The “I Just Wanna’s”

I fall into this same trap all the time. The kids are deep in play in the front yard – Addie scooping dirt in her pink gardening gloves, Owen intently spraying the fence with water. We’re just back from a neighborhood bike/scooter/stroll to return books to the Little Free Library. Everyone is content; their little tanks are full of attention, freedom, and fresh air. The warm sun finally feels like spring. My poor neglected rose bushes catch my eye, and that’s when it happens. I get the I Just Wanna’s.

Everyone is so chill right now; I Just Wanna do a little work on the roses. The second I move with intent I’m on their radars. When Addie asks to help, I give her a bucket to collect leaves. I explain about the sharpness of thorns and clippers. I say the roses are a mom job, but we can chat while I clip.

There’s a battle. I calm her down.

She is consoled by spraying water on the dirt around the plants. Eventually I cut a big white blossom for her to spray and twirl. Owen wants a flower to tear apart, but Addie does NOT want him to do this.

There’s a battle. I intervene. They calm down.

It’s been 20 minutes and I’ve clipped 3 dead buds, from the first of 4 bushes. I Just Wanna finish at least one. Owen has a 2-year-old mood swing and starts tearing leaves off the rose bush. I drop to my knees to calm him down, and he smacks an existing bruise on my shin.

I instinctively yell. It’s an issue. We all calm down.

All is well again until Addie is magnetically pulled toward the hose, which she aims at me. I use my best hostage negotiation techniques. I say “don’t spray” and correct myself to “open your hands and let the hose drop”. I tell her I will help her use it. She weighs risk and reward and sprays me in the face.

I instinctively yell. It’s an issue. We all calm down.

Eventually Kevin finishes mowing the back lawn and herds the kids that way. I finish the roses, pleased to have something done instead of added to a list and bumped lower and lower in priority. The rose bushes appreciate my efforts and reward me with new spring blooms every day now.

The saga of the I Just Wanna’s happens over and over, with only the details changing. In a moment of calm my mental lists scroll in front of me. Chores. Basic needs. Things for the kids. The trouble is, once I Just Wanna get something done, I feel entitled to finish it despite the chaos erupting around me. That one thing represents my lack of control over the minutes in my days. I get an idea, commit to a plan and stubbornly refuse to change course. EXACTLY like a kid who is determined to spray the hose.

roses & kids

Some of my repeat offender I Just Wanna’s:

… take a quick shower

… pee alone

… grab one thing from the store

… put the dishes away

… schedule this doctor appointment

… write that down before I forget

… eat

… make the smoothie myself

… have a moment of quiet

… have a conversation with an adult

… return a text/email/phone call

… toss our stuff in the car

… toss laundry in the washer/dryer/laundry basket/drawers

… set that down right there

… make one more stop

… open this Amazon package

… eat cookies and watch TV after kids’ bedtime

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