Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mom! Mom! Mom!

I woke up at 3:00 am this morning to look at the eclipse. Wouldn't you know it, it was nowhere to be seen from my yard -- too many trees and clouds. But I was already awake, and it seemed a shame to miss out on a full eclipse. So I did what any irrational person would do; I grabbed my car keys and drove around town in a bathrobe hoping to find a good open view. Darn it all, after trying a few parking lots,  I still couldn't see the moon. Peeved, I finally headed home around 3:30 am and fell into the guest room bed (didn't want to wake up my DH). Restless, I tossed and turned for several hours until falling asleep.

I'm not sure how long I dozed, but I awoke to my oldest son nudging me. "Mom! Mom! Mom!" Exhausted, I barely opened my eyes. He wanted to ask about downloading some game.

I croaked, "Ask Daddy."

"I can't," he responded. "Dad's sleeping."

I laughed, "Oh, ok, so that's why you woke me up!"


It has occurred to me on a number of occasions that I am generally the go-to parent. If the kids want a snack, or a toy, or a game, or anything really, it's always, "Mom, I'm  hungry, I'm thirsty, can I have that?" If they want to go to a movie or to a friend's house, it's, "Mom, will you take me..." If the kids are bickering, it's, "Mom, he did... he said..." If they're bored, it's "Mom, will you play... can we go..." If doesn't even matter if Dad is two steps away from them, they will hunt me down wherever I may be for whatever they want. D. H. Lawrence wrote about a house that constantly whispered, "There must be more money!" If my house could talk, I think it would screech, "Mom! Mom! Mom!"

Often, it's inconvenient being the go-to parent. Sometimes, it's nerve wracking. Some days, all I want is an hour or two to be entirely alone. A lot of moms can sympathize, I think. A friend of mine once told me that her daughters kept crying, "Mom! Mom! Mom!" all day, and out of exasperation she finally said, "Enough! You are not allowed to call me mom anymore today!" One daughter gave her a confused look and haltingly replied, "Ok... uh... Georgine?"

I was thinking about this today as my younger son asked me to keep him company in the basement while he played a video game. He didn't actually want me to play (it's a one-person game). He just wanted me to sit there with him. So I did; I worked on a quilt while he played. That's when I decided that being the go-to parent has certain advantages. Yes, I get to deal with arguments, tantrums, and unending requests. However, when the kids want company, they always ask for mom first. When something great happens at school, they run home and yell, "Mom! Guess what!" If they're happy, mom gets hugged first. During movie night, they snuggle up on the couch next to mom. I came to the realization that being there for the tiring stuff is what brings my kids back for the good stuff. I don't get the "better" until I take the "worse."

I had more thoughts, but I think I'll cut them short because even as I type, my kids are pestering me to get in the kitchen and make cookies. Even though I really, really, really don't like making cookies, that's ok. Tonight, they'll ask me for a bedtime story or want to tell me something funny. It'll be worth it then.


Just to be clear, I don't want this to sound like my husband ignores the kids. I also don't mean to imply that the kids don't love their dad. They do, and they have their own relationship with him that's different from their bond with me. I figure they come to me first because they're just used to mom being the one who takes care of their immediate needs. After all, I'm home while their dad is at work. However, I wouldn't be at home if it weren't for him.

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