Why Kids Are Bad for My Self-Esteem
Early mornings are very busy for me. I’m feeding the dog, doing a load or two of laundry, grading some papers, and checking my email. After I microwave a bowl of instant oatmeal and scarf it down as I pack my lunch, I finally head to the bathroom to get ready. This is my quiet time. The dog is licking the remnants of his breakfast, the girls are fast asleep, and my husband is snoring. In short, no one needs me, so I can focus on my own personal maintenance without interruption.
When I put my toothbrush into my mouth, I hear stirring. I quickly turn off the water and stand completely still, hoping that whomever I just disturbed will lay back down. No such luck. Little feet land hard on the side of the bed and head toward the bathroom.
“I gotta pee-pee.”
“Go pee-pee,” I reply as I press my body into the sink so that she can get by me. “Oh my goodness,” I say. “That’s a lot of water coming out of a little girl.”
She smiles as she reaches for the tissue.
“Mommy, I can flush it, okay?”
“Okay, don’t forget to wash your hands.”
“I know that, Mommy.” She sighs heavily and slides the stool up to the sink. “I need soap.”
I hand her the soap, and she, of course, takes the long hand-washing route. When I want her to wash her hands before she “helps” me cook dinner, there is literally one bead of water that touches her skin before the slaps the faucet off and runs full speed to the kitchen. Today, at this moment, she wants to put into practice what I’ve been trying to teach since she starting potty training.
“Hurry up, Little Miss,” I say nearly choking on the mouthful of toothpaste. I don’t want to spit on her hands.
“I’ve got soap!” she snaps. I don’t make it a habit of fussing at the kids early in the morning because I don’t want them in a bad mood embarrassing me at school, so I hold her hands out of the way, spit, and let the comment slide with a simple, “Are you really talking to me like that?”
“Sorry,” she says too much like a teenager for my liking. My eyes narrow and I stare straight at her. “I’m sorry, Mommy,” she softly replies deciding that now is a good time to rinse.
I open the medicine cabinet and grab my tweezers. Somehow when I hit thirty, my body decided to do its own sex change, so these course long hairs are growing all willy-nilly out of my chin. Because I wear glasses, I’m doing the weird I’m Tweezing My Chin dance (head back with chin extended toward mirror, lips pressed most unappealingly into my nose, eyebrows furrowed, body leaning so far over the sink that my nightgown is getting wet from the copious hand-washing that just took place, tweezers pinching away in vain because I can’t really see anything in this position) and all the while I’m oblivious (because I’m on a mission) to my baby watching and taking mental notes.
Finally, I grab a hair and pull it confidently out of my chin. I know I must have been smiling as I looked down at the hair caught in the pinched tweezers.
“What are you doing to your beard, Mommy?”
“Take your butt back to bed!” I yell chasing her out of the bathroom. “Where the hell is that razor?” I mumble under my breath as I slam and lock the bathroom door.