You know all the Saturday Night Live families? There’s “Sarcastic Clapping Family of Southampton,” “Dysfunctional Family Dinner” with Sarah Michelle Geller, the family who hires Matt Foley for some motivational speaking, and “Kissing Family”:
Wow, your parents are really–
Affectionate, yeah, I know.
If we were an SNL family, we’d definitely be “Overdramatic Family.” We are big and loud and display All the Emotions and nothing is ever, ever subtle. Can you relate? If you’re like this, you’ve tried to react to information in a nonchalant way. It’s impossible, and when you attempt it, you feel like you’ve used a tube of Preparation H for Chapstick and everyone wonders if that life-size cockroach from Men in Black is wearing you as a skin suit.
You are totally normal and relaxed.
You will not freak out on anyone. Everything is fine.
If my kids do something awesome, I clap and woot and break out the jazz hands, and if they do something not awesome, I’m explaining why it’s not awesome in the most animated way possible. And we are constantly freaking out on each other. Constantly. All over each other. We’re like a bag of cats.
I read parenting blog posts about things like “37 Things You Should Never Say to Your Daughter or You’ll Destroy Her Future” and “How to Never Ever Ever Yell Again” and “Why Yelling Is Like Swallowing Your Child’s Soul.” These things may work great for many, many people, normal people, but I usually think “I’ve already said 36 of those things before breakfast,” and “Yelling is the only way to get my kids’ attention,” and “I don’t know how to whisper.” Solidarity, loud moms.
We are overdramatic around here. We have several different types of yells, most of which aren’t because we’re losing our crap on each other.
There’s the Too Lazy to Walk Upstairs Yell:
Me: Go tell your brother it’s time for dinner.
Ana: ELLIOTT IT’S TIME FOR DINNER!!!
Me: WALK UPSTAIRS AND TELL HIM. I COULD’VE DONE THAT!
There’s the Needing to Be Heard Above the Dull Roar:
Elliott: And then on Minecraft Minecrafty Minecraft stuff about Minecraft–
Evie: Elliott Elliott Ana Ana Ana Ana pay attention to me hey guys hey guys guys guys WAHHHHH Ana Ana Ana Hey Hey Hey Elliott Hey–
Ana: “Your biscuits just got BURRRRNNNED.” BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA–
Me: PLEASE HANG YOUR BACKPACKS AND COATS UP ON THE HOOKS BEFORE I TRIP ON THEM AND BREAK BOTH ARMS AND CAN’T COOK DINNER FOR YOU OR HUG YOU EVER AGAIN!!!!
And there’s the I’m Losing My Crap on You:
Me: SERIOUSLY WITH SPILLING LEMONADE ALL OVER THE KITCHEN FLOOR AND NOT CLEANING IT UP OR ASKING FOR HELP?!?!?
Ana: Not me.
Evie: Not me.
Elliott: Not me.
Me: ONE OF YOU IS LYING AND I DON’T EVEN CARE WHO THERE WILL BE NO MORE LEMONADE UNTIL YOU LEARN PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY NOW GO OUTSIDE. OUTSIDE I SAY. I SAY GOODBYE.
My best one is probably I’m Losing My Crap on You but Catch Myself Mid-Way and Apologize:
Me: What do you mean you lost all your pants? Where could you have possibly taken them off?!? Are you stripping around the neighborhood? Stop blinking at me and go find them.
Child: Wherrrrre?!? I don’t know wherrrrre to loooook!!!
Me: AGGGHHH!! LOOK IN YOUR CLOSET, LOOK IN THE BATHROOM, LOOK IN YOUR LAUNDRY BIN, UNDER THE BED AND I REALIZE I’M YELLING AND I’M SORRY AND I’M GONNA STOP NOW AND I LOVE YOU A LOT. Pants. Now.
Alex’s go-to parenting technique is hyperbole. Like so:
Alex: IF YOU DON’T BRING YOUR BIKES IN AND PUT THEM IN THE GARAGE I WILL TAKE THEM AWAY AND YOU’LL NEVER RIDE A BIKE AGAIN FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!!!
See how awesome we are? Don’t worry, world, I’ll never write a parenting book.
You put your whole self in. You put your whole self out.
You put your whole self in. And you shake it all about.
I would need an entire personality transplant to become like the parents in the blog posts I read. Whether I’m freaking out on my kids or gushing over their accomplishments, it’s all BIG. And then I read posts like “If You Encourage Your Kids Too Much They’ll Have a Warped View of Themselves and Never Be Able to Integrate Into the World.” But, but, all kids should have a mom who breaks out her Superstar Mary Katherine Gallagher routine when they pass a social studies quiz.
It’s not just Alex and me. Overdramatic parents make overdramatic kids.
Ana: I CAN’T FOLD LAUNDRY. I CAN’T I CAN’T I CAN’T. IT’S TOO HARD. IT’S KILLING ME.
Elliott: WHERE’S MY PENCIL?!?? IT WAS RIGHT HERE AND IT’S GONE AND SOMEONE STOLE IT!!! WHO TOOK IT? ANA YOU TOOK MY PENCIL oh here it is under my paper.
Evie: NOBODY IS LISTENING TO ME HEY GUYS HEY HEY I NEED TO TELL YOU SOMETHING WHY DOES NO ONE EVER LISTEN TO ME WAAAAHHHHHH?!?
Ana: THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE WOODS WITH RED EYES STARING AT US WE HAVE TO CLOSE ALL THE CURTAINS AND I’M GOING TO NEED TO SLEEP ON TOP OF YOU UNTIL I’M EIGHTEEN.
Elliott: I LOST MY MINECRAFT GAME. I FORGOT TO SAVE IT AND IT’S GONE IT’S GONE IT’S GONE FOREVER I AM UNDONE EVERYTHING IS BAD.
Evie: I. DON’T. WANT. TO. HAVE. A. QUIET. TIME. NOOOOOOO!!!
Yes. We should keep calm like all the memes tell us to. We so should try that.
You know the only time I don’t overreact? When something is actually really serious. If something life-threatening or super-important occurs, I turn into Wash from Firefly when he’s flying. “I’m a leaf on the wind.” If I’m calm, you know something big is going down. But otherwise, expect So Many Words and Talking With Our Hands.
Give it up for overdramatic families. Where there are big reactions, there is big love, or at least that’s what we’ll tell ourselves.