As I get ready for another week of substitute teaching, I think over the events of the past week, keenly aware of the “self-censoring” button that (judging from where my headaches originate) mothers have installed somewhere between the eyes.
Every time a child says something that makes me bite my tongue until it bleeds, to prevent me from retorting in kind, the little button zaps me right between the eyes … I think of it as the “Monster Mommy Mute Button.” This invisible, but highly useful, device saves us moms from saying hundreds of things that we’d REALLY like to say sometimes, but know in our heart of hearts that it would do more harm than good.
You know what I mean …
For example, one day last week after listening to my little cherubs bicker all the way home from school, I stopped the car at the bottom of the drive and opened the sliding doors on both sides. “Okay, out.”
“OOOWHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYY?” (Three syllables.)
What mother thought, “Because I’ve been dealing with ornery brats all day, and if I have to referee one more scuffle I’m going to go STARK RAVING MAD!!! If I don’t get thirty seconds of peace and quiet, and fast, you are going to spend the rest of the week in your bedrooms.”
What comes out Self-Censor, “Because there are popsicles waiting in the freezer for little children who get a little exercise and run up the driveway.” (Said children break all speed barriers getting out of the car.)
It works in classrooms, too.
“Jadaquisha, I’ve told the class twice to put away all electronic gadgets, including cell phones. Twice. Please end your conversation, and put your cell phone on the teacher’s class until the end of class.”
Eyes roll makes me wonder if there’s a little pin between her ears. “That *stinks.* Do I HAVE to?”
What teacher thinks: “I don’t get paid enough for this aggravation, you spoiled little twit. You’ve been carrying on with your neighbor and now your boyfriend, even though the bell rang ten minutes ago. If you don’t make that phone disappear, and quickly, I’m going to take the class to the top floor, throw it over the edge, and have everyone calculate the velocity as we watch it disintegrate into a pile of metallic toothpicks.”
What Self-Censor comes up with: “Yes. Now, can anyone tell me how you calculate velocity?”
Now, to be fair the thoughts that flit through my head aren’t always quite so … worthy of censoring. Most of the time, my interior monologue is such that I don’t need a zipper and two rolls of duct tape to keep me from embarrassing myself. But some days … of some weeks … “Monster Mom” comes to call, and all bets are off.
On those days, thank God for the button.