Monsters Have Turned Me Into A Terrible ParentBeth Anne Ballance
It’s 6:30 AM on Saturday morning and Harrison crawls into our bed. He dives under the covers while we’re half-asleep and he says, “Let’s hide from the monster!” We pull the covers over our heads to play and he dutch ovens us. We hop out of bed and chase him downstairs.
It’s 8 AM on a weekday and there are curlers in my hair and a cup of coffee in my hand. I’m trying to wrangle Harrison into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt but he’s wiggling and begging me to play monsters. “Harry, it’s time to go to school,” I say. He bursts into tears.
It’s 5:15 PM and we walk through the door and try to hand him a snack, but he says, “Come on, Daddy! We play monsters upstairs!” They play and I start dinner, but 30 minutes later when I’m serving plates, Harrison tugs on my slacks and begs me to play monsters upstairs. “Buddy, we’re about to eat supper,” I explain. He pouts and cries.
Supper is finished and we’re loading the dishwasher and talking about our days. Harrison interrupts us, begging to go play, and we remind him that we’ve already played and it’s time for us to talk and rest for just 5 minutes. He cries. He begs. We end up chasing the invisible monsters.
At 8 PM we head upstairs and I start a bath and Harrison is running around upstairs, half-naked and screaming about monsters. I join in for a moment or five, but then it’s time to sit in the bubbles and even when we pull him out of the tub twenty minutes later, he’s begging to play monsters.
My kid is obsessed with monsters and playing monsters to the point that on his “special moment” reported from school, it read, “Today we made melted snowmen and talked about why they melted. Harrison said, ‘My snowman melted because of the big monster!'”
It’s all he wants to do, play, talk about. Frankly, we are exhausted of monsters and playing monsters and hearing him whine and tug on our legs. We’ve played monsters no less than five times already today and still, a stab of guilt flashes through me when I turn him down. But I just cannot keep playing monsters when there is dinner to fix and laundry to do and believe me, I’ve already played monsters plenty. I asked my mother and she shrugged her shoulders and said that we all went through phases like that, but she said, “No.” That we’d play a few times, but if there were things to be done or she just needed to rest, she firmly turned us down.
Yes, we cried. We whined. She still said, “No,” and we ended up okay.
But I still feel like a crappy parent most nights when I think that I’ll scream if I hear the word “monster” one more time.
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