This afternoon the parasites (children for those of you nicer than me) all started to come rambling in from school. First through the door is the youngest. He comes in yells “Mom”, immediately throws his book bag in a corner and gives me the obligatory kiss on the cheek. I ask “how was school” and get the standard boy answer of “Fine”. About and hour later the next in the door is the oldest. He yells “Mom”, throws down the book bag and gives me the obligatory kiss on the cheek. I ask “how was school” and get the standard boy answer of “Fine”. About 45 minutes later the next in the door is the middle parasite. The experience starts off the same. She walks in the door yelling “Mom” throws the book bag down and gives me a kiss on the cheek and then everything changes. She begins to talk. She proceeds to tell me absolutely everything that was said or done at school that day until my ears start to bleed or she is so exhausted she decides to take a nap. Since she is a teenage girl thankfully usually the nap comes first, but I’m waiting on the ears to start bleeding any day.
This is a pretty standard afternoon in my house and has been for many years. Most of this ritual was started when they started kindergarten. They came home and threw their book bags down. I pointed at my cheek and they knew what was expected. I never had to say “give mama a kiss” they just leaned in and kissed my cheek. Somewhere over all of those years I stopped having to point. It just became part of the routine I now take almost for granted.
This started me thinking about other routines we do every day and how many of those we take for granted.
1) No one leaves in the morning without a kiss on the cheek and a “Love you- have a good day”.
This is why my mornings take forever! One parasite leaves at 6:55. The hubby leaves at 7:30. The next parasite leaves at 7:35 and the next leaves at 8:20. I finally get to my life after all of this insanity. There is a whole lot of niceties going on in my house before 8:30 in the morning. Some mornings I’m grumpy and they may not come out with the same sweetness as others. Some mornings these sweet words are done in a tone that the devil would be proud of, but they are said just the same. If you think mine come out my mouth with a tone you should hear a 14 year old sleepy boy saying it at 7:30 am to his mama. There are mornings I am pretty sure he has been possessed by a demon. I keep watching just to verify saying the word love doesn’t force his whole body into convulsions and his head to spin around. So far so good, but hey- it could still happen.
2) Whoever cooks dinner gets a Thank you from those who ate
We do not eat out a lot- actually almost never. Now I’m not saying we are one of those families that eat together at a table (like we should). We are a standard family that makes it’s plates and sits around the boob tube eating. We just have never eaten out a lot so I’m not sure when this one started or why. Maybe it started with my father always telling my mother thank you for dinner. Maybe it started when I used to work crazy hours and my husband would cook dinner when needed and I felt guilty. Maybe it started because my husband was happy when I cooked. I’m not sure, but it seems to be part of our routine now. With three parasites running in multiple directions we have learned that dinner at home some nights is a challenge. Whoever gets home first, decides to stay home from practice, or just gets up out of their chair first cooks. I seem to lose in the “get out of the chair first” battle so I do a lot of practices to balance out the load. What I appreciate about this routine is it doesn’t really matter who cooks. It doesn’t matter if it’s one of the parasites (happened once in almost 15 years), the hubby, or myself. If you eat- you must say thank you. SHHHH- the best part is it’s so ingrained – I even get a thank you for take out – cuz that dialing the pizza place was exhausting!!
3) No one goes to bed without a kiss and and “I love you and sweet dreams”
I used to love this time of day soooooo much!! When they were little you would feed them and they would say thank you. Then they would get their baths, brush their teeth, get on the pajama’s, and get in the bed. We would go in and tuck them in all snug as bugs in rugs, give them their kiss goodnight, tell them we loved them and have sweet dreams. There was usually about another 30 minutes of insanity while we tucked them in again and repeated the process a few times, but eventually they would be asleep and we would have about 2 whole hours of adult time before we fell over.
As they age this sweet experience has all gone to SHIT!! Now it works more like this. At 8 pm I start yelling at the youngest to get in the shower to which he “remembers” he has homework because “he forgot” at 4. At about 8:30 to 9 pm everyone is home or comes inside and we finally eat dinner and they say thank you (Yes I do know why I am getting as big as a house). At 9:15 to 9:30 I start yelling at the youngest to go to bed (He’s 11 not 6 so just relax) About 15 minutes after I have accomplished the feat he begins to yell “MAMA” throughout the house so I go in for his kiss and sweet dreams. At 10 I start yelling at the two teenagers to get in the shower and bed. At 10:30 the middle child comes out in a towel, shakes her wet head in my face and giggles. At 11 I go into each of the teenagers rooms, yell at the top of my lungs “FOR GODS SAKE GO TO BED” give them their kiss and I love you/sweet dreams. I then walk to my bedroom and crawl in the bed defeated. Then something rehabilitating happens. The hubby reaches over, kisses me and says Sweet dreams/ I love you.
My favorite part of this ritual is when other children spend the night. My rule does not change. If you spend the night in my home you get a goodnight kiss on the forehead and a sweet dreams. My eldest is a social butterfly so their are nights when I give a bunch of 14 to 17 year old boys a kiss on the forehead goodnight. The reactions of ones who have never spent the night in my home are always priceless. As I lean in to kiss them on the forehead they lean back and their eyes start to get very large. Luckily there is usually one there who has experienced it a million times who says “don’t worry about it- it’s her rule- suck it up and take your good night kiss”
Now I am looking around at my extremely messy house and thinking maybe I set my routines and priorities wrong. I should of added making the bed in the morning before saying have a good day. I seriously should of added one chore to the ritual after my kiss on the cheek in the afternoon. I should of adding doing the dishes after the thank you for dinner. I should of added a chore before bed.
I am a mama and we all can say I should of, would of, or could of all day!! Hell I may even add a few, but I doubt it. We all should of done something differently. We all could of done something differently. At the end of the day though we didn’t. We each raise them with our own set of priorities and values. Love and respect seems to be my most important, but yours may be financial responsibility or individuality. Just because my priorities are different than yours doesn’t mean mine are right and yours are wrong or vice-verse. They are just different. If we were smart we would learn from each other not judge each other. Unless they hurt someone outside of their family then who am I to judge? When did we decide as mothers that we have the right to judge each other? Was it social media or just the media telling us what we should think? When did we stop having the right to raise our children with what priorities are important to each of us? Isn’t being a mother a hard enough job without worrying about what our peers think?
I am reminded of one of my favorite sayings of all time “Behind every good child is a mama telling herself she is doing it all wrong”. Isn’t this the truth? The best mama’s worry about the future of their kids.The best mama’s think they have horrible children. The best mama’s do worry about what you think. The best mama’s beat themselves up every day with the would of, could of, and should of’s.
I don’t care how good or bad of a mama you are -your children are going to give you enough ego bruises for a lifetime. The one’s they don’t give you – you will give yourself. The one’s you don’t give will be given to you by your peers. So the next time when you bend down to pick up that rock to throw at someone who does it differently than you- just remember there is probably one out there somewhere aimed at you and black eyes are hard to cover up.