Sunday 1 April 2012

The mamamonster

When there is too much screaming around me I can no longer think clearly. The pressure in my head builds up, higher and higher, until it bursts. I lose all patience, if I ever had any, and the screaming needs to get out. Out of my own mouth. The mamamonster has been freed.

There is a lot of screaming in our house. The vicious cycle twists round and down, they scream, I scream back, they scream louder and then me too. I barely dare go outside, in the garden. What will the neighbours think? Is it good that they can’t understand my Dutch, and can’t hear how I bawl at every kid’s nagging? Or is it a shame they can’t hear how they moan my life into a living hell, and understand my wrath is well deserved. I know I am the eldest. I know I should be the wisest. I know they are four, two and one years old. But the mamamonster is not sensible. She knows patience nor common sense. She let’s herself be dragged into pools of hormonal fury. The mamamonster talks in low-pitched, separate, demanding words. Stop. Now. Or…. then a silence follows, in which she thinks of terrible things. Or I will hurt you, thinks the mamamonster. I will wring you out till there is no scream left in you, I will kick you flying over the hedge, I will box your ears till they pound more than mine. But she will reach into the depths of her soul and drag out the last ounce of self-control she can muster from the deepest of her monster belly and growls: Or… Go. To. Your. Room. Now! The last word is spoken with her deepest, darkest voice, and all the terrible things shine through her piercing eyes. The frightened children start crying, which works like oil on the monster’s fire and makes her grab arms and legs and she drags the screaming inside, into the study and closes the door.

Surrounded by silence the mamamonster retreats, and when the children reappear, with crocodile’s tears on their cheeks, her last remains are cuddled away, send back to her dark cave deep inside.

But the next time there is arguing, over the colour of the cereal bowl, over who gets the spotted spoon, over the food that is not their favourite, when there is fighting, pushing, hear-pulling, and screaming, the mamamonster will rear it’s ugly head again. At the next tooth that breaks and sets off days of crying. When they throw food, moan, whinge, yell and squeal. When they are bored, when they whine, three times, mama, mahma, mahama. When the shoes are still not on after I asked ten times. When they cry, cry, cry and cry. When they scream. When the sound exceeds by far the allowed maximum of decibels at any other workplace the mamamonster will soar and roar. The mamamonster is mean. Little children beware. She is on her way.


  1. oh Karien, this is exactly what I think and feel at those times of massive child-related stress. My kids are a bit older (6 and 3) and the mamamonster is no longer provoked as often as she was when they were smaller, but although her appearances may be less frequent these days they are still pretty spectacular. This was such a great post.

    Oh, and thank you for being honest enough to say that you have *those* dark thoughts at the high-point of your stress. You are not alone in those thoughts. Not at all.

  2. You are welcome. I find it quite hard, as I am ashamed of myself at these moments. Well, not at those moments, but after... And off course it is no excuse to keep on doing it, but it does help to know one is not alone. It actually makes it better, as it takes some of the stress away.. And, on my dutch site, which has many more visitors than this one, I had many reactions of mama's feeling the same!

  3. Thank you for putting into words how horrible it can be, at times...
    I know exactly how you feel!