TO MY DEAREST CHILDREN
The apples of my eye. I love you, I do, but we need to gain some clarity on a couple of things. I must remind you, I am not your only parent. You know that person you call ‘dada’? The one you run to when mom says, “No”. Not only is he good at hosting wrestling matches and tickle fights, but he is also capable of finding that toy you so desperately need. He can even fetch you your milk and grab you a snack. Big responsibilities, I know, but I assure you he can handle it. I’ve seen the man brilliantly juggle a diaper bag and pulling you in a wagon all while drinking a beer, so I’d like to think requests of this nature are in his wheelhouse as well.
It is not necessary to scream and yell for me from the other room when your father is most likely standing right next to you. Even if he’s not, it’s physically impossible for me to get your juice from the kitchen while I’m peeing in the bathroom. I will take this as a compliment because I’m such a master multi-tasker, but I need you to realize how absurd this request is and utterly improbable it is for me to successfully accomplish both at the same time – not to mention unsanitary.
Maybe while we are figuring out realistic expectations for mommy’s task-handling, can we also work on timing? On a daily basis, when your brother asks for a snack and I inquire if you, too, would like raisins, goldfish, crackers or whatever it is, that is the time to put in a request. I feel as though I’m extending the olive branch and making it easy by offering, yet every time you say, “No”. Then what happens? As soon as I bring your brother his snack, your eyes fall upon whatever edible item rests in that bowl and decide, at that point, you want it. How odd because a minute earlier you had no interest. We do this dance every day. I think we both see what’s happening here. Let’s give mom the benefit of the doubt in knowing you will change your mind after initially refusing. How about next time I ask you if you want something, just humor me and agree.
Also, I’m guessing you want mommy to be the one who makes your lunch and put your shoes on, because let’s face it, no one does it like me. Daddy is a close second, though. He may forget to cut the crusts off. He may not know that your favorite cup is the green dinosaur one. He may not even know your recent obsession is this small plastic tiger that has to be kept track of at all times, otherwise all hell breaks loose. Give him a chance. He’ll catch on. I know you have your doubts, but he’s a quick learner.
TO MY BETTER HALF AND LOVE OF MY LIFE
Underneath those good looks, we know you have the brains to match. Please don’t prove us both wrong by ignoring what’s going on. It’s not your fault our kids automatically turn to me for all their needs, but I need you to intervene the best you can. When our kids are screaming for me while you are sitting next to them, maybe ask if you can lend a hand. If I can hear them in a different room on the opposite side of the house, I know can you hear them too.
Maybe to help the situation, I’ll excuse myself and escape the house more often. I’m willing to make this sacrifice for the good of our family. Without me around as an option, you all will be able to better acquaint yourselves with one another. I’m sure everyone will be ok and no one will starve or die of thirst.
I must admit some fault here. As a mom, I possess a sixth sense, predicting their needs and wants. I can pick their voices out of a crowd without question, so suffice it to say, it only takes one time for me to hear them for me to react. This heightened awareness is a gift and a curse. Intensely sensitive to everything involving them makes me increasingly vulnerable to be their primary point person when needing anything and everything.
Time to stop enabling this situation. Time to take a step back. Time to stop acting with immediate haste. Time to give my husband an opportunity to respond to their request. And if all else fails, I’ll just tell the kids to go ask their father. After awhile, it might just catch on.
(This post originally appeared on Bless This Beautiful Mess)
About the author: Ashleigh Wilkening is a SAHM of three children under the age of four who spends most of her days on a never-ending quest for a lost toy. She is a lover of caffeine, naps and a generously poured glass of cabernet. On the rare occasion she gets free time, she contemplates taking a nap in the family van, but finds herself exercising as it’s a more legitimate excuse to escape the house. She writes at Bless This Beautiful Mess and can be found on Twitter and Facebook.