Unnecessary Roughness

Standard

“If you’re gonna play rough, you gotta be tough!”

This is my new mantra. I say it every time a wrestling match, light saber duel, or trampoline jump fest turns to tears.

Of course, I don’t allow free-for-all violence and then just wave away the ensuing injuries with a mere slogan. I have a strict no shoes, no sticks, no utensils policy on the trampoline. No dueling anyone unarmed. Both parties have to give expressed verbal consent in order to wrestle. No surprise attacks.

And no scratching. Period.

Any violation of the aforementioned will result in the wrath of mom.

But even with all of these stipulations, rules and provisos, someone still ends up rending the skies with their howls of physical pain and emotional betrayal every afternoon.

“He did that on purpose!! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!”

“Hey, you were the one who thought it would be fun to get on an enclosed trampoline with 4 other kids and 5 basketballs and play your own unique version of dodge ball. Balls are gonna fly. You will get hit. There’s no way around that one.” Then I plug my new maxim. I just can’t help myself. I’m like a broken record.

“If you’re gonna play rough, you gotta be tough!”

Before you get the wrong idea here, I’m not some ruthless mother trying to raise gladiators. I don’t make them play rough. I don’t even encourage it. My idea of an ideal afternoon consists of story time on the couch, Fisher Price Little People and baking cookies. It’s not like I’m taping them up after school and locking ’em out in the backyard to reenact The Hunger Games. The only punching I ever encourage is punching down the bread dough after it rises.

But if they’re inviting the danger, stepping into the fire out of their own free will and choice and then want to cry about it? Well, that’s when my sympathy gets a bit pithy. It’s time to toughen up. With three rough & tumble boys and one girl with a healthy shot of grit, I’m good for a Band-Aid, a hug, and my new motto. After that, I’m sorry, but I’ve got dinner on the stove and bread rising on the counter.

“Hey, chin up honey. Say, why don’t you wash up and punch this dough down for me?”

Homemade bread can be both delicious and therapeutic. Every time.

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