Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Life's not fair, but this tired mom is trying

I'm not sure at what point, "Would you please get off the roof" became a part of my regular mothering, but it surely didn't exist when my firstborn, Branden, was growing up.

Related News/Archive

I vividly recall making sure that the moment Branden was finished with the toys, they were properly placed back in the toy box. If the binky fell on the floor, I had at least two spares. If the bib failed to perform its duties, I had three other outfits in that monstrosity we called a diaper bag.

I would stare at these poor, struggling moms in the grocery store who were battling their toddler, and losing, over a bag of M&Ms. I confidently told myself "I will be more successful and I won't have that problem."

Two years later, we welcomed a baby girl, Kourtnie, into our family. It was more work, but the routine remained the same. They were close enough in age that even as they got bigger, rules were essentially the same. Truth be told, I relied heavily on Branden. I would make a game out of him getting me diapers and wipes from another room. Or the baby bottle out of the fridge. He became my right hand man and made the days easier.

Five years later, our youngest son, Kolbie, was born. The effort required was exponential. Even though we only added one more child, it felt as though we adopted triplets. Once Mom and Dad are outmanned, it becomes exceedingly difficult to maintain even a tolerable level of chaos.

And by this child, who needed bibs and extra binkies? Spit-up stains became fashionable and the five- or 20-second rule was in full effect.

I wish I could say that the confident and together mom who existed during the early years was still alive and kicking at this point.

I used to run to the pediatrician at the first sign of green snot. Sometime between Branden and Kolbie I received my master's in general medicine and I could diagnose strep throat.

New standards were set for emergency room trips and they were deemed necessary only if a bone protruded through the skin or a child's bleeding couldn't be stopped with a kitchen towel as a tourniquet.

I recognize that those of you still in the trenches with a firstborn toddler find this harsh.

Those with teenagers are giving me a high five.

I don't think I ever knew that as my parenting evolved, the kids' personalities were being modified. As if allowing the baby in the family to become a complete tyrant isn't bad enough, your Type A personality has carried over to your firstborn and you essentially deemed him a third parent. And just when you think you can't embrace any more of your parenting miscalculations, you begin to notice the idiosyncrasies of the middle child.

I never saw it through their eyes until recently. To us, they have to wait exactly the same number of days to be allowed to go to the skating rink, get their learner's permit or attend high school. But, to them, they forget their older sibling had those days before they were born. They just know they have to wait so many days or years after their big brother/sister gets to do it. And it's torture for them.

To add insult to injury, the tyrant, ahem, the younger sibling gets off the hook for actions that would have drawn a rebuke if committed by the older kids.

Simply because we are moms, have been for many years and we are tired.

The middle child appears to always get the short end of the stick. Not old enough to get to do anything first. But too old to be able to get away with breaking the rules. That unfair assessment isn't completely accurate, but it certainly reflects their perception of reality.

I'm gradually making changes to restore the tranquility of the house. Okay, tranquil never existed, but a girl can dream, right?

I'm taking back the authority I gave Branden.

I'm holding Kolbie more accountable for his actions.

I'm paying more attention to Kourtnie.

It will never be even or completely fair, but it can be better than it has been in the past. It just requires a lot more effort from this tired mom. But, us moms know that these times are when we shine.

I'm optimistic.

After all, there's no protruding bones or blood.

Heather Tempesta is a Brandon wife and mother of three kids: a 16-year-old boy, a 14-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy. She balances a full-time job with support of youth football, cheerleading and high school football, all while serving as a part-time CFO, maid, chef, chauffeur and ATM.

Life's not fair, but this tired mom is trying 01/17/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 1:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Editorial: Storm clouds over flood insurance fixes

    Editorials

    It's that time of the year when Floridians must keep one eye on hurricane forecasts and the other on congressional reforms for flood insurance. Both can be devastating for homeowners. The National Flood Insurance Program is New York Times
The National Flood Insurance Program is set to expire on Sept. 30, and Congress is still stuck in endless debate. It's time for a bipartisan solution that moves the program toward solvency without disproportionately punishing Florida.

  2. Remember that famous Fred McGriff TV commercial? He's back, in a parody

    Blogs

    If you've ever seen Fred McGriff's TV commerical for Tom Emanski's Defensive Drills video it will always be fresh in your mind, with the deadpan delivery and famously ill-fitting cap.

  3. Fennelly: Is Charlie Strong the anti-Freeze?

    College

    The Hugh Sleaze era at Ole Mess is over.

    Hugh Freeze resigned as head football coach Thursday to avoid being fired by Mississippi school officials. For those of you who had NCAA violations and investigations in the pool, you were wrong. Nor was it the defamation lawsuit filed against the school by former Rebels …

    FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2016, file photo, Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze pauses during a timeout in the team's NCAA college football game against Florida State in Orlando, Fla. Freeze has resigned after five seasons, bringing a stunning end to a once-promising tenure. The school confirmed Freeze's resignation in a release Thursday night. Assistant Matt Luke has been named the interim coach. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File) NY176
  4. Editorial: Just another crazy week for Florida government

    Editorials

    This is your state government at work this week:

  5. What to watch this weekend: 'Ozark,' 'Insecure,' 'Midnight, Texas'

    Blogs

    This side of Hell: Midnight, Texas

    Yvonne Orji and Issa Rae in Insecure.