Today, as many other days, I found myself preaching to the proverbial choir; my children. As I always make an attempt at doing, I tried to speak with reflection on past discussions and with my best attempt at calm through my clinched teeth and forced patience.
I’m going to make this short and sweet because it hit me, really hit me hard in the gut, that I truly hoped my kids learned something from me during their years at home.
All kids do it. They sit there and “listen” as a parent preaches at them. Tells them what is expected. Explains why they are being punished. Blah, blah, blah. The whole time, thinking in their little child brains, “Is she ever going to just shut up? Maybe if I sit really still and look at her forehead she will think that I’m paying attention and shut up.” I did the same thing. I’m wise to their game; only this time, I’m the old lady that won’t shut up and I just. keep. talking. (Sometimes on purpose.)
This time was different. This time, something would be taken away from my nearing 41 year old, mother of three, gibberish. (And by the way, not going to be short and sweet as I had hoped) This time, I was speaking of a box. An imaginary box but, a box nonetheless. This box, like many other boxes, begins empty. This box then is filled with tiny pieces of well, shit. Yes. Let’s use shit as a prime example. A box is only capable of holding so much shit and then, it’s done. It’s filled with all these little bits of shit and there is now no room left for the big pieces of shit. It’s nearing impossible to carry without help. Now, let’s equate that box of little bits of shit to one’s ability to handle all “the little things” that we are told our entire lives that we should let go.
One can only handle so much before all the little things turn into one big solid THING and its a whole lot harder to rid yourself of that heavy, huge box than one that is halfway or even a quarter of the way full. So, for every little thing that is kept out of the box, there is room for something else. I know, I know. All this talk of shit and boxes; all this is confusing me so, my kids were probably fucked from the get-go.
At this point, the look of confusion is too much to bear and I start giving examples such as small chores. One of which I had assigned them in the past was wiping the table down after every meal. This is not a hard chore. This is not a cumbersome or time consuming chore. It is three (sometimes) times a day and one can accomplish this in two minutes. Three times a day x two minutes = six minutes. Six minutes from their day. Could they spare SIX minutes in order to rid that box of some of the little shit so that I didn’t lose MY shit? The look on their faces was that of, “Well, of course. It’s ONLY six minutes.”
The conversation continued on as I tried to impress upon them that I am NOT trying to be the bitch mom. However, I had tried to be the nice mom, the bitch mom, the friend mom, the spoiling mom. I have been the yelling mom. I have been the begging mom and the pleading mom. I have been the bargaining mom(which I swore I would never be) and I have been the Southern-beat-your-ass-with-a-belt mom. I have taken all of their things. I have donated and given away, sold and trashed their shit. What would it take?
Here lies where I bring up THE stupidest rule as mom that I have EVER heard but, have been forced to well, enforce. The “All for one, one for all” rule. If one of you acts stupid, all of you get punished. My kids ages are 12, 11 and 4. Take a minute and let that soak in. Now, isn’t that “rule” the most asinine shit you have ever heard of? But, it’s the only thing that works. The 4 year old fucks up when you’re with him, all three get punished. The oldest one steals snacks, everyone loses that particular snack. I think that you get the idea. If you are a parent and reading that, is that not the most ridiculous shit? Hell, if you are not a parent and read that; fucking ridiculous. It makes no sense but, it. fucking. works.
Now, here is where it hit me that I truly hope that one day in their lives, they will have that “A-ha” moment that I spoke of earlier. I looked at the eldest and told him that eventually he will have a job, maybe a home of his own. It may be a first job working at a fast food joint with a table that he has to wipe down for a customer or it may be his own table that he needs to wipe off to feed his own kids. I hope that if it’s him or if it’s one of his brothers; in that one second of thought, I hope it goes back to my words from today; “…it was only six minutes”. Six minutes that can help another person more than they will ever know. Six minutes that may just take a lot of that little shit out of someone’s box and make it a little lighter for them to carry.