I'm probably not going to win a "mother of the year" award anytime soon. While I'm usually a devoted slave to my own parenting routines, things have felt unusually hectic lately and I keep breaking rank. I know these things probably never happen at your house (and in case you work for C.P.S. I'm not saying any of these things actually happened at my house). But here are eight "theoretical" situations that might cause a mother to doubt her eligibility for upcoming awards:
- You inform your three children (ages 8, 6, and 3) that it's high time they help tackle all the clean laundry that is waiting to be folded on your bedroom floor. You turn on cartoons and leave them to the folding, go downstairs and lose track of time, and return to your bedroom two hours later to find them diligently chipping away at the laundry mountain as if they're well trained employees in a foreign sweat shop.
- You promise to make chicken and mashed potatoes for dinner and instead you serve your children scrambled eggs for dinner. For the third night in a row. Even though you made scrambled eggs for breakfast that morning.
- Two of your three children keep suffering from recurring bouts of constipation (see point number two).
- Your youngest child informs you "you never hold her anymore."
- Your eight year old has started making her own school lunch because "Mom waits until the last minute and might forget something."
- You tell your children you will read them a bedtime story tomorrow every night for a week until they finally wise up and start asking Dad instead.
- You lose track of time and almost forget to pick your kids up from school, which results in a very dramatic sprint down the street to the school wearing slippers and no coat. It is snowing outside.
- You leave the house in a hurry to go run an errand and at some point you notice your three year old is wearing a leotard and church shoes. And that's all. And it's snowing outside.
Based on this list it sounds like we're out of control over here at the Gillespie house, which almost surprises me since I thought we were doing pretty well considering how busy things have been. I suppose all parents have moments when they think, oops, I could have done better there. After a a few of those it seems natural for a parent to self-correct and I'm only slightly mortified that it's taken me eight of those moments to get a clear picture of how spacey I've been acting. Oh well. Being a remedial parent this month probably isn't the worst mistake I'll make. My kids aren't even teenagers yet. Imagine their list of chores when they're actually old enough to do some substantial work. I'll probably be trying to hire them out to the neighbors as a laundry service and they'll look back on their early childhood with fondness and say to each other, Remember when mom only made us fold our own family's laundry? Those were the days.