The title of this post went through several phases, but no matter what clever way I found to introduce the topic, it still didn’t hit home as well as the original. Mom thirty times- the perfect opener. Just say it to yourself, just once, as a parent- I see that smile creeping in. You understand.
That “mantra” also happens to be part of a famous short video clip from Family Guy. The laugh-invoking animated scene where Stewie walks up to Lois, his Mom, and tries getting her attention.
Click the link here to watch. It’s worth it.
It also happens to be part of my everyday life script. Literally every day. Can you feel my pain? Are you cringing yet? Of course you are, because we’re all in the same boat.
If you are not a parent, this post will leave you laughing. Or cringing. Either way, it will make the margarita you’re sipping on, with your feet up in that quiet home of yours, taste that much sweeter. Did you know studies show the happiest people are ones without children? There’s a great NY Times article written about this topic, titled No Kids for Me, Thanks.
If you do have children, you may also find yourself laughing, but realistically you’ll be shedding a tear or two as well, squeezed out by the realities of our parenting lives.
Go ahead, nod your head in agreement.
Because who hasn’t had the kind of day where, upon hearing your own name more than a handful of times, you want to just lock yourself up in a closet for, say, 10, or 20, maybe even 90 minutes, and not be found?
Well, I have a novel invention, a game. It’s not the kind you’ll find in a box, but the kind you carry with you in you thoughts. Age requirement- the type normally laid out on the front of the game package- is motherhood plus, or rather parenthood plus, for that matter.
The rules are simple. You, the parent, get to hide out in the nearest spot you can find, as soon as you hear thirty or more “Mom”s uttered. The rules are flexible here. I’ve had days where thirty was whiddled down to three. Whether it’s thirty or it’s three you choose, ensure they’re safe, and that the number is achieved- any less could just be reflex- a hiccup in their day.
In my game, you’re allowed to actively hide only after the words, ‘Right here’ have been said. If you want to mumble them under your breath- well, that’s your prerogative, as long as you’ve said them. It’s like a disclaimer, making your temporary absence legal, so that you can’t be held accountable. So much like yelling out ‘safe’ when playing tag- after that, rules no longer apply.
Breaking the Game to the Kids
Here’s how you explain it. Have a little chat as they drift off to sleep, explaining that, as of tomorrow, mommy’s found an exciting new game called ‘Hide and Speak’ (it’s a play-on-words, for those that didn’t quite catch that), where Mommy gets to hide, while munchkin gets to speak. Seeking is optional in my version.
Rub your hands together in evil pleasure as you prepare to play on that snowed in day. Or an after school episode of I’m-so-bored-come-play-with-me. Or even while trying to read on your down time- YOUR down time- and they come finding you.
So next time, when little sweetheart’s words get stuck on ‘repeat’, you will find solace in knowing you’ve still earned brownie points hiding from those little devils, as you play your new game with them and sip on a full-bodied glass of red wine behind the quiet, closed doors of your laundry room.
Afternote: grammar during this freestyle expressive episode- and I may actually have coined a new DSM-IV diagnosis so don’t quote me on that- should be overlooked, as I was in ranting-mommy mode while typing. My endorphin levels have since dropped and I’m cringing at sentence structure and starters. But it all works so I’m leaving it as is.