The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Sunday, June 10, 2007



My daughter is really making me sound like an asshole lately. She’s 2 1/2-years old and her two favorite things to do are talk and imitate me, which is turning into a deadly combination. If you listen to her for five minutes, you’d think that all I ever do is 1) reprimand her for completely minor infractions, and 2) hover over her like a helicopter, anticipating near constant danger.

I eavesdropped on her playing with her baby recently and she was holding her and pointing to the glass picture frame on my bedroom dresser: “No, no no… Just look, okaaay? Don’t touch okaaaay?”

To her Elmo doll: “No jumping on the bed! Have to be careful!”

To her stuffed doggie: “No barking!”

And, as she carried on an entire, two-way conversation with herself in her alter-ego “mommy voice” (which is kind of sing-songy and fake-nice), I heard her say: “No Emi, you’ll scratch it, and then it won’t work. And we won’t be able to buy a new one "cause its espensive.” This, as she went ahead anyway and tried to shove two Baby Einstein DVDs into the player at the same time. . .

But what bothered me more than the potential damage to the DVD player was the depiction of “mommy” in that little scenario. Do I really sound like that? Because if I do, I must be really annoying. And although I do want to be a responsible mom, and make sure that my kid says “please” and “thank you” and knows not to run into the street, I also want to be the fun mom ― the mom who tells silly stories, who makes her kid crack up and doesn’t say NO all the time.

I know I say NO more than I ought to, more than I like to, but it just flies uncontrollably out of my mouth ― when she stands up in the grocery cart at Costco, when she puts both feet in the dog’s water bowl (with her new shoes on), when she grabs hold of the moisturizer that’s my one beauty product splurge and uses up about 2 “espensive” ounces in one go. If only the word NO! got her attention anyway ― it’s usually merely a signal for her to begin pretending that she hasn’t heard a single word I’ve just said. But she must hear me, because I get treated to replay all the time. . .

It’s not easy to break oneself of the NO habit, but I have been trying. The last time I caught Emi jumping on the bed, I hesitated a minute, thinking hard about how I should phrase some constructive criticism about the potential pitfalls involved. And just as I was about to open my mouth, she bounced back from the bed at a particularly precarious angle, sailed towards the sliding glass door, hit the wooden Venetian blinds, slid downwards with a rat-a-tat, and landed with a thump on the hardwood floor.

First off ― she was fine. I think the blinds kind of broke the fall. And I discovered a phrase that seems, in retrospect, a lot more effective and powerful than NO.

“I told you so…” (Though I don’t know if this makes me sound any less annoying.)

By Shannon Matus--Takaoka


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