November 18, 2008

Mean Moms

Yesterday morning in the car I listened to a sermon on the radio. At one point the preacher read some children's quotes about what a mom is. One kid said, "A mom is a mixture of puffy clouds and angel hair with a dab of mean."

You better believe it, brother, I'm puffy, hairy and mean.

My sister just sent me the following email:

Evan overheard me telling Nina to take a shower this morning. When he came down after his shower he saw that she was dressed but didn't shower.
"Mom, didn't you tell Nina to shower?"
"But why is she already dressed? She has to take a shower too."
I know. I told her but she refused.
"Tell her again."
I did but she won't do it.
"Can't you just make your face look angrier?"

He knows she can, but even mean mothers get too tired sometimes. Lucky I'd taken my Omega 3's and calcium this week.

One of my children, who shall remain nameless but anyone who's had kids between the ages of 7 and 16 knows exactly what age I'm talking about, was disobedient for the umpteenth time - with an emphasis on teen - and his father, painting the basement, told him to go outside and rake the yard. Believe me when I tell you he should have been raking the nearest state park. What father didn't know was that it was really really windy outside, probably the windiest day of the fall yet.

As I passed the living room window, I saw the youngun raking the leaves toward the curb and watching them blow all over the street, into our neighbors' yards, straight up into the sky, etc. He stopped, leaned on his rake and stood still, watching the wind throw the leaves wherever it fancied. I read the boy's body language and it said, "#!*#~ & @##!" About fifteen minutes later the boy came into the kitchen, ostensibly to get a drink. His voice had a tone that seemed to hint that we, his parents, were quite idiotic to think that a person could rake on a day like that. He said that the work he was doing out there was - and I quote - "99.9% ineffective."

What's a mother to say, poor thing. "Well," I offered, "go back out, keep raking, and realize that's exactly how we feel trying to parent you right about now."

At one point or another, I'm willing to bet most parents have felt that parenting their teen is a little like raking leaves in a windstorm. He went back out, fake laughing at my funny. I wonder if it ever dawned on him that I was not joking, as his arms grew weary working the rest of the afternoon hours.

He was barely able to salute me the next morning.

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