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My son is a challenge, to say the least. He is an extremely headstrong 9 year old who has ADHD and quite possibly Oppositional Defiant Disorder...with me, anyway.

Last night was another knock-down drag-out fight for seemingly no reason at all. He was jumping on the bed and I needed him to stop. (Why, you ask? Jumping on a bed is perfectly normal, right! Well,not when it's your sister's near 100-year old antique family heirloom bed.) As soon as we moved the bed into her room, the rule was made very clear to both children. This is not a bed you can jump on. This is not a bed you can put stickers on. This is a bed you must take care of.

But rules are not for my son, and enforcing them has become such a ridiculous battle that my husband and I have essentially given up completely, which leads to these clashes. He doesn't expect us to really follow through to the bitter end (and it is always bitter), and we only follow through when it's mission critical and everyone is screaming and yelling.

It's a terrible way to live. Last night I was fantasizing about really giving up. I suddenly understood why moms have packed up in the middle of the night, gotten in the mini van, chosen a direction at random and just kept driving. Last night was such a parenting disaster and such a humiliating, ridiculous series of events that I wondered about the wisdom of having children at all. How, exactly, has this enhanced my life? My marriage?

No words a good mother should utter, surely.

So now it's morning and said son and I have not seen each other yet. It's a big day -- we have family visiting and are headed to the big science museum. Of course, last night I pulled out the big guns and told him he wasn't going to be able to go unless he started behaving, and he didn't. He's been told he can "earn it back," which really means my asking so little of him that he isn't set up for failure.

In all likelihood, we will have a great time at the museum. He will be well-medicated and interested in all the cool things to do and see.

But the temptation for me to stay home and let my parents and my uncle take the kids without me is overwhelming. I need a day off from being Mom.

Maybe a day off will be enough, and I'll point the minivan back home at the end of the day...

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