My son always asks me why I get upset after I’ve done a full grocery shop only to realize I’ve forgotten bread and milk. He’s doesn’t know the frustration that comes from thinking you’ve gotten something scratched off your check list — the check list you have to make every damn day in order to keep it all straight — only to have to back track and complete a task again.
My kids get frustrated with me when they see how I schedule things in a clump of time during the weekend because if I don’t, we end up spending most of the day in the car, killing thirty minutes here or there.
My ex-husband once asked, “Does everything have to be so efficient all the time?” And my answer is yes, yes it does.
What our families don’t understand is if moms forget the dentist or doctor’s appointments, the stress is on our shoulders to reschedule, and coordinate everyone’s activities and hope there is a time slot where you can lock in a 2-hour appointment.
They don’t get if they forget their swimsuit while packing for vacation, we are the ones who need to go out and find them one so we can enjoy all that togetherness — and so they aren’t losing it at the side of the pool or on the beach.
They don’t know we are the keepers of all things, we are the ones that make life pleasant and magical, and if they forget the lovey, we have to hear about it more than we want to.
Yes, we do all we do for them, but also, I don’t know a mother out there who hasn’t thrown her back out before a trip, a day out, or a staycation, and is setting the stage so she can enjoy it to some extent as well. As much as we want to keep things pleasant for kids, that isn’t always our only motivation.
It only takes one car trip when your kids are restless and hungry to make you realize you never want to go through that tunnel of fuckery again, so for the next one, you will be prepared.
It might make you show up a bit late, and your kids may get restless waiting in the car for you, but you do it so you don’t have a meltdown on a 4-lane highway and want to pull over on the side of the road and kick everyone out and take a vacation by your damn self.
My oldest honked the horn the other day as he and his siblings were waiting for me in the car. We were all going to the movies and I realized I forgot my big purse to smuggle candy in. Then I noticed half the lights were on and the smell coming from the dishwasher reminded me the dishes needed to be cleaned. As I was reaching for a dishwasher tablet, I noticed we were out of Band-Aids.
Start a grocery list, write down band aids and dishwasher tablets
Turn off lights
Get dishwasher going
Find large purse and transfer candy and everything else into it
Check for kale in teeth one last time
Then I stopped, almost diving in to tackle it all, and thought better of it. Instead, I called my three kids to come in and knock out the list for me “so we won’t be late and I won’t have to listen to you complain we didn’t get the good seats and I can fit the candy you want to eat in my purse and I won’t embarrass you with this green sludge snuggled between my teeth,” I said.
They didn’t get why my voice was sharp and were puzzled by the lines in between my eyes. And I didn’t bother to explain.
The next day, I saw the most amazing meme by The Mom TruthBomb and sent it to them. It explained all the things I’d wanted to tell them that day standing in our kitchen directing them around.
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Moms do fucking everything.
That’s why we are frazzled. That’s why we forget things. That’s why there are days we get mad at the sound of a crinkling piece of paper.
But alas, they still didn’t get it. And that’s when I realized they won’t get it anytime soon.
Maybe the realization will come when they move out and get their own place and start working. It might hit them one evening while they are sitting down to pay bills after going to the grocery store and realize they need to save a little something to pay the heat bill and have to forgo the new sneakers they really want. They might look back and remember their mom had to do all of this and support children and listen to their wants and needs.
It may come after they buy a home and struggle to keep it clean while it’s just them and their parter and wonder how mom did it with little kids running around as if their hair was on fire.
But most likely, it will come when they have kids of their own and they are trying to juggle a career, keep their house in some type of order, and get their kids ready for a big event and want nothing more than to hide in the pantry and tell everyone they need a day off.
They are not going to realize what “everything” means right now. And I’m okay with that as long as every once in a while I get a hug, and a thank you, and they march their ass back inside after sitting in the car for 10 minutes on their phones “waiting for me” and say “Mom, what can I do to help?”
But if they don’t, I have no problem continuing on as we are, occasionally forgetting the candy and humiliating them because I forgot to take one last check in the mirror before showing up in public with them.