Smelly Socks: Saying things we don't mean

By Anita Spisak
May 2, 2013 at 12:02 a.m.

Adam and Charlie being silly.

Adam and Charlie being silly.

The other day, I got really mad at the boys. No, really mad. I was on a deadline to help my husband with one of his files, and what should've been done in 30 minutes had taken me almost two hours.

I kept getting interrupted with "Mama, what are we doing this weekend," "I'm hungry," "Mama, I have to get ready for the bus," "Mama, can you put Netflix on for us?"

All of these requests, complaints and comments coming in what seemed like 10- and 15-minute increments. They were not urgent nor were they that important, and most of all, they kept sidetracking me from my concentration on the job at hand.

And the straw that broke the proverbial camels' back was when Charlie presented me with a flashlight that he had completely taken apart and said, "Mama, fix please."

So I lost it. And some really not nice words started coming out of my mouth. And somehow the more I kept yelling, the more the anger - or should I say - frustration, kept building up inside me.

Everything I needed to get done kept getting pushed back farther and farther to take care of their nonemergency needs. It honestly took everything I had not to step into another room and scream.

But then I did take a step back and took a look at them at that moment sitting at the kitchen table coloring in a cowboy coloring book.

My mind went to the tragedy of the Newtown first-graders (who were the same age as Adam) and the little boy killed while waiting for his father to finish the race in the recent Boston Marathon.

Also, the countless other children whose parents won't have the ability to wipe their butts anymore, fix them a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, get frustrated at them for interrupting their work for the umpteenth time or put together a broken flashlight.

And so I stopped myself and my oncoming tears to step back and realize that although I write about my boys and their adventures and misadventures and their almost brilliant ways to sometimes drive me completely batty, I have to control myself from getting too mad at the little things they do because I know that they will not be doing them forever.

They will not need me forever. They will not ask me nonsense questions forever. They will not be my little babies forever.

I know that I have to answer those countless comments and questions that are asked by them without frustration because I am the one they trust, and they are counting on me to give them the help they need and the right answers to everything. And I consider myself fortunate for having to do those things.

You hear so often about how life can change in an instant, and I think we've seen enough evidence of that over the last few months.

I've tried not to get so mad that I lose my temper or say something that I won't be able to take back. There are days when it's extremely hard, but I have to suck up my frustration and know that this will not be forever.

So to all the moms, mommies and mamas and dads, daddies and papas, please remember that there will be days your children will frustrate you to no end with endless and sometimes stupefying questions and requests, but it will be those things that remind you that you are a parent.

And yes, I did stop and fix the flashlight. He smiled, gave me a big hug and said, "Tank you, Mama."

Anita lives in Chicagoland with her husband, two boys and two dogs one of which is a girl. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at



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