Every once in a while, a mom kills her kids.
Back in Spring 2011, Julie Powers Schenecker, a fifty year-old Tampa mom, shot and killed her two teenage children because they were “mouthy” and talked back. Most moms are familiar with the frustration brought on by disrespectful children. But killing kids before they get to that wonderful age where they realize you were right about everything, and they were wrong, is not only a crime, it’s insane.
Whether moms like Schenecker snap due to illness, isolation, or stress – we don’t know. Many of us attempt to make sense of these senseless crimes in order to feel better. We hope that reasoning will reassure us that we’re different, sane, less likely to lose it altogether.
Personally, I’m not worried about snapping. If I made it through the days when my babies shit all over the rug the same week my steam cleaner broke, I can make it through anything.
But if you feel yourself ready to commit a felony because your son says something rude, don’t reach for a firearm. Try these ideas instead.
1. Learn how to cook.
I don’t want to play up the stereotype of a Jewish mom, but there is something important about a home-cooked meal. Favorite dinners and delicious desserts can be used as leverage when hormones and homework turn your little miracle into The Situation. I’ve only recently learned that the oven has a purpose beyond storing booze, but cannot deny that most troubled families are sorely lacking in quality time at the table. Be proactive. Buy a cookbook and play along before you wind up in a psych ward. Besides, “have another bite of my lasagna” is a great response when Junior annoys the shit out of you. Remember – “Get out of my fucking way” is rude.
2. Don’t let them see you sweat.
Your kids aren’t always trying to get a rise out of you; sometimes they want to be understood. Listen, maybe they have a point. Tell your son if he can explain why he should be allowed to wear eyeshadow, you will consider it. The ability to argue effectively might get him into law school, despite cross-dressing, so it’s a win for everyone.
3. Turn off the television.
Cable boxes work against peaceful households. Kids learn enough biting insults and curse words at school. Your home should be a haven away from disgraceful athletes, pregnant teenagers, or bratty sitcom stars. Encourage your kids to read with you each night. If you’re snuggling, you’re less likely to smack them.
4. Take away privileges.
That’s right. Until they learn to address you with the respect you deserve, they don’t get to talk on their cell phones, listen to music, or drive cars. And don’t forget to model the behavior you seek in others. If you’ve been calling them assholes for years, do not be surprised when they turn on you.
5. Get laid.
Seriously, mama, an orgasm a day keeps those demons at bay.
6. Think old school.
No, I’m not talking about a beating. I’m suggesting you return to time-outs or wash their mouths out with soap. If Angel wants to act like an insolent child, perhaps you should treat her like one.
7. Call your doctor.
You may be either overmedicated, or in serious need of a prescription. Maybe you should vent to someone who won’t remind you that your moody, mouthy kids come by it honestly.
8. Turn to friends
Rant and rave. Find a support group for frustrated moms – every suburb in America has them. Come on, the internet isn’t just a place to find well-hung strangers. Forums exist with plenty of like-minded women willing to take your side. If men who fantasize about feet can find some friends, you can, too.
9. Reach out to family.
We’re too isolated these days. Families are fragmented and many moms going it alone without a support system are accidents waiting to happen. Your own relatives might be worried about you and would appreciate the ability to help before a camera crew shows up at their door.
In the end, remember this: kids are never to blame for being kids. Get the help you all deserve.