I can’t wait for my kids to grow up. Actually, that’s not quite true. I can’t wait for my kids to get a bit older so that I am able to say what’s really on my mind. They’re still a little young for TUM: Totally Unfiltered Mom. TUM is the little voice inside my head representing the other mother, the one who longs to tell it like it is.
TUM is tired of watering her shit down.
How old does a child need to be to know what’s actually going through mom’s mind? When do I get to lose the filter?
Allow me to set the stage.
I have four children: two in fifth grade, one in sixth, and one in seventh, a.k.a. “The Fetid Socks Grade.” But that’s another story.
Each day between five and six p.m., a period of time in my house I like to call, The Bitching Hour, I make dinner. Within the same time frame, I am asked at least four times, though it feels like four hundred, “When will dinner be ready?” This is usually accompanied by my other favorite question, “What’s for dinner?”
You may be wondering, especially if you have a penis, and therefore, rarely cook anything other than the occasional grilled cheese sandwich for a party of one, what exactly is so bothersome about a few simple queries concerning dinner. The truth is, I don’t know. If you figure it out, let me know. For now, I’m chalking it up to one of those unexplained forces in the universe: put a woman in charge of a meal, then watch her head splatter against the walls if she happens to be interrupted one too many times while trying to read a recipe.
(If you really must know, options such as driving a whisk straight up my nose, into my brain and wiggling it around, ala a 1950’s-era lobotomy, have occurred to me during The Bitching Hour. So has homicide. I like wine.)
Back to my original assertion: What I’m thinking, and what actually comes out of my mouth, are not one and the same.
Oh how I’d love to Let. It. Rip.
Sometimes, my husband is a few feet away, winking at me as if to say, “I know what you are thinking, and I love you. Please don’t lose your mind and leave me alone with these beasts.”
The situations involving my fantasy replies and the actual responses I give almost always occur in the kitchen. See if you can tell them apart.
“MOM! How long ‘til dinner?”
This, as ten-year old daughter careens through the kitchen just in time to cross in front of me as I am transferring a cutting board with raw chicken juice on it from the island to the sink. I stop short, but the fowl juice keeps going, splattering on both the floor and my bare toes. Before I’m able to form my answer, another child enters My Space.
“What are we having for dinner?”
Now, I’m in two deep. Ten seconds later, in walks thirteen year old boy.
“What’s for dinner?”
“Wine. Wine’s for dinner, and plenty of it. Now go fill mama’s schooner and then make yourself scarce.”
Okay, so I didn’t actually say that.
What actually came out of my mouth was, “Chicken Picatta, mashed potatoes and grilled zucchini.”
“Cool. Sounds good,” he claims, as he strolls out of the room and into the abyss, otherwise known as Fetid Sock Factory.
There are other times when I long to give flight to, yet pluck the tender wings from, the words of a delicate fowl perched on the tip of my tongue:
“Mom, can you fill my water bottle for me?”
“Mom, can you help me find my sneakers?”
“Sure. But first, can you help me find my fucking wand?”
“Mom, could we please not have peas again tonight?”
“Sure. Could you please never again ask me a question?
“Mom, I love you.”
“I love you more.”
Wait a second. I do say that last one, which always starts a bedtime debate that I end up losing.
Which, I guess, is why I have a filter.