Sunday, May 23, 2010

If mom folds five loads of laundry, goes grocery shopping, washes dishes, and bathes the children and nobody is there to see it, did it really happen?



Before we get started you should know that the Mister is out of town for a week and I am not at my best. This was my bedtime conversation with Oliver, who is very upset, missing his dad, and having trouble falling asleep.

Oliver:
It's just hard because dad makes all the fun and you just do, like, some things in the house and like, you're kind of boring because you're writer and all you ever do it write books and stuff.

Me:
pretending to be very neutral participant in this conversation
I play sometimes. I just have a lot to do.

Oliver:
I guess sometimes you're not blogging. But dad plays games and plays, like, the matching game and builds towers. But its hard to have two kids because we're always like, "Mommy do this, mommy do this."

Me:
It is hard, but it's great too. I love having two kids.

Oliver:
Well, I just wish you weren't so boring. It's hard.

The conversation continued in this vein for quite a while until I sang one last song and insisted he go to sleep.

Obviously I am horrified in about 27 different ways, not the least of which is because I spend so much of that time when I am ignoring my kids and supposedly writing books lurking on Facebook and trying to find the perfect pair of pumps online (they have a square heel and a square toe).

I am bothered too because this is the beginning of that age-old pattern of fun dad/task-master mom. He plays airplane, I insist on hair-combing. He builds towers, I limit the cookie intake and remind them to say "thank you."

I am chagrined by the sudden knowledge that my kids have heard me bitch about motherhood. At some point Oliver learned that I think having two kids is hard and that is not something he should really have to take on at the moment.



Mostly I am bothered because he's right. I am not a great player. I am sort of grouchy and boring. I'm distracted. I put them off. When given the choice, I almost always choose making dinner over playing with the kids while the Mister makes dinner.

I am often exhausted by simply maintaining basic order and getting everyone out of the house on time (for the record I don't even care if the shoes are on the wrong feet or if the outfits make a bit of sense), but also, I find playing boring.

Go Fish, restaurant, family, pirates—these are all games I am often asked to participate in. Sometimes simultaneously. And I do. For about five minutes. Then I notice that the floor needs sweeping or I feel like checking my email or I just zone out and forget to call Oliver "matey." I adore my kids ferociously but in all honesty, I prefer the company of adults.

Which was all fine and good before my kids got smart and perceptive and developed the power of speech. Now I can't ignore them and pretend they don't notice. They tell me. They think I am boring. They've caught on.







6 comments:

Simply Mel said...

The role of 'task-master' sucks, but who else is going to rock this position in the family tree? At least we know Oliver is okay with sharing his feelings....a good sign indeed!

Kitty said...

We are living parallel lives. I wonder what we take in and don't culturally/subconsciously in our parental gender roles that creates this? Writers have to see things from the bird's eye view and I often wonder if my "meta mind" keeps me from delving into play and loosing myself there in the moment.

Or, hell, maybe we just prefer a cocktail to a demolition derby in the living room, and really what's the problem there?

Sharon, The Queen Blogger said...

Oh how sad. I know exactly how you feel. I'm not good at playing either. I have 9 and 12 year old girls, and a 24 year old son. But here's the weird part:

My son thinks I'm the funniest person ever. He is my biggest fan.

My point is that sooner or later you'll be appreciated for the interesting person you really are. You don't have to be good at making car and gun noises to be a wonderful mom. I did have to learn how to arm wrestle and fish though.

krista said...

i have a notoriously bad habit of finding all sorts of things that need to be done when i get home from work and should be with the baby.
dishes, floors, laundry. i've forced myself to stop.
it's so so hard, though. and i remember being a child and saying "when i'm a mother i'll never do (insert any number of things i actually do here)"
i guess this is just to say, i feel ya.

sherri said...

first of all, that first picture is hilarious and adorable, I know that face well. My oldest son makes it at me. I hate playing too. I mean, if I have to be Daphne or god forbid, Velma, one more time. Don't get me started on Batman and Robin, they can bite me.
I was just talking about how I can play for about 5 minutes and then I'm fried to my husband last night. Glad to know I'm not alone.

Anonymous said...

I could have written that post. Really.
I love older kids and teenagers, and (for the most part) they love me back. Not so much the toddlers and preschoolers.
It doesn't help that my mother and sisters are of that special breed who are BORN to live and work with the little ones. (It should make me feel better that my mom sucked at the older kids/teenagers, but I still have too many issues left over to think about it too much.) :)
Thank You!

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