Is Spanking Okay?

Yesterday we had the family over to celebrate Jack’s first birthday. This is not what my post is about, but not mentioning his chubby thighs or the way he annihilated his Publix cupcake is like not succumbing to gravity. Here forward I will persevere, because I am a strong woman and I’m dedicated to making your time with me a little more thought-provoking.

I had a conversation yesterday about spanking. I have ‘spanked’ my kids, if by ‘spanking’ you mean tapping your daughter on the thigh and then apologizing profusely and clutching her through the night like the devil will pluck her away at any moment.

What I do instead is the momiversally understood one man show of ‘good cop, bad cop’. I’ll explain.

I am usually VERY patient. I have a decent tolerance of youthful rascality, and I’m not overly razzled when they make a mess. But SOMETIMES. Sometimes I go bad cop.

I warn my kids well before it happens. I say calmly, ‘Do you want Mommy to go crazy?’, and it works nearly every time.

Because what Crazy Mommy has is a banshee shriek that can conjure the spirits of a hundred mass graves of cruelly tortured incubi.

I throw things and sometimes break them. I do this hit-the-bed thing during which I throw my entire body weight into my forearms and pummel the comforter repeatedly, screaming. I catch between-undulation glimpses of my children in a corner, palms out to fend off a debris twister of linen and demon spittle.

This doesn’t translate well as a moment of clarity and restriction. But the day I don’t tantrum is the day that I sell my children on Ebay.

Because let’s be honest. Sometimes I hate my kids.

Some people hit their kids. I’ve yet to understand what the benefit is. I know it’s not black and white, that there are levels of spanking, so I’m not ready to say that a little spanking isn’t maybe okay. But I suffer a serious deal if I think my kid is sad or hurt. I don’t know how people do it.

This goes both ways. I can’t help but be annoyed by the other kind of mom. I watched a parent say something like this when her daughter put a toy in the wrong indoor playground bin:

‘You need to understand that there are consequences for your actions. Do you see that you have done the wrong thing?’

I don’t think this is bad, of course. It’s effective–I’ve used it myself. But for putting the toy away incorrectly? I’d be saying that line all day. I think my issue was with her in general–she was never really comfortable with the kid. Like, ‘I think we should go in the other room, okay? No? Baby do you want to go in the other room now, sweetie? I think we’re done in here, yes? Mommy wants to leave this room. Ok, apple of my eye, when you’re done with this puzzle. You take your time, second coming of Christ.’

So insincere. What’s wrong with grabbing an arm and a leg and throwing the kid in the other room? Who has the time to compromise on everything?

Anyway, the other mom in my conversation was a spanker. So it was an interesting conversation for me.