Saturday, January 21, 2006
The Resident Bad Cop
Now, let me start here by acknowledging something. I have absolutely no right to complain about Willem. None at all. He is wonderful. He is an attentive husband who has supported me through any number of career changes and mood swings and tantrums. He is a wonderful father who plays with the kids, cooks for them, reads to them, disciplines them, and generally enriches their lives. He's a good student, got nothing but praise as a teacher, and has other skills which I won't broadcast on a blog which I know is read by family members.


Lately, I have found myself caught in a certain role around the house. A role which I despise, yet which seems to come naturally, both for me to take it on and for everyone else to assume I'll do it. A role which the mere act of complaining about only reinforces itself. The role of ... [insert intense music here] ... the Bad Guy.

Oh, I am so tired of being the bad guy. The discipliner. The killjoy. I envy Willem's ability to just play with the kids and get them all riled up and then head off to class or announce that it's bedtime. I feel so hemmed in, so restricted by my awareness of the effects of an act: "If I start a wrestling match now, they'll have a hard time sitting down for dinner." "If I tickle them until they cry, and then leave, they might not just snap back into calm, happy beings after I go to school." "If I get Emily ready for bed and then make her giggle like a loon for 20 minutes during the story, she might stay up too late and it might wake Jacob, too."

Not Willem. He is free and unfettered by such thoughts. Leaving me to either ignore it all and feign nonchalance while steam leaks out of my ears, or to go and spread wet blankets all over everyone, rain on everyone's parade, stamp the joy out of their very beings in an effort to head off an imminent tantrum. Mean Mommy, greeted by a sea of innocent, baffled, slightly resentful faces. "What?? Me?"

And while we're on the topic, one of these days I would really love to have a bad day just for myself. I'd like to wake up crabby, evolve to grumpy, and end up at full-on snotty. I'd like to pout, simmer, and fulminate. But I can't. Why? Because the emotional stability of the whole world, or at the very least my whole house, is apparently dependent on me. Willem can be frustrated about an assignment, or overtired, or what have you, and somehow I can keep on smilin' and we all stay relatively upbeat through the day. But, it's true - if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. My black moods bring everyone down with me. It's exasperating. Sometimes I'd just like to glower, ya know?

Yeah, I know, I have it rough. Seriously, if this is the worst I can come up with to complain about, then I really, honestly don't deserve to complain at all.

But I won't let that stop me.