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Mom Volatility Index

June 25, 2012

I was recently described as volatile by a relative stranger.

While my husband was not thrilled with the bats-I-crazy-mental-hospital-fugitive tone of the email, he couldn’t disagree with the fact that his wife errs on the mouthy and impulsive side.

I was a bit indignant about this until I found myself shouting at some frat boys who, in an uncharacteristic University of Chicago (where fun comes to die) fashion, decided to spew profanities and pelt each other with a bag of Harold’s Chicken (and fries), leaving the remnants of their shenanigans on the sidewalk in front of my house.

So, okay, I have a temper. I’ll own it. I am not insane. I am not dangerous. I will not wind up the bunkmate of Shoot-up Sheila in Cell Block F.

But if you piss me off, I’m going to say something.

And I think all parents, especially moms, would agree. We want things right for our families. And we’re TIRED. What mom can hold it together in the face of bad behavior after a day of not even sitting down to pee, repeatedly asking children to eat/brush their teeth/get dressed/go to bed/leave the park, putting a girl child’s hair in pigtails while running down the hall, and holding down a job?

If you’re wondering about your coping tactics, or need to have a laugh, take my little quiz, and find your place on the M.V.I., or Mommy Volatility Index.

Your driving most closely resembles ____________
a. Cruella De Vil.
b. Mr. Halsey, a.k.a Mr. Ten&Two, your Driver’s Ed instructor in high school.
c. Mr. Magoo.

When someone sends you a rude email and ends it with case closed, you________
a. Immediately call her up with the intent of giving a certain orifice a second location.
b. Write an angry message in return which you delete, then go exorcise your demons with a yoga/meditation video.
c. Wonder what she meant. Who said anything about a suitcase?

When a bitchy mompetitor makes a barbed statement about one of your parenting choices, you__________
a. Kick her balykies before pointing out that her child is on track to be the Son of Sam
b. Firmly, yet kindly, remind her that each parent makes the choices that are right for her child and family at the time.
c. Seek out her advice because, after all, she just wants to help and probably knows more than you do.

Your discipline icon is ___________
a. Joan Crawford.
b. Supernanny.
c. Dina Lohan.

A boy, whose guardian is nowhere to be found, is mean to your kid at the playground. A witness would likely find you____________________
a. Whispering to him that you’ll sell him into child slavery so fast his head’ll spin if he so much looks at your kid again.
b. Mediating a discussion between aggressor and victim.
c. Lying on the ground, with the baby bully holding your diaper bag victoriously in the air while standing on your back.

After pouring over kiddie cookbooks for a suitable recipe, shopping for and preparing the meal, your two year-old takes one bite, says, “I no like it,” and sends her dish sailing across the table. You _______
a. Hurl your own dish and glass at the wall before taking a large swig from your hip flask of Wild Turkey.
b. Take a deep breath and ignore her for several moments, then tell her what she did wrong before giving a time out.
c. Crawl under the table and begin wailing so loud the neighbors call for a patrol car.

You visit an establishment and have a less than stellar experience. Back at home you ___________
a. Immediately go to Yelp and bang out a review that will sting the great grandchildren of the owner of that place.
b. Call the manager to discuss your concerns.
c. Assume that they wouldn’t do this to you if you didn’t have the fashion sense and hygiene of the thirteenth-century peasant.

You are rushing around the house like a maniac to get the kids ready to leave/eat/go to bed. You find your husband nonchalantly perusing the Internet. For the sake of ‘keepin’ it real,’ you __________
a. Give him a beat down worthy of Mel Gibson.
b. Calmly issue a request or two to get things back on track.
c. Plop down on the floor and massage his feet.

Mostly As: Mount Vesuvius
Damn, lady! No one knows when you are going to erupt. Everything, from spilled milk to the slow-as-a-tortoise barista, sets you off. You is one scary lady. So scary, I’ve forgotten basic conjugation. Seriously, you need a yoga class, some Valium, an anger management session, or maybe just a hug. I’d give you one, but you might pummel me.

Mostly Bs: The Age of Reason
Wow! You make the Dalai Lama look like Larry David. You are amazingly in control of your emotions, which you acknowledge and then deal with appropriately. What is your secret, Mama? Write a book and make some cash!

Mostly Cs: Out to Lunch Without a Sandwich
Bless your little heart, honey! I’d tell you to go buy some confidence, but you might believe me. Trust your instincts. Read a decent book once in a while. Stand up for yourself. Just don’t become the mama who picks all letter As.

So, where do you fall on the Mom Volatility Index?

Keesha Beckford is a former professional dancer who is currently teaching master dance in the Chicago area. She blogs to keep her creative juices flowing, and to explore the question “How does she do it?” for herself and other moms in the arts. Read more at Mom’s New Stage

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