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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mom or Maid?

Please tell me that I am not the only mother who feels like her children think she is their servant...put on this earth to do their bidding. I know it's true...my mom waited on me, much of the time, and I started to feel like it was my right. Like she was put on earth to wait hand and foot on me. She must have figured it out though, because I had lots of chores and duties. I hated Saturdays...while all my friends were watching Saturday morning cartoons or playing outside, I had to clean my room. It took me all day! Being the easily sidetracked person I am...I was worse as a kid...and I couldn't just surface clean...I would find myself cleaning out drawers, when all I really had to do was straighten up, dust, make the bed and vacuum. Really explains my housekeeping skills (or lack of them) today.

As I am watching my oldest son try to clean his room today, I am sad to say, that he has inherited my sidetracked tendencies.  The fact that he doesn't want to clean his room doesn't help matters. His room needs a complete organizational overhaul, and he is not equipped to do it. Plus he is surly because he wants to play video games with his little brother. So, I find myself having to help...and I don't want to...I have other things to clean. With my Mother-in-law arriving this afternoon, there are lots of things around this house that need my attention. I do have the sneaky thought of not cleaning anything, in hopes that she will clean when she gets here, but my pride will not allow me to do that. Although I am not above showing her a cupboard or two in the kitchen that could use some organizing...

I think I am like a lot of moms...when the kids are little, it is just easier to do things for them, instead of having them struggle through it. I can clean a kid's room in record time when they are at school. It only takes me a few minutes to clean their bathroom, and I'm fast at separating out their laundry. If they try...I have to help them and it takes forever! But here I am with three kids, 6, 8 and 10...who are getting older and quite capable of handling some of this responsibility. Add into that, we are one week away from summer break...all three kids at home...all day...every day...(yikes!)...they better start helping or nothing will get done!

I used to play a "game" with the two youngest...they were about 3 and 4 at the time. I would hand them each a wet cloth and have them "hunt for spots" on the tile. Great game...and they did a pretty good job...I wonder if that will work now? Probably not...they are too smart...I can get them to set the table, feed the dog and take their folded clothes to their room. But I cannot seem to get them to put their clothes away in their room, instead of leaving a big pile that ends up falling over and getting "unfolded".

I know I have to do something...especially with the girl. She thinks she rules the roost. I laid in bed one morning, debating whether or not I wanted to get up...I turned to my husband..."I don't want to get up," I say..."Our daughter is a tyrant...and I am her bitch!" This cracks the husband up...he thinks I'm so funny...but I'm not kidding! She is so sweet and quiet at school...and so loud and demanding at home!  Not all the time...she is very caring, loving, kindhearted and wants to "help" me around the house...but sometimes...ohh...sometimes I just want to hide in the closet under the stairs with a good book and a bottle of wine! I think all moms should have a place to hide from their kids...a place they don't know about.

My goal this summer is to clear out the closet under the stairs...I can picture it now. I will take everything out, set up a light with a dimmer, put down a fun throw rug, add a chaise lounge, small refrigerator, TV, table to hold my books, a cozy blanket...maybe another chaise for a friend who needs to escape from her kids...then I will hang a thick curtain that blocks the light towards the front of the closet..stack some boxes in front of it, hang some jackets on the rod...and ta da...the MOM CAVE is complete! I can picture it now...kids running amuck through the house, husband yelling at them to be quiet...someone hits someone and there is crying and tattling...but I don't care...I'm not involved...I'm reading book three of The Hunger Games, sipping a smooth zinfandel out of my festive girly wine glass that my friend Anne gave me.

But before I can clear out the closet, we have to clean out the garage, so there is room...and to clean out the garage, I need the husband's help...there are spiders in there, after all...and I am not a spider person! (That is the understatement of the year...I am terrified of spiders!) But if I get desperate...and with the husband at work all day and the kids home with me all day...odds are I will get very desperate...I will just shove all the crud under the stairs, out into the hallway...grab a folding chair, flashlight, and book...and take an hour for myself...it's either than or do what my mom did...cup of coffee, newspaper, purse and phone and head for the bathroom! I didn't realize until I had kids of my own...my mom is a genius!!
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Oh sure, no sooner than I posted this...I was on my hands and knees, scrubbing the kitchen floor and here comes my little helper! As I sneak in to write this, she is spraying all the "spots" on the tile and scrubbing with a brush! Maybe I will be getting some help this summer after all!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Apologies From a Former Know-it-All

 Today is Mother's Day. And I want to acknowledge all the wonderful mothers in my life. I also want to apologize to most of them for the stupid things I said to them before I had children...back when I was a complete know-it-all about having kids...and yet I did not have kids!

First I want to apologize to my oldest sister. The one who started having kids, when I was still a kid. She had four boys by the time I was 20 years old...in the prime of my supreme know-it-all years. She would come over to our folk's house to visit and pull up to the curb in her minivan. As the kids would slide open the door, all their junk would come flying out. Toys, papers, crayons..you name it. I used to think, "How could someone have so much stuff in their car?" My car had nothing in it...just my backpack that I took to and from school. I just did not understand how it was possible to drive around with so much junk....oh, if I only knew then...fast forward 20 years...here I am driving around in a vehicle that looks like I live in it!  On Monday, the kids pile the car with their stuffed animals for the ride to school. On Tuesday, the boys bring books to read and the youngest grabs paper and markers. By Friday, it looks like a family of raccoons have moved into the vehicle and they've been living there for months! I'm afraid to pull up to the car lane at school, for fear of what will fall out of the car, when the teacher opens the door for the kids.

The second sister has three kids. The two oldest are only about 18 months apart. I remember when they were little, she would complain about not having time to exercise. I was appalled! "How could you not find time to work out?" She was a stay-at-home Mom after all...I mean, what was she doing all day? Watching soap operas and eating Bon Bons? I was a personal trainer and aerobics instructor at the time. Working out was my LIFE! "Work out after the kids go to bed!" I would command. She would tell me how tired she and her husband were. I just didn't get it...until now.  Here I am, overweight and in need of a workout...By the time my night owls go to bed, it's all I can do, to drag my sorry carcass to the couch. There is no way I can work out at night. Just more proof that I did not know what the heck I was talking about!

The third sister has two sons. I can't recall what advice gems I dropped on her over the years, but I am sure they were doozies. I think I graced her with all sorts of advice from how to discipline her boys to what  she should be eating. I realize now, that I knew nothing...currently, my two boys are wrestling on the floor and the youngest is jumping on the couch as I am telling them to get down and they completely ignore me. Clearly, my discipline skills are lacking!

Then there's my Mom. Raised four girls and made it look easy. I don't think we ever appreciate our mothers so much as when we have children of our own! When we were kids, we were always looking for ways to put one over on her. I can remember sneaking down the hall and crawling behind the couch, to watch TV. If we laid on our stomachs, we could peek around the corner and see it. The minute she moved a muscle, we would scramble back to bed, only to crawl out again. Now, I am facing the same situation. The kids silently creep down the stairs and duck down behind the couch, peeking over my shoulder to watch TV. Drives me crazy! I'm sorry for doing that to you, Mom. I'm even sorrier that my kids are doing it to ME!

Here is what I DO know...Motherhood is the toughest job I've ever had...and the best job I've ever had! It's not glamorous, at all, and if someone tells you it is, they are LYING! Being a stay-at-home mom is not the fun thing, I thought it would be. There is no time for soap operas, and who can afford bon bons?  Life is different when you are a mom...but it's a good different! (And I wouldn't trade it for anything!)

If my 20-something self, could see my 40-something self, she would be appalled. "What have you done to me?" she would exclaim in disgust. And I can see her point...out of shape, capri pants, t-shirt, flip flops, too-thin eyebrows and really short bangs... "This is your future, sister!" I would say, "Take a long hard look..."You think you know everything right now...but just you wait...you don't know anything about having kids...and after you have them and think you REALLY have all the answers...your kids will show you that you STILL don't know anything!"

Happy Mother's Day, Mommies! CHEERS!