May you find some zen, some quiet, some relaxation this Mother’s Day!
Happy Mother’s Day to all my favorite moms out there!
May you find some zen, some quiet, some relaxation this Mother’s Day!
Happy Mother’s Day to all my favorite moms out there!
(This post is inspired by a post found on People I Want To Punch In The Throat. And while the title of the blog suggests violence that I don’t condone, the writing there is clever and funny. I have only recently discovered this blog but plan on returning for further research. Feel free to visit and come to your own conclusions.)
I have a friend. A dear friend who has an Elf On The Shelf. And an addiction to Facebook. During this time of year, I find that combination to be deadly.
To my ego.
Every other day she has a post of the clever places they find their Elf every morning. Along with clever little tag lines.
Example #1 – Hiding in a lamp, with just his little hat peeking out. “Should we tell him his hat is giving him away? Or just leave him in the dark?”
Example #2 – In a large empty jar with lid tightly closed. “Oops. Looks like Elf has found himself in a pickle.”
Example #3 – Hiding deep inside the Christmas tree. “Can’t see the Elf for the tree.”
I could go on. But I won’t. It depresses me too much.
Quite honestly, I had never heard of Elf On The Shelf until we moved to this subdivision. My rudimentary research discovers that his concept is old. But his commercial phenomenon is recent. Apparently, the Elf is a spy for Santa Claus. He sneaks away every night once the family is tucked in for the night, files his report with Santa and then returns by daylight, always in a new spot and typically up to some mischief of his own.
Oh. Yeah. Like I need one more Christmas chore to add to my list.
So, like any sane mother, I reject this holiday hobgoblin. My days are chock full of cookie baking, present wrapping, mantel dressing and shopping, cooking and a little more shopping. Who has time for 25 days of elfin mischief to create?
A lot of moms, apparently.
So many, that now, my children have been exposed to the little guy. And they want to know how Santa knows if they’re naughty or nice.
Santa peeks in on you himself. You boys are two of his favorites.
Cue eye rolls and exasperated sighs.
“Mom. Really? Because Nick’s Elf left him candy canes. Santa doesn’t leave us candy canes after he checks up on us.”
He saves that for Christmas Day. He knows about your last dentist appointment.
“If the leprechauns can visit us how come we don’t have an elf visit?”
I repeat the “Santa’s favorite” response. To no avail.
“Well, Sydney’s Elf bakes her cupcakes and cleans up her room.”
Hey! I bake you cupcakes and clean up your room.
“It’s not the same, Mom!”
It was a feminist literature class. On the contemporary reading list was The Joy Luck Club. A book chock full of mother/daughter relationships.
An interview with your mother.
The questions we were required to ask were predictable. How did you meet my father? Why did you choose marriage at that time in your life? What was your life like before kids? How far did you take your education? What did you learn from your mother about parenting?
What was your reaction when you heard you were pregnant with me?
Huh? Did I hear her right? Did she really say defeat?
I knew I didn’t really want to hear any more. A glutton for punishment, I asked her to explain.
“Well. When I married your father I knew I wanted to go to college. He wanted to start a family right away. So I made a deal with him. We would have sex one night in the month of March. He could pick the night. If I got pregnant, fine. We’d start having kids. If not, I could start school.”
“I was looking through college catalogs and I felt a little sick to my stomach. Then I realized I was a few days late for my period. I knew your father had won. So I threw the catalogs in the trash and here you are.”
A consolation prize?
“You know. I never wanted to be a mother. But that’s what was expected of me. So I did it.”
Four times. What were you thinking?
“You kids kept me from getting my degree for 10 years. But, I eventually got it. So I guess it all worked out, right?”
Your response explains a lot. It explains the heavy sighs. The crabby days. How we always seemed in your way. Why we all scurried every time you came home. Your nightly vodka tonics. How some days you could barely look at us.
But it didn’t work out.
Not for me, anyway.
And when you completely forgot my birthday this year? No card. No phone call.
At least now.
I know why.
I’ve been snowed in. Trapped in my own home. We’ve baked. We’ve cleaned. We’ve played xBox and board games. The boys have comandeered the computer. There’s a half-finished 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle on the kitchen table. Laundry has been washed twice.
What to do….what to do?
Has anyone seen Toddlers and Tiaras? Another train wreck of a television show. I got involved and couldn’t look away. I can’t say I’ll ever watch it again. This episode had me catching flies. My boys came downstairs and saw my facial expression and said, “Mommy?!? What’s wrong?”
“Go!” I said firmly, “This show isn’t appropriate for……..well, anyone.”
Prancing around little girls. Waxing a 7 year-olds eyebrows while she screams and cries for them to stop. Spray tanning, mascara, lip gloss and debating fake nails for a 15 month old. Yes, you read right. 15 months old.
I burst out laughing when little Sami Jo’s mother said, with a serious-as-a-heart-attack-expression on her face, “I just don’t know HOW she’s going to react if she doesn’t win her division!”
How she’s going to react? Are you kidding me? She’s 15 months old. Your daughter “uses three words regularly, walks backwards, scribbles with a crayon and has adopted “no” as her favorite word.” She can’t spell the word pageant, let alone say it. She doesn’t know she’s in a pageant. She doesn’t know what a pageant is. And she certainly doesn’t know what it means to win or lose a pageant.
Your daughter? Adorable.
Toddlers & Tiaras? Crazy.
The moms that put their daughters through the pageant paces?
(I’ve already been smacked down by Monday’s post. You’re welcome to fill in this blank.)
I read a post yesterday by Kristen over at Motherese that reminded me of a great lesson I learned years ago before children. My mother was obsessively clean. One day, I came home from a date. We had gone to a basketball game at the local university and when he dropped me off at home my mother was down at the street scrubbing the curb with a scrub brush. I raced past her into the house, knowing my date had noticed but pretending I didn’t know her. When it was safe to venture outside I asked her, “Why are you scrubbing the curb?” She told me that it was dirty. I laughed and said, “That’s what street cleaners (the big trucks – not the people!) are for.”
She said, with a straight face and all honesty, “But they don’t do a good enough job.”
That, my friends, is what I grew up with. Our house always looked like we were expecting royalty. Everything scrubbed. Everything shiny. Anything with the slightest bit of wear was tossed and replaced. I vowed never to be like that.
And then, I moved out on my own.
I lived with roommates during college and it drove me crazy. They would leave dishes in the sink. Never vacuum. The bathroom? Ick.
I could finally afford my own place. Heaven.
I had a place for everything and everything in its place. Before I moved in I scrubbed like I’ve never scrubbed before. From that moment on, every speck of dirt was mine. And I’d would always clean it before it could set up permanent residence.
During my neat freak days I married – another fellow neat freak – and we lived happily. And then I met Erin. We had so much in common. We were like long-lost sisters. We read the same books. We both taught at the same school. We went to movies and school functions together.
One Saturday, our plans changed. Her husband had to go into the office and couldn’t watch the kids. Would I like to come over to her house? Sure. We could visit while the kids played. I had never been to her home before. She had toddler twins and our excuse was always to get her out of the house.
I showed up. Punctual. (That trait came along with my tidiness) I knocked on the door. “Come in!” a voice called from inside. I walked in. The side door that I entered brought me almost immediately into the kitchen. To say I saw a mess would be an understatement. Dishes piled sky-high. Spatters on the wall. I smelled syrup and, sure enough, the mess resembled breakfast made by 3 year olds. I stuck to the floor.
“Over here!” she called from the family room. I tiptoed through the mess. There she was, sitting in the middle of the floor, with two little cherubs on either side of her. They were swimming in a sea of every book they owned. There wasn’t a place for me to step. I stood at the doorway, confused. As I had been gingerly tiptoeing through her home I was thinking, am I here on the wrong day? wrong time? This is the first time I’ve come to your home. You’d think she’s pick up a little.
My thoughts were interrupted. “I’m sorry about the mess, ” Erin said, “But every since these little angels arrived, ” and she kissed them each on top of the head, “I’ve learned that there are some things that are more important.”
From that moment on – I was cured.
(Oops! I almost forgot. Happy Hanukkah to all my friends who celebrate this wonderful holiday!)
A straight line. No detours. No stopping at “Go” to collect $200 (although, that does sound kinda nice.) I just want to walk a straight line. Go from point A to point B. And be done. Finished with whatever it is I want to accomplish.
Moms don’t walk in straight lines. We have to step off the track. Kiss a boo-boo. Fix breakfast. Throw that load of laundry in. Take the dog out. Break up another WWF-worthy wrestling match.
I woke up this morning positively energized. How? I don’t know; because I was up until 1am reading all of YOUR wonderful blogs. But this morning I had ideas for posts just bursting to get on “paper.” (What do you young kids call it these days? On screen?) I’m in the shower just hoping I’ll remember all of these fabulous ideas long enough to get them jotted down in a rough form. I must have had a weeks worth spilling forth. Amazing posts that would undoubtedly change YOUR life (yes, I’m speaking to you, sitting there in your pj’s, sipping coffee and sneaking the last of the Oreos) FOREVER! Then son#2 came into the bathroom, “Mom? If I could be a real superhero… I mean really be one…can I do it for a job someday?” Sure sweetie, you can be anything you want to be. Now go watch TV with your brother. I’m trying to get ready for the day.
I step out of the shower, walk to my closet and the cat has left me a lovely gift. Hairball mixed with regurgitated Meow Mix. Lovely. Clean that up. Wash hands. Dry hair. Skip make-up because I can still remember about 6 of those FABULOUS post ideas. “Mom!!!” Yes? “Can we play Xbox? It’s raining out!” Son #1 has already anticipated my typical response of “Go play outside.” Yes, you can play Xbox. Good! That’ll give me at least a half an hour to jot down ideas.
The phone rings. My husband, sweet man that he is, heard something on the radio on his way to work that reminded him of me and wants to share. Blah, blah, blah. Unload dishwasher while I listen and see that I forgot to put the load from the washer to the dryer last night. Do that, too. Hang up. Remember that I need to strip the beds. While stuffing sheets into the washer I remember that I had all these good ideas for a post today. What were they again? One. Ok. Two. Uh-huh. What was three again? No idea.
Ok. Upstairs to the computer. Turn it on. Two ideas out of seven, not bad. Just hurry up and boot up so I can write (type?) you down. “Mom!!!!!” #1son screams from downstairs. “It’s lightening out. Do we have to shut off Xbox?” Yes. And I have to shut down slow dinosaur of a computer. Set the good example and all of that.
Sigh. So now, it’s two hours later and I’ve got NADA. Nothing. Zip. Zilch.
The shortest distance between two points is a line. I just want to walk a straight line sometimes.
…crying children were like nails on a chalkboard. Now? I frantically search until I find the source to make sure a parent is there taking care of the distraught little one.
…I slept as late as I wanted to on the weekends, which wasn’t very late, but still. I slept until I wanted to get up. Now? Wake up call in our house is 6am. Every day. Every. Single. Day.
…my husband and I could have a little romp in the hay, mid-afternoon, take a little nap afterwards and do it all over again. Now? We have to schedule time. And then keep/remember/have the energy for “the date.” Afterwards we say, “Mmmmm. That was nice. Let’s not wait 3 months for the next time, k?”
…having the money to go out was no big deal. We did what we felt like. When we felt like it. Now? We have to tack on $40-50 more to the budget for the babysitter. Ouch!
…I always remembered to shave my legs. Now? Please don’t look!
…I had seen every single Best Picture nominee for the Academy Awards. Printed out my ballots and threw a big bash so we could eat popcorn and Twizzlers and comment on the tuxes, dresses, and speeches. Now? Do they still have those awards shows? After our nightly Curious George episode our tv is off.
…I loved my husband. Now? I adore, cherish, am continually amazed by, LOVE my husband. He is such a wonderful father.
…hugs were nice. Now? Hugs are sticky, slimy, sweet smelling, cozy little wonders all day long.
…my skin was fresh with not a wrinkle in sight. Now? I’ve earned every single “laugh line” quite honestly. My children set me into a fit of giggles at least once a day.
…I wondered how I was going to make a difference in the world. Now? I’m shaping the future with my bare hands.
This post was inspired by the Group Writing Project. Click the picture below for more info!