There’s a wise old saying that goes, “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” (Well, okay, it could be a wise old saying or it could just be something that was invented to put on a decorative wall plaque.)
Either way, it’s relevant: We moms are the backbones of the household, and the internal “climate” has a lot to do with how we feel. If I wake up feeling good (on payday or a good hair day, for example), stuff gets done. I’m productive. The house is more likely to be picked up, I’ll be slower to snap at someone, and the probability of a well-rounded dinner on the table is much higher. But if I’m not having a good day, I can quickly slip into “screw-it mode” and let everything around me slide – and, in turn, make pretty much everyone as grumpy as I am.
Moms are vitally important to the well-being of the home and everybody in it. When the shiz hits the fan (sometimes literally, because kids are gross), Mom comes to the rescue. We are the driving force behind this well-oiled machine. So what keeps us happy? The stuff on this list:
1. Say the magic words. There are three little words that can make a world of difference, and every mom needs to hear them from time to time: “I’ll make dinner.” Alternately, the three-word combinations of “Let’s order pizza” and “Let’s have cereal” are just as powerful. Because sometimes when our figurative plates are full, the last thing we want to do is figure out how to fill those literal plates at dinnertime (especially when we’re pretty sure our efforts will be met with wrinkled noses and whines of, “But we don’t like fill-in-the-blank-with-whatever-nutritious-meal-you’ve-worked-hard-to-concoct!”).
2. Clean up after your damn self. We’re not asking you to keep the house Martha Stewart-spotless. But here’s a news flash about moms: even though we like a clean house, we don’t actually enjoy cleaning it any more than you do. Additionally, we are not the only people in the house who are capable of keeping the place decent. So please, do us a solid. Wipe the seat off if you pee on it. Throw the wrappers/empty juice boxes/paper scraps in the trash can instead of stuffing them between the couch cushions or under your bed or just leaving them in the middle of the floor. Put your dishes in the dishwasher. Toss your dirty underwear in that clever invention we call a “clothes hamper.” Or, if you really want to see Mom smile, get crazy and fold and put away a load of laundry! A little housekeeping help goes a long way.
3. Don’t come a-knockin’. Seriously, when Mom is behind a closed door? KEEP. THE DOOR. SHUT. Doors were invented for a reason: to keep other people out. If we wanted to use a public restroom, we’d go poop at the gas station. Don’t knock. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing in there. It doesn’tmatter how long we’re going to be. Us closing the door is not a signal to ask questions or make complaints through the crack.
4. Stop the spur-of-the-moment invites. There are few things as annoying as unannounced company, so it would greatly benefit you to ask before inviting someone over. I think I can safely speak for all moms when I say it’d be nice to know in advance so we can, oh, put on a bra and perhaps something other than stretchy pants. Or clear the sink of last night’s dishes. Or take care of the stuff we need to take care of WITHOUT the addition of someone else’s kids. You might always be ready for company, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Mom is, so run it by us first.
5. Be practically perfect (in public). We’re proud of our families – after all, we’ve literally put blood, sweat, and tears into cultivating and tending to them. But if you really wanna get on Mom’s good side? Make us proud in public. Use the manners and etiquette we’ve been pounding into your head gently teaching you since your infancy. Nothing validates our efforts, or makes us feel like better moms, than remarks from the general public about how well-behaved or polite our children are. And for our spouses? Be a team player. The odds of good public behavior are dramatically increased when both parents are involved in whatever family outing we’re on – not glued to the phone, or walking ahead while we struggle with a stroller or a stubborn toddler.
6. Toss us some thank-you’s. Motherhood is a thankless job. I mean, doing things for our families 24/7 is part of the job description, so we don’t expect high praise all the time, but a little appreciation once in a while (and not just on Mother’s Day when it’s, like, an obligation) would be pretty sweet. Think about it: you have your own personal chef. Maid. Chauffeur. Nurse. Stylist. Psychologist. Teacher. We keep track of your appointments, applaud your successes, coach you through your failures, advocate for you, and match all your socks. We’re on call every hour of every day, and let our own needs go unmet so yours can be not only fulfilled, but exceeded. So it’d be nice if, sometimes, you were like, “Hey Mom, thanks for the clean clothes/homework help/assistance in molding us into respectable citizens.” Throw in a big hug and we’ll be putty in your hands … because, pssst — the more appreciated we feel, the more likely we are to keep up the good work.
… Just sayin’.