I Am Ninjmama

In our home now lives a mysterious, cunning, and effective creature.

This seemingly highly trained and stealthy being has taken control of the mass chaos within our home. The children treat her with cautionary reverence. Their respect for her ways is even greater than their fear of the dreaded Psycho Mommy.

Oh yes, my friends. It’s true.

You see… this summer, as the fresh freedom of a schedule-less life lost it’s novelty, the days wore on and began to blend into one another much like the endless blur of heat waves we were experiencing. I found Psycho Mommy visiting our home more and more.

Incessant arguing between sisters grated on nerves. Ear splitting screeches, invoked for all manner of reasons, threatened to break glass and crushed resolve. Potty training both child and puppy challenged gag reflexes and chemical cleaner odor-ban claims…

By the end of the summer, most days I was spending 24-hours a day with my three kids, who were spending 24-hours a day with each other. No buffers. No breaks. This scenario incubated, nurtured, and grew the perfect storm that is…

(*DUN-DUN-DUUUUUUUUUUUN*) Psycho Mommy.

When Mom reached her limit, Mom disappeared. She was replaced with the horrific, veins popping, death-march stomping, spittle flying, dreaded Psycho Mommy.

Psycho Mommy is ferocious. She puts to shame any child’s scream efforts because her demonic throat scratching bellow literally scares away all other sound vibrations. Small bodies cower in corners or under bedsheets when her booming footfalls threaten emanate arrival. Tears spontaneously spring from eyeballs—it cannot be helped, for the scathing image she creates burns retinas. She thunders. She storms. She rages like a hell-beast. She is feared, no doubt. The message she sends cannot be ignored, “You have crossed into the danger-zone. No one is safe. You have awoken the dragon. Prepare for punishment!”

Here is the thing about Psycho Mommy…

Her arrival makes Mom feel better for about 0.01 seconds. Then Mom feels terrible, horrible, no good, and far-more miserable than she was previously irritated…at the…*ahem* normal kids, who argue with their siblings, make epic messes, and do life at an annoyingly loud rate of volume.

More importantly, the system of recruiting Psycho Mommy to deal with problems does not work effectively.

It was like ground hog’s day around here. Bill Murray was on premises somewhere, I’m sure. I mean, Psycho Mommy was making appearances most days. And perhaps her message was heard (Of course it was, you can’t ignore her. She is really friggin loud.), but if the behaviors that were creating problems weren’t changing…maybe it was the wrong message.

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Then…one day…she came.

Like a phoenix from the ashes of exhausted, worn-out, I can’t do this one more day, Mommy-dom. She quietly arrived…without raised voice, without thundering steps, without fire-breathing words.

She kept to the shadows. Her covert methods of waging war contrasted the usual raging-beast the children had come to expect. There was no room to dispute her, for she had seen all, heard all—she was nowhere and everywhere.

She pointed. One single finger—her sword in the air, while she quietly whispered, “To your rooms. When both rooms are clean, move on to the bathroom. When the bathroom is clean, move on to the toy room. When the toy room is clean, check the remainder of the house for any of your other belongings. Put them away, or I will remove them. Forever. When you complete those tasks, you may come and speak to me. Perhaps, if your work is sufficient, I will allow you some freedoms.” She took a deep cleansing breath. “Know this, my children, your inability to respect one another, your things, and our home is unacceptable. You are going to change. Starting now.” She turned to leave the room.

A small voice from the oldest child challenged this new creature. “What in the world? Who are you?”

She stopped. Dropping her chin, showing only half of her steely neutral face, she said, “I am Ninjmama.”

And so it was—she arrived.

In the weeks since, she has been tested. There was resistance to her methodical calm, her brutally emotionless and unwavering will. But she is patient in her punishments, consistent in her standards, and terrifyingly unmoved by manipulation or tantrums. The key difference? The crux of her success? She has no guilt.

This creature has changed the culture in our home. The children are becoming more responsible for their own belongings and behavior. Ninjmama has even executed laundry instruction, effectively lightening Mom’s daily burden and teaching the children important life-skills. Occasionally, a child is seen imitating Ninjmama mannerisms—calmly responding to irritation with monotone recitation of common consequences. Mom has since witnessed a child waiting with painstaking patience for another family member’s rage to pass before objectively suggesting a compromise.

The children fear Psycho Mommy. But…they respect Ninjmama.

Children model the behaviors they see. You don’t need a psych degree, nor even be a parent to know that particular universal truth. Geez! I say and do things now and think, I am my mother. (Psycho Mommy not necessarily included)

When I think of how I want my children to react in times of stress, annoyance, or frustration…if given the option to have them exemplify Psycho Mommy or Ninjmama? Well, let’s be honest. That is a rhetorical question, isn’t it?

So friends, I tell you here, I tell you now…I embrace this new creature. I tell you…

I am Ninjmama!