? Alright, let me break it down for you. See, I can’t just SAY tacos. Because today I’ve already eaten scrambled eggs, sausage, THREE pieces of toast, a gyro, half a bag of peanut M&M’s, three chicken nuggets off my toddler’s plate, seven of his French fries, the rest of the peanut M&M’s, and a gigantic tub of Starbucks frappuccino that is basically caffeine-infused, semi-melted ice cream.

So, clearly, I can’t suggest tacos. Because I should eat a salad and run five miles instead. But I don’t want a salad and I don’t want to run five miles. I want tacos. But, again, I want YOU to suggest tacos and then I will reluctantly go along with it, much like a hostage forced into a cheesy, melty, crunchy corn shell prison they have to eat their way out of. That way none of the blame can fall on me. Because I’m already feeling like a Fatty McFatterson and society has told me since practically birth that the worst thing a white woman like me can be is fat.

And yes, I know I’m being ridiculous. Of course I’m being ridiculous. But why can’t YOU just hurry the hell up and suggest tacos already?

So, to sum up, what do I want to eat? Tacos. Which I will never, ever admit. Because regardless of my size, I will always feel guilty when it comes to food. Which is why I have to do a series of infuriating mental games in order to eat in peace. Which is why I will shoot down every single suggestion you make until you finally land upon tacos or we both of starvation.

And which is why, while you think asking “what do you want to eat?” is the simplest question in the world to answer, to me it’s loaded with deep, dark psychological land mines.

Which is why there are never any winners in this particular argument.

Of course, not ALL women do this. I’ve heard many wonderful tales of females who have refused to give into these ridiculous and impossible standards of the perfect body ideal and can eat food without guilt and self-loathing. And if you happen to find one of these ladies, one not hung up about food, hold onto her. HOLD ONTO HER AND NEVER LET HER GO. Buy her tacos and feed them to her like a servant feeding Cleopatra grapes.

And then send her over to my house so she can slap my face and tell me I’m beautiful and to knock it off with this body image bullshit.