Wednesday, April 16, 2008

If Spring Break is Any Indication, I'm Going To Kill Myself May 31st

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.

29 comments:

  1. I completely agree 100%. I don't understand why my kids even want me around so much.

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  2. Back in the day I used to get up on days with no school, eat and not be home again until the sun went down. No whining to my mom about being bored, or she'd put you to work.

    And if I wanted a drink of water I just turned on the hose.

    Kids these days are such Sally's.

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  3. I grew up with my mom at home and I really don't remember asking her much except what was for dinner and what time I had to come home from the neighbor's house. Except I would usually try to sneak out to the neighbors so that she wouldn't tell me to do my chores before I left. So I was sneaking by her instead of her sneaking by me. How the tables have turned!

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  4. You think you were tough as a child. In my day, I used to go weeks without seeing either of my parents, foraging for food, sleeping when I wanted, going to school if it was a school day, and I never even got arrested!

    Really. I did.

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  5. Your comments about motherhood remind me of how every class I took as an English Major started with a discussion of why we study English and Literature. It was like we had to convince ourselves our major was valid. You can bet if you go to a Computer Science class on day 1 the chalk board does not say "Why Computer Science?"

    I remember the days of riding my bike down to the Minute Man to buy candy and not coming home until dark. I'd like to do that now.

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  6. And now, another K-96 soundoff . . .

    Those were the days.

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  7. Can I join you in a suicide pact? (or will you be my new drinking buddy?) How ironic that I'm reading your post (laughing and identifying), and a kid comes and interrupts me! Seriously? Not even 5 minutes?

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  8. And then there's all those organized activities. When was it decided that properly raised kids needed piano, soccer, dance, and karate? Oh yeah, and don't forget swimming and gymnastics and basketball and baseball and science camp and art camp and AAAAAAARGH! Accomplishment is highly over-rated. I turned out okay with just summer swimming at the high school.

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  9. Hey there! I got your blog off of CJane's, another amazing blogger...

    Fun, fun! I feel sorry for kids nowadays, actually,...they don't get how to use their imagination to play. Its kind of sad, but scary also, how they have to be entertained 24/7!

    Actually my little guy is quite a self motivator and likes to write "books" and do research in his spare time, so I guess there is still hope...

    Hey---check out my blog if you have the time or you're bored...
    www.swaneesinger.blogspot.com

    Have a great day!

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  10. We're all in this Spring Break boat together. It's just a different world now. We could spend the entire afternoon playing in those abandoned buildings in the orchard. (and using the old outhouse...remember that?)and our mom's didn't worry a bit about us being kidnapped or other unspeakable things. I worry about my kids playing in my locked backyard. and it sucks.

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  11. I'm ready to stage a revival of the kicked-out-of-the-house child.

    I think this will work better when I move to Lisa's neighborhood and my kids can just go over to her house (that's my plan, I'm sticking to it.)

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  12. This blog entry was brilliant.

    Amen and amen.

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  13. I right with you, sister. And here's the craziest notion of all. I'm thinking of homeschooling one of mine next year. (granted it's the most mellow, self-sufficient child.) A homeschholing mom that I was explaining this to said "why don't you just homeschool all of them?" All I could think was, "hmm, I don't really like them that much." Winner of Worst Mom Award: Me!

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  14. I hate that I can't edit my comment. i look like I can't think, when really I just can't type.

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  15. This summer is going to kick my butt too.

    I was one of those kids that did there chores and put the casserole in the oven before the rents came home. My parents didn't help with my homework, unless I needed a ride to buy posterboard or something.

    These days there is so much hand-holding that I am counting down until bedtime. And my kids really are of the good kid variety. It's spring break and we too have had tears (despite planning ahead) every single day.

    I'm still hooting about the 'Why Major in English?" comment. Oh yeah, I heard that every semester.

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  16. edit: their chores

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  17. What ever happened to the days when you would just leave at 9am and play all day, going from house to house, park to park, construction site to construction site, and then come home at 6pm? My mom always seemed really happy...

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  18. great post!! We had ourspring break a few weeks ago and It started 4 days after I had a baby. Boo.

    Maybe it is just where I live but here, kids go to daycamp. This is why my kids live throgh another summer. I plan it so that only one is home at a time. It doesnt eliminate the pesky requests for water but it does eliminate the arguing (mostly)

    That or move to lisa clark neighborhood and send them over with carinas kids!

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  19. I think it's a generational epidemic. Granted there were times my mom would hide in the bathroom for a few moments of peace and quite, but I swear, most kids [my kids included] fit right up there with what you are talking about...and this is my perspective and I'm not even home with them as much as their mom.

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  20. When all of your kids come to my house, I will make them clean behind my dressers. But I will feed them.

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  21. I wish you could, in a less withholding way, share yourself more fully with us.

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  22. You wanna talk about creative? My parents bought me a $1 tape recorder at the D.I. when I was 7. I spent my entire life running around outside recording noises of absolutely nothing. Things like kicking rocks, scraping it along the fence, breaking glass, my mom and dad's conversations I wasn't supposed to hear because, "Children should be seen and not heard". And hence my beginning of my life as a spy.

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  23. Hmm, it's funny that I was just going to say that I don't remember ever bothering my mom as a kid because I was either riding my bike or playing in the basement, and lo and behold, my mom (Shawn) has already made a comment. (Kacy and I have hung out, Mom...)

    Kids are annoying and spring break sucks. I'm glad it's over! ;^)

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  24. I just really need to know if the finger was successfully reattached.

    p.s. Love josh's comment about having to justify majoring in English. In my day the answer was always "because it's the best degree for anyone planning on going to grad school." Which leaves me feeling completely invalidated, because I didn't go to grad school.

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  25. A few thoughts:

    1 - it gets better -- youngest is 6 and pretty self-sufficient (or else she asks older siblings instead of me).

    2 - my mom always said "only boring people get bored" it didn't stop us from whining (obviously because I remember her saying), but it makes you feel better to have a smart-alec come-back to your kids.

    Finally, we just recently moved to Montana. Our neighborhood covenants prohibit fences and all the properties are at least one acre. Which means my kids are free to run around the neighborhood like I did when I was a kid. They only come home when their water bottle is empty and when called for dinner. What a blessing!

    P.S. You write beautifully! Is that because of an English degree?:)

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  26. Brilliant. I just wish I could get the paternal grandparents to stop coddling my children so they'd stop being such Pansies.

    Maybe I should issue a time-out from the grandparents.

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  27. It didn't help that spring break was so COLD around here, either! Is it too much to ask for nice, warm spring weather?

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  28. hee, hee

    "..sucky with low pay"

    Yep, exactly.

    Absolutely hilarious.

    (p.s. total lurker and friend of the Blair fam.)

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  29. This was hilarious! I'm not sure how I found your blog...I think through Sue @ naval gazing.....

    Anyhoo....I died laughing when you said you sneak by your kids. I totally do this. You are so right. They can be totally fine one minute, see you, and become total whine bags until you get them something....ugggghhhh!!! HA!

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