I have two kids: a five-year-old and a seven-year-old. Their independence is burgeoning and I’m finally able to enjoy an uninterrupted glass of wine on the patio with a friend or my husband. My kids can get dressed on their own, play on their own, and get their own water, with encouragement. They are really growing up in some ways.
But what’s with this ever-loving need to hang on my arm, or my leg, or my waist, or my head all the fucking time?
With all of their independence, you would think that while I’m busting my ass in the kitchen to make them a deliciously nutritious dinner with a side of raw carrots or red peppers for the little fucker who won’t eat the vegetable du jour that everyone else is about to enjoy, I could complete this task without having to tell them a dozen times each to stop touching me.
I’m told that when they’re teenagers, I will long for the days where they will “need me” like this. I will long for hugs and squeezes and their desire to be attached to me ALL THE TIME. And I’m sure those experienced mothers are right. I probably will. But right now I just want 10 minutes, you know? Ten minutes where no one is touching me, or asking me for something, or looking at me. But especially touching me.
After I reread my words, I feel like a bad parent, and I feel compelled to justify how much I actually love my kids. So here I am saying it: I love my kids so much.
I love them so much that sometimes I feel like crying at the mere mention of my undying, unrelenting affection for them. I want them to have the most amazing lives. I won’t say that I hope their lives are free of struggle, because struggles enrich us all and I hope their varied life experiences allow them to gain immense insight into life’s ups and downs.
I want them to be rich, but not necessarily in a financial way, although that would be nice. I want them to be rich with friendships and love and experiences. I want them to live life to it’s fullest extent and to embrace the opportunities that are presented to them.
I do not want them to be whiney, clingy parasites that need the constant contact of another human to exist. Am I being dramatic? Maybe.
When they leave my home to move on to their next adventure, I’m sure I will cry like a million mothers before me. I will be sad for the moments that I “took for granted.” I will mourn lost moments and wish for one last hug, but right now… can they not use my body for a jungle gym? They are literally breaking my back. Literally. Get off me.
I kind of understand it when they’re hanging on me because I’m distracted, with my face buried in my phone. In that case, please help stop the lines of flux between my eyeballs and my phone screen. I obviously can’t control it and I need help. But when I’m already fixing them a snack? When I’m weeding the garden? When I’m folding the laundry? When I’m taking a dump? For the love of God, stop touching me.
Also, when I tell my kids to wash their hands, they often argue with me. I surely would not like those sweaty, sticky, dirt-under-the-fingernails, filthy mitts all over my body. And especially not on my face. Please refrain from touching my face. And head. I just took a shower this morning and I may not get another thorough cleansing for days, so I’d like to stay as clean as possible for as long as possible.
And they smell a little. Slightly like cheese, a little like poop, and some other funk I can’t identify. Remember that fresh baby smell? That one we’re all addicted to? At what age does Eau de Delicious Infant turn into Stank of Slimey School Girl?
I know I’m not alone here because almost every mother I’m friends with has tentatively suggested that they would be okay with their child going to bed at 4 p.m. just so they can spend an evening not being touched by their darling offspring. I’m here to say, that’s okay. You can say that out loud and I won’t judge, because I, too, need my space. I know you still love your kids, because I do, too. I love them like crazy, but if they could please stop touching me.