I don't ask for much. Like 5 seconds of no one screaming, pooping, fighting, hungering, bugging, touching, messing, wanting, needing, or demanding would be super. I like my kids. I even enjoy them. I tolerate them MUCH better than I tolerate other peoples' kids for sure. But something has got to give. I find myself sneaking by them because I know that if they see me they will ask me for a drink of water. It's not that I mind getting them a drink of water. It's not about the water! It's that their urgent need for water doesn't manifest itself until they see me. Additionally, it's not like they can't or don't get their own water. They do get their own water. Asking me for the water is just some kind of con they are trying to pull off.
Being a mom is a pain. Everyone knows it. That is, essentially, why there is so much discussion of how amazing and important it is--because it sucks a lot and we need to psych ourselves up for it. It is exactly the opposite of being a famous actor. Being a famous actor is a pretty great job, right? And what do actors always say about acting? How hard it is. Teaching, on the other hand, is the same as motherhood--sucky with low pay. And how do we talk about teaching? Like it's a magnificent calling. See how it works?
I've been thinking lately about why I am sometimes so annoyed by my kids. I think it's because I grew up with a working mom. It was fine and I was cared for. I have no complaints about that. But because I managed to make do on my own sometimes the constant demands and attention requirements of my kids just make me think, "You're kidding me, right?" It's not even that I expect them to make their own meals, solve their own problems, or wipe their own bums. One of my kids has cried every day of Spring Break because she doesn't know what to do. And I have planned fun things and plenty of structure along with down time. I'm not some monster. But I say, you get a day off from school you watch cartoons. Or read. Or go outside. Or paint your toenails. Or sit there and do nothing but revel in the fact that you don't have to go to school. What is there to cry about? I'm thinking, "I don't care what you do--that's Spring Break."
One time this family I knew was home alone for the afternoon. (The oldest of the 5 kids was in jr. high.) One of the littler kids got his finger slammed in a screen door by the wind. Those kids rallied! They comforted the amputee, bagged the severed finger, and called 911 from the neighbor's house. Two of my kids are wailing (this very minute) over a disagreement about two cell phones. That's right--two kids/two phones. It doesn't seem like such a tough one to solve, does it? Does it!
My kids will probably never have the moxie that us 70s latch-key kids had. But you'd think they could hold onto a gum wrapper for 5 seconds. In my day we not only threw our own garbage away, we collected other peoples' gum wrappers and made beautiful, long chains out of them. And then we played with those chains while our parents did whatever the heck they wanted to.