Reprinted with permission from Silence is a Scary Sound by Clint Edwards, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019.
When I got married, my mother said she planned to come to my home, turn my ceiling fan on high, and throw toys into it. Or pull all the toilet paper off the roll and drag it down the hallway, laughing. Or wipe boogers on the walls. Or, well, basically all the things I did as a kid. Why? Revenge. She said it jokingly, and I always gave it an epic eye roll. Then I had children of my own, and now, well, I get it.
There’s something about my kids pushing all my buttons that makes me long for revenge once they are adults. Sure, I’ll never do it. But it is fun to imagine all the ways I’d love to get even so they will understand exactly how awesome I was as a parent. Here are a few examples that are not in any particular order (all would be equally satisfying means of revenge):
1. Hide in my daughter’s pantry and crap my pants.
2. Punch my son in the balls while shopping at Target. Then laugh in his face.
3. Leave a leaky sippy cup full of milk under the back seat of their car for an entire summer.
4. Knock on my son’s door moments before he is about to have sex and tell him I want to change my pajamas.
5. Wake them up at 4:00 a.m. and ask for a cheese stick every day until they wake up at 4:00 a.m. on their own for the rest of their lives.
PSA: No parent has it all together—even if it looks that way6. Poop my pants on my son’s nicest piece of furniture.
7. Loudly argue with my son while grocery shopping about whether he can smell my fart.
8. Walk naked into my daughter’s living room while it is full of guests, then get offended when I’m asked to get dressed.
9. Walk in on my son while he’s changing his underwear, point at his crotch, and laugh.
10. Poop in the tub and ask them to fish it out.
11. Urinate on a tree in my son’s backyard while he is hosting a family reunion barbecue.
12. Make it rain granola in their cars.
13. Sprawl out on their new sofa with dog crap on my shoes.
14. Cry until they take me to McDonald’s, then place a booger on my tongue and show it to everyone in line.
15. Come over for an amazing Thanksgiving dinner, look at the food as though it were a hate crime, and scream until someone makes me mac and cheese.
16. Crawl into their bed in the middle of the night, sprawl out, kick them in the kidneys periodically, and give them three to four inches of actual bed space so they wake up feeling like they’ve been in a bar fight.
17. Have my daughter pay for me to stay in the Disneyland Hotel and then cry because the water tastes funny.
18. Scream for someone to come wipe my butt the moment any of them sit down to a hot meal.
19. Pee in my son’s restroom like a baby elephant using his trunk to cool off on a hot day in Africa.
20. Pull down my son’s swimming suit at the community pool, then cry when he gets mad at me for showing the whole town his doodle.
21. Put the wrong password into their phone 800 million times so that it becomes locked for eternity.
22. Ask them to buy me things until they cry.
23. Shove Silly Putty between their car seats.
24. Shove French fries into the air vents of their cars.
25. Pick a fight in the back seat of the car so the driver has to reach back and break it up. Preferably on the freeway.
26. Throw an empty sippy cup at the driver and ask for more milk.
Are twenty-six revenge tactics enough? I mean, I could go on. I have so much more. But this is a good start, I think. And I know, I know. As an adult, these sorts of things would probably get me disowned by my children, or worse…arrested. But it sure is fun to think about, isn’t it? Sometimes thinking about revenge was the only thing that got me through the day with a toddler.
Clint Edwards is the founder of the parenting blog No Idea What I’m Doing and author of I’m Sorry…Love Your Husband and the just-released Silence is a Scary Sound. He has written about parenting for the New York Times, HuffPost and the Washington Post. He lives in Lebanon, Oregon.