Vomiting on Mom (It’s Not What You Think)

My husband lovingly calls it “vomiting on Mom.”

My mother used to call it “telling about your day.”

I call it “necessary evil.”

You haven’t lived until you’ve listened to your teenage daughter rattle off every stupid hormone-raging stunt that happened that day at school, every petty little thing someone said, every instance of unfairness, every moment of pure teenage crap, every detail that makes you cringe with flashbacks and thank whatever deity you believe in that you aren’t back in that hell anymore.

Oh, wait. You ARE. Living it vicariously through your children.

And if you have any more children (like my tween daughter), then you may get to go through the whole process again.

Some days, I get tag-teamed.

Oh, joy.

You have to understand. I’m basically an introvert in a house of extroverts. There are days I honestly can’t process everything that’s flying at me.

I feel like the Tardis getting knocked around in the beginning credits of Dr. Who, lightening bolts and all.

I’m also a fixer. I like to figure out problems and fix ’em. I grew up in the Brady Bunch era. While I know life can never be all wrapped up and happy at the end, I didn’t realize how ingrained in me that idea was. For a long time, I beat my head against the wall trying to fix my kids’ problems until I realized it was an impossibility.

It’s good for kids to learn how to deal with these things on their own, using their own skills. My husband and I don’t exactly leave them hanging. We have conversations. We may give advice, but we don’t aim to be problem-solvers. And on rare occasions (twice in the last four years) when we feel the need is great and the circumstances warrant it, we step in and have a talk with school administrators.

My point is (yes, there is one) that listening to my daughters spew all their frustrations on me day after day, with increasingly more complex situations, used to be overwhelming. However, when my goal changed, so did my attitude.

Instead of attempting to solve my daughters’ problems, I could be a fixed point in time for them. I could listen, commiserate, give hugs, and tell them that no matter how awful life is, I love them. Besides, sometimes, all they need to do is talk.

Don’t get me wrong. We aren’t all happily-ever-after. Far from it. But the arguments and ill-feelings between us have lessened and the girls are learning to deal with what life throws at them.

Home is no longer just another battlefield.

Yes, getting vomited on is a necessary evil. But, seen from a different point of view, its not so bad after all.


4 comments on “Vomiting on Mom (It’s Not What You Think)

  1. Angela/Curiocat says:

    It’s called kvetching. People who do this just need someone to listen, not necessarily do anything. A lot of people do it, I love to. The problem comes in when the person we’re kvetching to feels the need to ‘fix’ whatever we’re kvetching about. Don’t do it. If we need help, we’ll let you know.

    I didn’t used to understand that and would stress over whatever the issue was trying to offer solutions and help. It’s hard not to sometimes. The trick is recognizing when all you can do is offer a shoulder, an ear, or a hug and let the person kvetching figure it out. Sometimes kvetching assists with that so you did help after all. 🙂


    • E.K. Carmel says:

      Exactly! I really have to pay attention, so I don’t slip into my “fix it” mode. Kvetching, huh? I always though that just meant gossiping. Well, I learned something new. Thanks, Angela!


  2. Kvetching is not in my dictionary! 🙂

    However, the need to vent is a female trait. Mostly, men hearing a woman vent will suggest ways to solve the problem to stop the woman venting. Most women may make suggestions to solve the problem but will continue to listen to the one venting.

    I learnt this in the workforce, because I have the male trait to solve the problem, which worked well in solving information technology problems, but does not help me retain female acquaintances. 🙂


    • E.K. Carmel says:

      I first heard of kvetching as a Jewish term, but it seems to have a wider American usage.

      The male/female use of venting is interesting. My step-father is a good one for venting, but in his case, I think it’s more a cultural thing – he’s Italian. My husband doesn’t really vent, except on rare occasions, but he’ll just listen when I do until it’s all out of my system and then will make suggestions.

      Oh, yes, the workforce (particularly offices), where differences in personality are hugely magnified. I think it’s helpful to know yourself, your strengths and limits, and to understand how people respond. In that respect, you are ahead of a lot of people. Recently, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this subject, because we’ve had discussions with our teenager about what it’s like out in the “real world.”


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