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Culture » Culture Features

Whatever, Mom

The Love Rollercoaster

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Yesterday, I was the greatest mom in the world. Today, I'll be starring in the dramatic, must-see production of Evil Mommy and the Unlucky Boy Who Never Gets His Way.

It's official. My five-year-old son has fulfilled all height requirements, led me to the front of the line, and dragged me aboard the love rollercoaster. And let me tell ya, I just found six more gray hairs.

In my twenty-something years of relationship-building, I've yet to find a connection more complicated (and extreme) than the one between a mother and her child. All the intense love and pure happiness, the great pride and genuine delight—it's an exhilarating high. But what goes up...

In an instant, that magnificent view from the top is shadowed by dark clouds of disfavor and heartbreak. And with its stomach-dropping declines and rickety turns, the ride down is anything but smooth. It's an unmerciful low.

Enter: the bad guy. No one cares that Mama-bear was queen of the world just two minutes ago, because those disciplinary tactics she just implemented appear to have led to the queen's demise.

Yes, it's totally unfair. But along with a mother's job as provider/caretaker comes the unpopular role of disciplinarian. And what kid likes to hear the word no? Mom's wisdom doesn't mean crap to the small child who didn't get cake before dinner, or a two-day break from brushing his teeth. He simply views her as the reason behind each of his disastrous misfortunes. And look! Here comes Protagonist Dad and Grandma, the Heroes—just in time—to save the day with a fun new game, donuts, and a pet unicorn.

Personally, I'm sick of being the bad guy. I'm exhausted from taking the brunt of all the whining, disrespect, and ungratefulness. And although I should know better than to take offense to my five-year-old's behavior, I find myself feeling a bit hurt. I do everything for this kid, and I have since day one. Not to mention I—oh wait, what's that? I'm being summoned for a hug, three kisses and a thank you for dinner? And I'm the "best mom ever" again?

God, I can practically hear the click-click-click of the rollercoaster gears. I can see us there—smiling and laughing, just filling up on all that maternally-bonded oxytocin. I am fun. I am admired. I am needed. I am Supermom once more. And in this moment, I can ignore the giant, vertical plunge up ahead. I can ignore the upside-down, crap-your-pants loopty-loops down below. I can ignore the fate-deciding flower petals falling from my fingertips as we approach the edge. Because right now, he loves me, and that is enough to keep me on this ride.

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