"whining is to moms as kryptonite is to Superman"

Seriously, were truer words ever spoken? I wish I could take credit for them, but this sum-up analogy for our lives is from the keyboard of Catherine, aka Her Bad Mother. HBM’s latest post is entitled Rage, Rage Against the Whining of the Child, and sister, tell it:

…five minutes of my four year old whining about unwarm toast and missing socks and I’m pressing my fingernails into the beds of my palms and sucking in my cheeks and willing myself to just not yell oh god don’t be the mom who yells DO NOT YELL DO NOT YELL –
EMILIA ELIZABETH ANN YOU WILL EAT YOUR TOAST YOU WILL SIT THERE WHILE YOU EAT IT I WILL GET YOUR SOCKS AFTER BREAKFAST STOP ASKING FOR YOUR FATHER *NOW*.

Self-loathing, inevitably, follows. Well, Catherine, if it makes you feel any better,  I still yell at at least my one of my kids just about every morning. Why are they so gosh darned CRANKY in the mornings? Because they’re tired, I suppose, although that begs the question of why they feel so pressed to arise at 6:05 a.m. There aren’t even any good kids’ shows ON at 6:05. Maggie was in my bed by 6:07 this morning- 23 minutes until Barney- and I tried to get her to snuggle with me for a while but no, she needed both me and Daddy up for the day. So she could start whining at us. 


Yesterday morning she got such a head of steam going because I would not “hold her” and port her 28 pounds about during the morning rush of getting four of us out the door that I stuck her in her crib, told her “you have to stay in here until you’re done screaming,” and walked away. For the next ten minutes, I could hear her raging from the kitchen:


“I’M NOT WHINING ANYMORE! I’M NOT WHINING ANY! MORE!!”


…which made her brothers giggle because, um, yes she was. But as soon as she calmed down and I got her out of her crib,  I had to take Seamus to his room. He fell apart because Connor touched his raisin toast.


I think this is at least better than yelling. I don’t know, maybe there’s some parenting expert out there who would say it’s evil to let a child tantrum alone, but it’s got to be better than warping them for life when they see my eyes bug out. 


Catherine (Her Bad Mother) feels very badly about what she calls being “unreasonably angry” with her kids for their whining. (We can debate whether it’s so “unreasonable,” but she has a point.) But she asks, and I ask you: We’re not the only ones who get “driven batshit” by the whining, are we? Do your kids whine till you think you’ll lose your mind? How do you handle it? 

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Her Bad Mother June 3, 2010 at 4:49 pm

I agree that it's really NOT unreasonable – whining seems designed by nature to make our heads explode – but it FEELS unreasonable, because it's such a visceral, ugly, unthinking anger – like, just, AAARRRRGGGGH SMASH. And just because one child is moaning about toast. It's like some perverse joke by the gods. 'You will respond with reasonable and measured outrage to sexist bosses and stupid presidents and bad customer service, but your four year old bitching about her socks will CAUSE YOU TO HAVE A COMPLETE AND TOTAL MELTDOWN!'

Huzzah.

(Thanks for the commiseration)

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miss katie June 3, 2010 at 6:44 pm

as a nanny i get subjected to whining far less but the whines are far more unreasonable when they do happen. "but i wannnnnnnnnnnnnnt to get the pretty sweater in a size women's extra large whyyyyyyyyyyyy???" most moms are smarter than to take a 6 year old shopping.

i just tell them to shut it, and don't acknowledge their requests until they quit. again – i'm not subjected on a daily basis and therefore my patience levels are far higher and i engage in arguments about it more often but… it has worked so far!

worse than whining though? "why? why not? why? why? why?" MAKES ME WANT TO SCREAM.

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susie Taylor June 4, 2010 at 11:14 am

My four year old is known as the happiest kid on the block by those who don't wake up with hi,. IN the morning he is a little Stalin with demanding barks and stomping. My husband and I are over the whining and since my son is also a performer we never know if he is being real or not. So….we have decided to take a deep breath and tickle him..this gets him off course and gives us a few happy moments till act 2 begins…"there is not enough butter on my toast."

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Amy Wilson June 8, 2010 at 6:06 pm

HBM, you are right there- my anger is sometimes not really in proper relation to the child's transgression. I sometimes try to ignore it, thinking that I can choose to control my response to the whining, if not the whining itself. I can keep this up for a good ten or twenty minutes. Unfortunately, the notion that kids will stop whining if you ignore them appears to be a mistaken one. Mine just whine louder. Until I snap. Reset. Sigh.

Miss Katie, how nice to see you!!

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NoHo Mom June 8, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Hah. It's not even whining. It's the RELENTLESSNESS.

Mom.

Mom.

Moomeee.

Mom.

Mom.

Mom.

Mom.

WHAT?!!!!

What you doing?

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JEZ June 9, 2010 at 5:49 am

I just wrote about this same subject today. Must be in the atmosphere! I want to know why Dads don't experience whining like Mom's do? Do we reward it without realizing it? I've been told I even whine back. My daughter: "I wanna brush teef peeees" Me: "No honey, you already brushed your teeth". Her: "I wanna brush teeeeeef!" Me: "Nooooo, you already diiiiiiid". HAHA. I know it sounds bad that I don't let her brush again but really she just wants to eat her toothpaste. "Mmmmm. Dis nummy!"

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Karen July 25, 2010 at 5:29 am

You are SO *NOT* the only ones! I am sad to admit that I am a total yeller. All the time. Everyday. I've tried SO many things to get myself to stop, but none have made a permanent change thus far. And the worst part about it (after the self-loathing) is that I've made my son — who is only 8 years old! — a yeller too. I hope it's not too late to help him change. But the only way that can happen, is if I do it first. I LOVE your Prayer of St Francis trick. I definitely plan to give that one a try!

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