I never claimed to be like the Mom in the commercials

I wasn’t a diva growing up, but my chore list was minimal – I seem to recall only having to clear the table. It may have had something to do with growing at such a rate that rendered my limbs not moving quite in synch with each other. Doing dishes was left to my parents – we didn’t have a dishwasher and they adorably enjoyed each other’s company so much that they chose to do dishes together and catch up on their day. Us kids were left to lounge on the brown, fuzzy textured sectional, leaving us to watch Cosby Show, Family Ties and whatever else was popular at the time. (As the youngest in a most undemocratic household, I had zero choice in what we watched. As a result, I grew up wayyyyy too fast, being exposed to Mallory and Theodore’s antics at such a young, young age).

My Mom was a homemaker – she did it all. Except on Wednesdays. Wednesdays were called Doris Day. Our cleaning lady would come in and do a half ass job of cleaning our house (I mainly remember resenting her during the summer months and on sick days because she would monopolize our teeny tiny tv while she ironed, watching stupid soap operas). I really didn’t have to do much. My dad took care of outdoor stuff, looking positively pained if I attempted to mow the lawn – during my ska phase, I mowed it in a check pattern. I thought it looked great. My dad saw it as the one last thing he could control in his kingdom. His lawn was now also exploring an alternative lifestyle.

I am not judging them or holding any of this against them, hell no! All of this spare time I had was spent on serious experiments like the mint jelly venture* and trying to catch my teddy bears coming to life.

I have decided though to take a different approach with my kids. They are quite, quite soft and spoiled. I’d give them 5 minutes of survival in the jungle or in a mall where they don’t sell Beanie Boos or Teen Beat magazine. Edie’s idea of roughing it is, um, actually, I really don’t think she does have an idea of what it is! Poor Grace on the other hand is well aware of roughing it. Take for example the night her soft blanket was in the wash, and she couldn’t have it at bedtime. The horror of sleeping with the not- soft- blanket. It was truly tragic. There was also the time we ran out of frozen bananas for her smoothie, and she had to use an unfrozen one with slightly brown peel. Guys, four letters – PTSD, PTS effing D.

So the other day I went upstairs to get the laundry. I usually do this in a catatonic state, not really noticing what is in there and what isn’t (all 1D t-shirts look the same after awhile). As I was sorting the laundry though, I snapped out of my trance and became very, very lucid. Frightening lucid. The reality of what I was looking at shook me to the core. I was sorting laundry that had never soiled, yet was mixed in with the dirty stuff. My laundry life flashed before my eyes – the sorting, the Shouting out, the drying, the folding, the carrying upstairs and the hatred I feel for every step of it.

That’s when I snapped and declared that I was ON STRIKE! There was little reaction (to be honest, I go on strike quite a bit around here, it barely garners a blink). But this time I meant it. I marched her clean mixed with dirty clothes back upstairs and let her know that she could let me know when she wanted a lesson, because I was done with it all.

Fast forward a week later, Grace begged me to do her laundry. She was recycling clothes. No way, I stood my ground. She even got me at my most vulnerable, last night, upon her return from swim practise where she works so hard. She begged me, telling me she was too tired and needed to go to bed, but needed clothes for the next day. I steadied myself and held my ground. No way. She quietly went upstairs, brought her laundry down and asked me how to do it. Victory. She asked if I could “at least” put the clothes in the dryer. I suggested she set her alarm for early morning and do it herself. I heard her at 6:15 this morning loading the dryer.

The clothes remain in the dryer and I told her she has to complete the cycle immediately after school today. She gave me an eye roll only an 11 year old can deliver, but I think she’s going to do it.

I don’t win at much, and I don’t like to gloat, but …..


3 thoughts on “I never claimed to be like the Mom in the commercials

  1. Ugh, we make a half-assed attempt to get the kids to do some token chores around here, but I am a terrible victim of the idea that things are faster and easier if I just do them myself. I’d call it lazy-woman parenting except for the fact that all the cleaning and laundry and cooking doesn’t quite seem to match with the lazy moniker. Hm.

    I love the success story – it’s inspirational!

  2. Oh I LOVE this. LOVE. You are my hero. And I do understand the magic of standing one’s ground…it took weeks (months?) to get that boy to empty the dishwasher without a 17-minute long complaint as to why he can’t do it or why he can’t do it now and why doesn’t his sister…yadayadayada. He’s doing it now, and hasn’t let up. But neither have we.

    But laundry? Oh baby…


  3. I stopped folding laundry for Science Girl a few years ago after I noticed the nicely folded wash tipped out all over her bedroom floor, not put away and now not nicely folded, because she needed the basket for her dirty clothes.

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