June: The finish line of the “Good Mom” year.
For most moms, June is the gleaming finish line of the harried, endless year that began so optimistically with new school clothes and backpacks. By the end of May, most of us have given up doing responsible “mom chores” like checking homework and packing lunches. My kids are lucky if I throw a frozen waffle at them as they leave the house or if I mumble a half-assed, “Did you do your homework?” through my wine sips. I’m DONE!
I’m sure my kids are done, too, but moms aren’t supposed to show that they’re done. We’re supposed to smile and care. I think that’s where you lose me. The caring part. I’m done caring. And Mother’s Day a few weeks ago didn’t help. I had such high hopes for Mother’s Day (and by high hopes I mean I just hoped someone would do the dishes).
It started off wonderfully when my youngest daughter made me breakfast in bed … and it was edible! Scrambled eggs, toast and hot tea! I should have just gone back to bed. I should have just pretended that Mother’s Day ended at 10 a.m. and that everything after that was just the next day. But I have three kids, not just one. One grateful breakfast-making child, named Brooke, and … the other two.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel like I’m owed anything on Mother’s Day. It’s just that Mother’s Day is the day where you hope that you are raising grateful kids. We are all trying to raise good kids, educated kids, socially conscious kids; but what about grateful kids? By nature, I think kids are ego-centric. That’s how we raise them and how WE SHOULD raise them. We let them know that they are the center of OUR universe. We love them that way for years and when you think about it, what a great way to grow up! It’s just that at some point we also have to teach them that they aren’t the center of THE universe. That’s harder.
Mother’s Day is the day that we ask our kids to not just see us as “Mom” but as a person; a person who likes things, like a favorite chocolate bar or candle, wrapped in crummy newspaper, with a handwritten card, that says something vaguely like, “I’ll never love anyone more than I love you,” or, “I promise not to put you in a nursing home when you are old and wrinkly,” or, “Yes, I’ll let you cuddle with me forever, even when it’s weird and inappropriate.” And the gifts don’t really matter because it’s not about them. It’s about the fact that you take the time to appreciate everyone that is in your corner, not just Mom, but throughout your life.
All that said, I’m just DONE, and because I’m done I’ve decided to write a letter to my kids regarding what is acceptable behavior this summer.
(Side Note: Please don’t judge me because I didn’t make a conscious decision to be DONE. I would like to still care about my kids’ health and well being. I’m just tapped out. I DID care. Maybe too much, and that’s what led to this moment.)
For legal purposes and to create an atmosphere of openness at the workplace (aka: our house) I’d like to outline for you a short list of things I don’t wish to hear about, discuss, go to, walk by, buy for you or pretend to be interested in this summer.
1. No more lunches. I’ve made lunches for you for a while. You seem to know what they should include. All items are located in or around the kitchen. In case of emergency, there’s tuna. Good luck to you.
2. No more concerts. I enjoyed listening to you play your instruments and sing at your concerts, but my ear drums have actually been burned on the inside. Please practice when I’m out of the house or drunk.
3. Here are some terms I would like to curtail during this summer season: Incessantly screaming, “Mom, WATCH THIS!” (For the love of God), “Mom, can I…?”(followed by anything) and, “Mom, Jacqueline (or other sibling name inserted here) just did (blank) to me.”
4. I will not respond to any fights between siblings this summer, unless it’s followed by, “Jacqueline just cut off my arm,” or “Brooke made margaritas.” Then, I’ll get up. Otherwise, figure it out. Mommy’s done.
5. FYI: The answer is “NO” to all of the questions below: Can I have a sleepover? Can all the kids in the neighborhood come in for a snack? Can we use the garden hose to fill up 200 water balloons and have a fight in the basement?
6. The answer is “YES” to all of the questions below: Can I GO to a sleepover? Can I GO to my friend’s house for a week? Can I get you a drink? Can I clean the house for you? Can I get a job and support you both financially and emotionally?
P.S.: A full list of rules is available upon request.
I’d like to wrap this up by adding that I feel very guilty about the above requests. I’m sure there are moms out there who love being with their kids all the time. I just don’t know those moms, nor do I like them. I love my kids and I’m sure by July I’ll want to hang out with them again, but right now I just need a few weeks. Who’s with me?
Comedian Dena Blizzard is a married mother of three, a former Miss New Jersey and the writer, producer and star of the Off Broadway hit show “One Funny Mother.” In her free time she folds laundry, is a carpool mom and has created a dirty board game called “Chardonnay Go, For Wine Lovers, Moms and Other Shameless People.” Find Dena at Facebook.com/DenaBlizzard or at The Cheesecake Factory.
Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 3 (June, 2017).
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