Oh, parenthood, sometimes you are such a chore. Here are the top ten things I won't miss when the little birdies finally leave the nest:
- Cooking a healthy dinner that nobody eats. There’s nothing like spending time I don’t have preparing a healthy meal for the family, only to have the kids scream and cry that it is disgusting. How can you know it’s disgusting when you haven’t tasted it? My middle is known for physically gagging just by smelling a food she dislikes.
- Cooking a healthy dinner that everybody likes but then they are starving again in an hour, because the damn healthy food doesn’t keep you full. I don’t care how much protein and quinoa and veggies you tell me to eat. Without cheese and bread and copious amounts of chocolate, I’m hungry as a bear by bedtime. So it’s hard to argue with the kids when I’m secretly cramming down a buttered roll with my broccoli.
- Serving as the car DJ. Or, to be honest, driving at all when the kids are in the car. Driving while parenting is driving while impaired, which is unfortunate, since the kids always need to be driven somewhere. And then picked up from that somewhere. And then driven to the next somewhere. And then picked up. At which point they are starving and then you have to deal with dinner. See points number 1 and 2.
- Wading through the explosion of bags strewn by the door. We have a bag disorder. Swim bags and ballet bags and book bags and soccer bags and travel bags and sleeping bags and gym bags and Hebrew school bags. They haunt me. They find me in my sleep.
- The shoes piled up like a booby trap in the mudroom. I don’t know why we need an alarm. No one can open the door anyway. It’s always blocked by sneakers, flip flops, cowboy boots, cleats, crocs, clogs, flats, sandals, and running shoes. Yet somehow, when it’s time to leave the house five minutes ago, no one can find a pair of shoes. I cannot fathom it.
- The mounds and mounds and mounds of never-ending laundry; can’t we just live in a nudist colony? Even though I forbid the kids to put pajamas in the wash after one wearing, and even though we only wash bath towels once a week, and even though we spot clean items as often as possible -- There. Is. So. Much. Laundry. What really perplexes me is how the kids wear the same outfit every single day, but their entire wardrobe ends up in the laundry basket.
- The battles over homework. It might be easier to broker world peace than to convince a tired seven-year-old to do one worksheet. Here’s a math problem for you. Which quantity is greater? Forty-five-minutes spent moaning and thrashing and yelling about homework, or three minutes spent filling out a worksheet. Is this worth it? Seriously, is it? I can’t even.
- Serving as a walking garbage can when we are out and about. How is it that a child can walk right past a public garbage can and hand me a sticky, drippy yogurt tube? I. Am. Not. A. Garbage. Can. Whether the child is a toddler or a teen, she automatically hands me her garbage. Hold it yourself while we walk the ten feet to the next garbage can. Or at least be creative, like the time the youngest stashed an entire chocolate cupcake frosting-side-down in her Fro, saving it for a snack later.
- Year fourteen of not sleeping through the night. Don’t ask me for advice on sleep training, because I suck at it. My seven-year-old still sleeps in a sleeping bag next to my bed and wakes me every time she needs a tissue, a drink of water, or a cuddle. And on the rare night that she doesn’t wake me, my post-childbirth weak bladder wakes me. I fully blame the kids for that. Except for the one we adopted. She gets a pass. She is also the one who most often eats whatever I cook for dinner without a complaint. I like her the best.
- The nightly routine of “Mom, let me tell you everything in the universe that is ruining my life” at half-past bedtime. Ten o’clock at night after a full day of school and activities is not the time to solve your social problems. Why oh why do they wait until late at night -- when they are the most irrational and prone to hysteria-- to open up a conversation that could take three hours? I. Can’t. Even. Honey, just go to sleep. By the morning, you and your frenemy will be best friends again.
I have to stop here, because the list said Top Ten, not Top Twenty.
And let me reassure you that the list of reasons why I love being a mom would take pages and pages and pages. But, seriously, no one wants to hear about the good stuff. We parents bond over the hard parts and the messy parts and all the trivial irritating details of getting our kids through the day.
It’s in the daily struggles that we must find ways to connect. We don’t need someone to help us get through the wonderful parts. They are the reason we get up every day and do it all again. And again. Love is some kinda powerful motive.
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