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Mommy's To-Do List: 1. Stop Doing It

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I'm abdicating from my role as mommy do-it-all.

woman putting on lipstick

Beth Falkenstein: My 11-year-old daughter was nearly late for school this morning, because right as I told her to get into the car, she realized that her volcano project -- cliché, I know, but I swear it's the truth -- needed to be protected by a large garbage bag. Sensing my annoyance, she countered with her best defense:"I asked you to get me one!"

Not her best move, as I stood there still wearing my pajamas and only 1/4 of the way to my two-cup caffeine requirement. I denied that she had ever said anything of the sort. She insisted that she had, but that I hadn't answered her."Then perhaps that's because I didn't hear you!" I replied.

So there I was in all my morning glory and sleep deficiency, being reminded that my ears -- along with the rest of me -- are getting older. I clenched my jaw and tried to steady my rising temper with some deep breaths (I probably sounded like a cow wheezing, due to my advanced age). This was not going to end well, unless one of us had the maturity and presence of mind to think this problem through.

My daughter quickly ran to the cupboard and grabbed a garbage bag herself.

The dark clouds in my brain parted, and it wasn't only because of the coffee. I heard angels' voices singing a chorus, and their message was clear: She can clean up her own dishes. She can hang up her own laundry. She can replace her own roll of toilet paper. She can get her own freakin' garbage bags!

To be fair, this entire situation hadn't really been my daughter's fault. It was mine. I've known her since before she knew that she had hands, and she needed me to dress her. Her height used to be measured in inches, and therefore I still had to get the milk down from the top shelf of the refrigerator. Why wouldn't she think I was still her own personal valet and EZ-Grabber ™ reaching tool?

This revelation, however, wasn't entirely liberating. The thought of demanding more self-sufficiency from my youngest child filled me with conflicted emotions as I recognized the depth of my habit. It's like I'm a junkie jonesing on her dependency: If I stop doing all these things for her, then she won't need me anymore!

Pretty deep stuff just because of one lousy garbage bag, huh? Maybe I should stop at just one cup of coffee in the morning.


next: Police: Woman Opens Fire at School Faculty Meeting, Killing 3
4 comments so far | Post a comment now
ROBIN CLICK February 13, 2010, 11:08 PM

I MOST OF ALL WHAT IT IS TO DO FO YOUR KIDS. MY SONS DAD WALKED OUT ALITTLE OVER A MONTH AGO AND LEFT US WITH NOT A DOLLAR AND I HAVE BEEN THE HOME MAKER.HE WOULDNT LET ME WORK.THE 8 YEAR OLD DOES NOT WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH HIM EITHER.HE HAS NEVER BEEN IN OUR LIFE HE A OUT OF TOWN WORKER MAKES OVER 90.000 A YEAR AND LEFT US WITH NOTHING.I TOLD MY SON TO NEVER WORRY MOMMY WOULD SEE THAT HE HAS EVEN IF I HAVE TO SALE MYSELF.HE SAID MOM U CAN’T SALE YOUR SELF OR I WANT HAVE A MOM EITHER AND YOU ARE MY MOM AND MY DAD,PLEASE DON’T SALE YOURSELF. I LOVE MY BOYS WITH ALL MY HEART AND WOULD GO THROUGH THE CRAP AGAIN 4 THEM.GOD BLESS AND PLEASE PRAY FOR US THANK U ROBIN

Swati Bharteey February 15, 2010, 8:39 AM

Oh yikes, you have that right on the money. I just wish I could control the moments when my daughter is self-sufficient and when she is co-dependent! (I vote for the former in the mornings).
Swati

fashion design October 1, 2010, 4:48 AM

Coming from the standpoint of a fellow member with the fashion marketplace, I seriously appreciate your write-up. I’m a visiting tutor at Goldsmiths University, London, and am on the editorial board of an on the net forum for marketplace professionals. I truly appreciate your work.

Ten Tees January 9, 2011, 9:51 AM

Interesting post. Good and fun reading. I have a small point to offer about shirts.


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