Monday, December 10, 2012

I Hate You, Mommy

If you're a mom, you can expect to hear these words out of your precious child's mouth at some point. In the heat of the crushing, overwhelming emotions only a young child can truly feel, they will forget all other means of communication and let those terrible words fly, "I hate you, Mommy!"

Let me prepare you, the first time feels like they've taken a knife and slashed it right through your heart. The pain will sear and your eyes will sting. Who knew such little people could harbor such potent weapons?

I've grown accustomed to hearing it from my eldest daughter's mouth on the rare occasion that she's angry/tired/frustrated enough to lash out instead of articulately expressing her upset as she usually does. She's a mature old soul, I tell you. I know when we get to that point, I need to take her in my arms, or simply stand back, and really listen to her.

My second daughter has rarely, if ever uttered the words and instead, usually turns it around, "Well then, you must hate me!" That makes me sad, but it's much easier to deal with.

Saturday, The Boy said the words. My sweet, adorable, loving, cuddly little boy. My baby. My cuddle bunny. My little love. He's the sweetest child I've ever known, the cutest, the kindest, the loveliest. Yet, out of his mouth came those words.

It was bedtime. He's going through "Papa" and "I-can-do-it-myself" phases simultaneously. When Papa is home, he is the only one The Boy wants to help him. Otherwise, he wants to do everything by himself.

"No! I can do it!" and "No, Papa can..." are frequent, frustrating (for me) phrases. But, as you moms know, sometimes Papa can't. Sometimes Papa is doing other things or just plain doesn't like to do the thing you're trying to do with your kids so it is your domain. After years of parenting together, you know what you do and what he does and you rarely switch off unnecessarily.

And sometimes the child simply can't and they actually do need help.

I tried to maintain a level of patience and "help" him get ready for bed. Within the "I-can-do-it-myself phase" "help" means just standing by waiting in case he needs assistance. He got increasingly upset because a) he didn't want to go to bed yet and b) he couldn't get his shirt over his head.

After about 5-minutes of alternately offering him help, walking away to let him experience his independence while ensuring he didn't sneak back down the stairs and, frankly, getting annoyed with him, I asked, "Can I just help you, please?"

"No! I hate you, Mama!"

"Ouch," doesn't begin to describe the pang of anguish that tore through me. I thought I had tough-mama skin by now, but tears sprung to my eyes and a sob escaped before I could disguise it from my boy. I didn't expect it from him.

He looked at me, shocked, I think, by the power of his words. Then, his own face crumbled and his eyes poured over. "No, Mama! Don't cry!"

We reached for each other and held tight.

"Those words, hurt." I told him. "Those words break a mommy's heart."

"I broke your heart?" He asked, his eyes wide and brimming once more with tears.

"It's not broken," I assured him. "But that really hurt."

We hugged for a moment longer and he finally let me help him get into his pajamas. He dutifully marched to the bathroom to brush his teeth. When he struggled to squeeze out the toothpaste, naturally, I offered to help.

"No! Papa can!"

Damn. You know what? Papa can.


And Papa did.

And my heart mended with a new, thicker layer of mommy-skin. Yet branded by that inevitable, yet unexpected, compilation of words.

Can you imagine such words from that angelic face? I couldn't either.


  1. Ha! My little one says, "I like Daddy. I don't like you Mama I love Daddy..." Say what?!?!?

    He is adorable!!!!!

    1. I think we moms must get that more than dads do. We're the enforcers and they're more like playmates most of the time! Thanks for your visit!

  2. My little man is almost 9 months, and it KILLS me when he prefers to play with Daddy rather than me. I'm not sure my heart will be able to take those four little words once they (eventually) fall out of my big guy's mouth.
    What a cute little mister you have!
    Found you via a little blog hopping. Would love for you to swing by
    and follow back!

    1. Thanks for your input! I'll be sure to swing by after I get through my replies. Just remember that your little guy will go back and forth preferring one to the other depending on his mood! Grow that thick mama-skin! ;)

  3. Awww, my eyes stung reading this; it does break your heart when your adorable, sweet, innocent children say those words. And usually sooo unexpected.
    The last time my daughter spoke these words I replied; "Well, I still love you, and there's nothing you can do to change that" Then went to my bedroom and had a little cry, while my heart was mending with a thick layer of mommy-skin :-)
    What a gorgeous, sweet little face your boy has!

    1. A perfect response. Our mommy-skin grows thicker all the time, doesn't it?! It has to. Thanks for the compliment; I think he's pretty darn cute!

  4. Oh! He's beautiful! I can't imagine how hard it must feel!! You know, though, this may sound crazy but there's something wonderful about a child feeling safe enough around his or her parents to be able to say that and not have the relationship crumble. It is a credit to your parenting.

    1. Thank you, Rachel. As much as it hurts to hear, that's one thing I try to remember - they trust me absolutely; enough to bare the rawest emotions and know that I'll love them no matter what.

  5. That made me so sad! My girls are only 5 and 2 right now and thankfully I haven't heard those words yet...but just the thought of that makes me want to cry! Thanks for sharing your moment...It'll be tucked away for the day that those words come from my babies and I need a little comfort.

    1. You're welcome. Tuck it away and when it inevitably happens, remember they just USE the words; they don't actually mean them.

  6. I still remember that day...10 years ago at Animal Kingdom in Orlando - took all my strength and that of my husband's for me not to strangle him! He's 16 and still alive but barely - lol!!!

  7. Aww those words pierce like a bullet through the heart. At least we can know that they don't mean them but they still hurt. My son is 10...nearly 11 and has said it only once and very quietly. I secretly sobbed in my room (he was only 6 at the time). Being a mom is the biggest blessing but also so hard when they pull away!!

    Thank you so much for participating in our Aloha Friday Blog Hop!! I am following you, of course!! Wishing you and yours a lovely week!!


    Jean {What Jean Likes}

    1. How wonderful that he's only said it once! I hope it stays that way as he enters his tweens!

  8. Keep in mind he is also repeating what he has heard, so if he heard the girls say it he just finally realized he had a context for using it and tried it out...with surprising negative results! So hopefully he won't use it again! My son calls me a bad dog. Remember, if you don't want to hear that again you have to give him another option, like "Mommy you're frustrating me." It worked for me my son says, "Mommy, you're making me angry!" Then he calls me a bad dog.

    1. Hah! A bad dog!!! That is actually hilarious. Yes, he learns all sorts of things from the girls! Fortunately, he's still the most polite of the bunch.


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