Insanity of Motherhood

Motherhood, marriage, and midlife.


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Mom Says It Again

The other night at dinner Tall Boy sprung the news to my husband and I his school had an open house the next night.  My reaction wasn’t one of joy.

“Mom, open house for school is tomorrow.” – Tall Boy

“Really? I don’t remember seeing the email.  That’s too bad.” – Mother

“You always say that, Mom.” – Tall Boy

“Say what?” – Mother

“Say, that’s too bad”.  – Tall Boy

“No, I don’t”. –  Mother

“Yes you do”. – Tall Boy

“You do, Mom”. – Little Boy

“You have a bunch of things you say all the time.  You repeat the same sayings over and over.” – Old Boy

“What are you talking about?  What do I say over and over?” – Mother

For the next half hour at dinner the family proceeded tell me quotes I use on a daily basis.  Every mother has a few quotes to be remembered by, but apparently I have more than the average mom.  This morning when I woke up my husband kindly (or not so kindly) left a list of my quotes for my on the counter.  Ten quotes isn’t too many is it?

That’s too bad.

I say this one a lot.  It’s used when I’m not happy.

“Mom, Dad said to tell you the washing machine is broken.”

Stop talking.

This quote is used when my boys won’t stop talking.  It’s self explanatory.

Stay calm.

When I feel frazzled I use the quote to remind myself what I need to do.  I used this excessively teaching the teenagers to drive.

Unfortunately.

This is another quote to show my unhappiness for a situation.

“The guys will be over soon for a sleepover, Mom.”

Stop bothering those people.

This wonderful quote isn’t an original of mine.  My husband overheard a mother saying it to her annoying son while waiting in line at LEGOLAND.  I use it to remind my boys to be good in public.  Not sure who “those people” are though.

The thing is…

Here’s another stolen quote.  This one comes from my older sister.  She says this all the time to explain a situation.  I use it to explain things too.

“The thing is…money doesn’t grow on trees.  Dad and I don’t have money to hand out when you waste your money on new muscle shirts.”

Focus.

All mothers say this quote.  This one is used mainly for my little son.  I remind him to stay on task and get the job done.

Hubble up.

A morning routine saying.  This one means, “Hurry up people or we’ll be late again.”

What’s happening in the land of ___________ grade?

I like this quote.  I say it instead of the usual, “How was your day at school?”  It has a fill in the blank section that makes it easy to say for multiple children.

Don’t forget about trash and recycling.

This quote is said everyday to Old Boy.  It’s his job to take out the trash and recycling and he never remembers.  I do a daily reminder for him.  He hates this quote, but if he did his job I wouldn’t need to remind him.

I’m sorry to hear about that.

Another one of my “I’m not happy to hear that” quotes.

“Mom, we are out of toilet paper again.”

Mom’s are supposed to have famous quotes.  Years from now when I am gone they’ll have happy memories of their mother’s sayings.  At least I hope they’re happy memories.  If they don’t that’s too bad.


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Yo

A conversation between a teenager and a mother.

Mother walks out of bathroom.  Mother picks up cell phone.  Mother reads text messages from teenage son.

“Hey, Mom.  Can I head to the beach with friends today?” – Tall Boy

“Hello?” – Tall Boy

“Hellloooo?”  Tall Boy

“Yo answer ur phone.  Its not that hard.” – Tall Boy

Mother glares at phone.  Mother types text response.

“Yo.  I was in the bathroom drying my hair and my hearing aids were off.  I couldn’t hear the phone.” – Mother

“Oh. No damage.  Can I go?” – Tall Boy

“Yo, no” – Mother


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High Expectations

Recently, my Old Boy and I had a conversation.  It was about me.  Specifically, it was about my parenting.

“You know, Jim Bob(fake name) told his dad he thinks I am strict.  What do you think about that?  Do you think I am strict?” – Mom

“Jim Bob does not like people telling him what to do.  He also does not have a filter when he speaks.  No, I do not think you are strict, but you do have high expectations.” – Old Boy

Hearing my son tell me I have ‘high expectations’ did not sound like a compliment.  I asked for clarification.

“What do you mean when you say, high expectations?  Do you think I expect too much for you or your brothers?” – Mom

“It is not a bad thing mom.  You just expect your boys to behave.  You also want us to do well in school.  You are a great mom.  Don’t let Jim Bob rattle you.  He does not live with you.  You expect what a mom is supposed to expect from her sons.” – Old Boy

After the conversation, I began to wonder if I have high expectations for my boys?  The answer is yes.  However, my high expectations are part of a bigger parenting picture.  Good parents do have high expectations.  At least I think so.  It is the pressure the child feels toward the parents expectations that is the key.  So far, Old Boy agrees with my expectations.  I suspect there are times I expect too much, but other times I do not expect enough.

What do I have high expectations about, for my boys?  Here is my list…the short list.

Work hard.

This applies to school.  My husband expects the boys to do their best, all the time.  I do not.  I do not do my best all the time, no one does.  What I do expect is that the boys put real effort into their school.  Becoming educated is a gift they give to themselves, not to me.

Communicate

Communication is the foundation of my parenting.  It makes my boys crazy at times, but life involves communicating.  I expect the boys to use their words, not hands or feet to get their message across.  They are also expected to keep us informed and express their emotions.  We are a very emotional bunch.  It is hard at times.   Hearing how hurt the person feels, about something said is not easy, but the alternative is misunderstanding.  Our home is our safe haven.  We tell it like it is.

Take care of yourself and things you own.

I expect them to do all the things needed to care for their bodies:  eat, sleep, bathe and get medical care if needed.  I love them.  I want healthy boys.  I also expect them to take care of their stuff.  Stuff costs money.  Everything my boys have is a result of someone working very hard to give it to them.

Be polite and kind.

This is a big expectation of mine.  I tell the boys often, ‘Being polite and kind is one of most important things in life.”  This includes using manners, being respectful, thinking and helping others, and using kind words.

Contribute to the family.

I expect my boys to help care for the people in our home, as well as the home itself.  Each boy has chores to do, both daily and weekly: walk the dog, help brothers, mow the lawn, make beds, pick up toys and so on.  When they ask why they have to shovel rocks, “I tell them they are part of a family.  Caring for a family is a lot of work.  Everyone must contribute”.

  • I do not expect my boys to fulfill my dreams.
  • I do not expect them to be well-behaved all the time.
  • I do not expect them to have straight A’s in school.
  • I do not expect them to have interests or hobbies similar to mine.
  • I do not expect them to be mistake free.
  • I do not expect them to disclose their private thoughts and feelings.
  • I do not expect them to like my expectations.

Having high expectations, for my boys, does not mean they will happen.  It merely means, I hope they will.

The boys are only with my husband and I for a short while.

The things I expect from my boys are to prepare them for life.  I hope.


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Raising Sensitive Boys

Last night at dinner, the family and I had a bittersweet conversation.  The conversation was about two dear friends of mine, both of which have cancer.  It may seem strange to discuss cancer at the dinner table, but not for us.  My family talks about everything, including difficult topics.
One friend of mine is finishing up his last round of chemo today.  After six long months, his treatment will be done and he can move back into his former life.  I shared the joy I felt for his recovery.
After I shared joy, I remembered another friend’s recent diagnosis with cancer.  My happy face began to change, and tears filled my eyes.  My friend recently became a mother for the first time.  Becoming a mother, has been a dream of hers for a long time.  However, during her pregnancy a tumor was found.  After the baby was born, it was determined the tumor was malignant.  She is now battling cancer.
As spoke I knew my boys were listening.  They were quiet, focused on my words.  They did not get up from the table.   I spoke freely of my joy and concerns.  As I looked at their faces, I realized something.
I am raising sensitive boys. 
Rasing sensitive boys has been a conscious act on my part.  When I refer to being sensitive, I am not saying my boys to cry easily.  What I mean is they have the capacity of being affected or moved, by situations or people.
Since the boys were little, I have worked hard to help them understand their emotions.   Sometimes they cry when they are angry.  Other times they laugh when they are nervous.   By identifying their own emotions, they hopefully will be better able to recognize similar emotions in others.  When a person’s feelings are recognized, it makes them feel valued.  It is how I felt as I shared my story at dinner.
After I finished talking, each boy told me how sorry they were.  One by one they walked over to my side of the dining table and gave me a hug.
Raising sensitive boys, who hopefully will become sensitive men, is no easy task.  The force of a macho male society often works against my efforts.  But even though it is hard at times, I do it anyway.  Too many grown men act in ways that are insensitive.  They act in ways, that seem immune to the pain they cause others.  I do not want that for my boys.
Sharing my life and all the emotions I experience, is my way of rasing sensitive boys.  They are able to ask questions, share thoughts and express feelings about things they hear.  So far, it has worked.
After the boys left the dinner table, I sat alone for a moment.   I took a deep breath.   I realized their concern and love had given me strength.
Strength to move forward, no matter what life brings.


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Repeat and Repeat Again

There are many wonderful joys when it comes of motherhood.  Too bad I cannot think of them right now.  Today I am tired.  Tired of repeating myself over and over.

As the mother of three boys, I estimate I spend over 34% of my time repeating myself.  My kids, think repeating is nagging.  No.  Repeating is merely reminding someone to do something that they should have already done.

My boys are lovely creatures.  However, they seem to suffer from selective listening.  Sometimes they hear me, but most of the time they don’t.  If they do not listen, then I have no choice to repeat what I have said.  If only they would listen the FIRST time, I would never seem a nag.

I pride myself on being an organized.  Being organized means certain things must be done to keep household order.  I know this makes me sound anal, but I assure you I am not.  My requests for the family are simple.

I do not like having to state things over and over.  It is a huge waste of time.  When it come to getting things done, I have two choices.  I can do it myself or I request others to do it.  I prefer the latter.

Here is small sampling of things that get repeated daily.

Put you shoes away.

In my home we have a shoe basket.  When my older boys were little I provided a basket, by the front door,to put shoes in.  For years, it worked wonderfully.  Nowadays, the boys take off their big clunky, shoes where ever the mood strikes.  Big clunky shoes are a hazard.

Repeat after me, “Pick up you bigfoot shoes and put them in the basket.”

Put dirty clothes in the laundry basket.

I love baskets.  I provide them for the family for all sorts of things.  Everyone has a laundry basket.  The task is simple.  Place all dirty clothes in the basket, so when it is time to do laundry, it will get washed.  Simple enough and yet…

Repeat after me, “Why are there dirty clothes all over the floor?  Pick up these clothes and put them in the laundry basket…now!”

Put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher.

No one likes a sink of dirty dishes.  I certainly do not.  And for some reason it does not seem to bother the boys.  They eat constantly.  Luckily, they usually use utensils and plates.  After they have enjoyed a meal or snack, they walk away, leaving the dishes.  Come on, really?  We have gone over this a million times.

Repeat after me, “Hey, what is this?  Why can’t you pick up your dirty dish when you are done?  Put your dirty dish in the dishwasher!”

Brush you hair.  Brush you teeth.  Take a bath/shower.

Honestly, these requests are something no should have to be reminded to do.  If you are greasy and stink, it is a sign you need to bathe.  As for the teeth and hair, if you want friends they both must be brushed…EVERYDAY.

Repeat after me, “What is that smell?  Is that coming from you?  When is the last time you had a shower?  Go take a shower and do not come out until you smell like human again.”

Go to bed.

I love going to bed.  I am puzzled why no one else in my house does too.  Really, what is not to like?  Drifting off to a nice peaceful sleep to recover from the day.  Unfortunately, no one else seems to see the joy in sleeping.

Repeat after me, “Stop goofing around and get in bed.   I am exhausted.  If I hear one more peep out of you I will…do something bad, really bad.”

There are hundreds of other things I repeat over and over to get my boys to do.  Frankly, I am too tired to think of them right now.

Repeat after me, “Maybe if I want things done, I should just do it myself.”