Category Archives: Women

(Kid)-free at last, (kid)-free at last

Hey, do you guys remember what it was like before you had kids? Like, what you used to do on a typical pre-spawn Saturday, when you had a million hours stretched out in front of you where you could do anything you wanted? And, most importantly, if candy tasted better eaten out in the open instead of while huddled in a corner of a locked bathroom, like a junkie mainlining M&M’s?

Yeah. Me neither. Apparently there gets to be a certain point in parenthood where you can’t remember what it was like before you spent 85 percent of your day refilling sippy cups. Personally, I think this forgetfulness is a survival instinct. Your brain suppresses those pre-child memories so that your head doesn’t explode when you have to get up at 5 a.m. on a Saturday now and get ready and cook breakfast that no one eats and deal with three tantrums before finally getting them to soccer practice and then head to the grocery store because you’re out of milk and then immediately head back to the store when you drop the milk in the driveway and it explodes all over everything and then you look at the clock and it’s only 9:15 a.m. and you cry a little.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because at the end of this month, I will have four glorious days all to myself. No kids. No husband. No dog. Just me and my questionable decision-making skills, all alone. I’m heading to a beloved friend’s wedding in Portland, Oregon, and there will quite literally be an entire continent between me and my responsibilities.

And. I. Can’t. Wait.

I’ve never been away from my kids. Oh sure, an hour or three here or there but never overnight and certainly never in a long enough time frame for me to permanently ruin whatever is left of my tattered reputation. And I plan to fully take advantage of this particular gift I have been granted by the grace of the parenting gods and my friend Adriana’s airline points.

Because, see, a lot of moms will tell you that “I don’t even know what I’d do with myself without my kids.” Seriously, I Googled “What do moms do when they are away from their kids?” and the pickins were slim. It seemed to be a tie between blogs where moms boringly describe “it was great for 15 minutes but then I just missed the kids so much, so I just sat here like a lump until they came back” and news articles about moms who run away from their children permanently. Because even in motherhood, we women are still reduced down to the sinner/saint, madonna/whore archetype.

But not me. Oh no. I’m hitting that sweet spot right in the middle where I’m going to run off and do awful things and not feel guilty once and then come home to my loving family smelling like happiness and stale beer.

So, first things first, I’m going to start off slow. I want to read a book. Read all the books, in fact. And every newspaper and magazine from the last three years.

nappers 4

Then I will drink all the booze. ALL OF IT.

Sleep in. Until 7 a.m. Maybe even 7:30.

Take a long, long, long shower. Or hell, a bath. And then actually style my hair into something other than “messy bun.” Like “purposefully messy bun.” And then I will pluck my eyebrow until there are two again.

Eat a cheeseburger for breakfast and an entire cheesecake for dinner. WITHOUT having to share ANY of it.

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Make a huge mess. And don’t clean it up.

Run around my hotel room naked.

Run around the hotel naked.

RUN AROUND THE ENTIRE CITY NAKED.

Smoke a cigar with some old men wearing fedoras.

Steal one of the fedoras and run away laughing maniacally.

Set my daily planner on fire and cover my face with the ashes and do a ritual pagan dance to every known deity devoted to chaos.

Write my novel!

Start a rock band!

Finally learn to juggle those fire sticks!

Buy a bunch of spray paint and become the new Banksy!

Rob a bank and give all the money to the poor!

I WILL DO ALL THE THINGS.

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Right after I buy my kids a bunch of souvenirs and text my husband dirty hotel room nudes, of course.

 

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Shut up, I’m tired (& other wise parental sayings)

I remember it like it was yesterday. But really it was this morning. I think. It’s hard telling. When you’re the parent of small children, roughly one thousand things happen between now and 30 minutes ago. Most of them involving bodily fluids. So, time is fluid, to say the least. (Shut up, I’m writing this on two hours sleep).

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Awful puns aside, the other day I was playing with my kids at the park when a pair of elderly ladies passed by us. While I was innocently watching my children put things in their mouth that did NOT belong, these ladies oh-so-rudely interrupted our private stick-gnawin’ good time with the unsolicited demand that I “enjoy this, it goes by so fast.” To which I replied “UGH, I’M TRYING!” but the women were already gone because I was too busy pulling the aforementioned sticks out of both kids’ mouths before I could respond. I would have been irritated by the whole thing too, except I then had to immediately teach my toddler to “discreetly” go potty behind a tree and wrassle a squirrel away from the baby (who, despite my best efforts, has turned completely feral).

Is there any phrase we busy moms hate to hear more than “enjoy it, it goes by so fast”? Yes. “Uh-oh, Mommy, I pooped my pants” is pretty high up there. But the former is in at least the Top Five.

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If there is a refrain to the melody that is modern parenting, that’s it. Enjoy it! It goes by so fast! *intense pots and pans drum solo* Repeat 1,000 times. Win a Grammy. (Grammy, in this case, means a grandmother, who you call crying hysterically, demanding they come visit immediately if they want to continue having grandchildren).

I don’t know if it has always been this way, since technically I only became a mom three years ago when a gigantic red-headed Viking baby exited my body, but there does seem to be immense pressure put on parents today to enjoy every single little moment. We are told this by strangers we pass on the street, by our own parents, by friends whose children are now awful, moody teenagers. I was even told to “enjoy it, it goes by so fast” by another mom whose daughter was only 6 months older than my toddler.

So, let me put this in no uncertain terms. I do enjoy spending time with my children. I enjoy the crap out of it.

NOW GET OFF MY BACK.

I put my phone down when they are playing at the playground, lest I miss one glorious minute of them going down the slide and/or eating old cigarettes butts from the ground.

On the flip side, if they even DARE touch my phone to play some annoying game while I am busy staring deep into their beautiful eyes, I throw the phone out the window. What’s the cost of a new phone compared to the possibility I might miss one of their adorable blinks?

I hold them. All the time. At this point, my body is like one of those foam memory mattresses, molded to the exact shape of my kids’ bony-ass bodies.

I once thought about getting a babysitter to go get a haircut and maybe a glass of wine but decided against it at the last minute. What if while I was gone I missed a major milestone? Like my baby saying her 17th word or my toddler discovering that all breakfast foods are not, in fact, icky? I may have stringy witch hair that hangs to my waist and look like an Amish cautionary tale, but I WAS THERE THE DAY MY SON ATE HIS FIRST POPTART, DAMMIT.

And while, and please don’t judge me, I let them watch (gasp) TV, I make sure to record them watching these shows, which I will rewatch while lying in bed instead of going to sleep because EVERY BREATH THEY TAKE IS PRECIOUS.

Ok? Ok? OK!?! IT ALL GOES BY SO FAST. I AM WELL AWARE OF THIS. And even me reassuring you that I am doing my best not to miss a single moment is making me miss a moment. A moment I will never get back! I haven’t even peed since they’ve been born! Too much time away from them! And yet, there you are, making me miss precious seconds with them so I can let you know I don’t want to miss a single second with them!

So, no need to remind me that it’s more important to play with them on the floor than to clean the floor. My floor is super gross. So is my kitchen. So is my entire house. Not an episode of “Hoarders” gross but it definitely is “my kids have wicked strong immune systems” gross.

And now all I want is to sit back and relax and enjoy the fact that I’m enjoying everything. Which I will do. As soon as I finish negotiating with my son how many chicken nuggets lawfully equal a popsicle for dessert and pull my baby out from under the couch where she is currently hiding with the squirrel she stole from the park.

It’s time we had the talk

Hey. Hi. How are you doing? Busy? Yeah, me too. But if you have a minute, could you come over here? *pats couch* Oh, you’d rather stay there? Sure, no problem. We can just do this right here in the kitchen then.

Look, I know this won’t be easy. But it’s time. We’ve put this off for long enough. I know, I know. I’ve been dreading it too. But…sigh…

We need to talk.

How long have we been together now? Going on seven years, isn’t it? And hey, I’ll be the first to admit it hasn’t been perfect. I’ve said and done things I’m not proud of. Flipping you off and throwing spaghetti at you was not one of my finer moments. Nor was that profanity-laced tirade last month when I unfairly blamed you for breaking my favorite wine glass. You know, the giant one that can fit an entire bottle of wine in it? But you’re far from perfect too. Ok? You’ve flooded my kitchen. Twice.

We’ve made it work though. Somehow, through it all, we’ve made it work.

Oh, but dishwasher, lately it seems you are trying to hurt me on purpose. Every night, no matter what was cooked or what was eaten, there is always that one dish left over on the counter that simply won’t fit inside you. I rearrange, and rearrange, and rearrange again. But it just won’t fit. Sometimes it’s a plate, sometimes a pan, sometimes a sippy cup or two. It doesn’t matter what. All that matters is that it’s always SOMETHING.

And I don’t feel I’m exaggerating when I say that the one thing that won’t fit in you is ruining my life.

Now wait, wait, wait. Don’t get mad. Just listen. Because I know I’m asking a lot more of you these days. We have two kids now. We basically doubled the size of our family in just a few short years. And even though it’s only two kids, it pretty much tripled your workload. I’ll be the first to admit those tiny, adorable creatures are super gross. Especially when it comes to food. The sheer amount of leftover ketchup we force down your throat now…I mean, just gallons of it. You really have been a champ about all of it.

But that is no reason to start slacking off. To start being petty and refusing to fit ALL the dinner dishes inside your, let’s be honest, cavernous insides. No, no, no. I don’t mean anything by that. Only that there seems to be ample room in there. And yet, there’s that one pot still sitting on the stove. Unable to fit. I mean, what am I supposed to do? Wash it by HAND? Does the technology to do that even EXIST anymore?  

Oh, well yes, if you must know, I have had a few glasses of wine already, but that has nothing to do with this. And you can take that judgmental tone out of your voice, DISHWASHER. Who are you to judge me? I wouldn’t even let my smartphone talk to me like that and it’s my best friend.

Sigh…look, we’re getting off track here. Let’s just breathe and regroup.

I just want the kitchen clean. For once. Can you understand that desire? Just completely, undeniably clean when I wake up in the morning. It’s a small thing, but thanks to those beautiful ketchup-guzzlers I gave birth to, my life has devolved into utter chaos. And there are days where I am barely holding on. I need just one little, small, tiny area of my life that is orderly and tidy, especially since I have ceded the rest of the household territory to my savage heathen offspring and their army of toys. They’ve even laid siege to the bathroom with their giant militia of bathtub duckies.

So, that space, MY space, has to be the kitchen. But when I wake up in the morning after yet another night of not enough sleep and see there are still dirty dishes, it pushes me into an IRRATIONAL RAGE that I find hard to CONTROL because I spend all DAY trying to be Mary FREAKING Poppins, only WITHOUT THE PAYCHECK, and since I SWALLOW MY ANGER ALL THE TIME IT HAS TO BE UNLEASHED SOMEWHERE AND RIGHT NOW THAT IS ON YOU.

*heavy panting*

Sorry. That was uncalled for. Let’s just calm down and try this again. I’ll move this plate over here…and put this up here…flip this skillet the other way…and…ahhhhhhh…JUST FIT ALL THE STUPID DISHES INSIDE YOUR STUPID BIG DUMB FACE, DISHWASHER! JUST DO IT! DO IT, DO IT, DO IT!

AND BY THE WAY, I KNOW IT WAS YOU WHO BROKE THE WINE GLASS!

*grabs bottle of wine and storm out in a huff*

The Summer of Aprill!

This summer, you guys. This is the summer. The summer I will think back on when I’m old in rosy, golden, Instagram hues. Full of sunsets and ice cream on the porch and ridiculous neon-colored cocktails. My husband and I, still somewhat youthful and virile, our two children still small enough to be enchanted with bubbles and sprinklers; all of us just grabbing this summer by its humid balls and not letting go until mid-September.

The summer of adventure!

The summer of picnics!

The summer of books!

The summer of road trips!

The summer of the sandwich because it is too bloody hot to cook!

Oh yes. This summer, you guys. I want each day to end with dirty faces and even dirtier feet, piles of wet clothes and towels on the floor, and then for someone else to clean it all up.

(Well, two out of three ain’t bad).

We even have an almost real vacation planned. Three whole days in a tiny lakeside cottage in New Hampshire. In which the contents of our cooler will consist of only grillable meat and booze. Because it’s the summer of coolers full of grillable meat and booze!

Sigh. It’s going to be perfect.

Except.

Because of course there is an “except.” You wouldn’t be reading this if there wasn’t an “except.” No one wants to hear about how happy people are. Myself included. Gross.

So…

Except for one very important detail. And it’s the same detail pretty much every summer. That torturous, barbaric act of beauty known as having to shave on a regular basis. Legs, underarms, lady parts; not to mention, a few other new and fun areas because I am now in my mid-30’s and hair follicles are just springing up willy-nilly like a surprise birthday party from Hell.

And I just. can’t. anymore.

Oh sure, having to de-hair my entire body roughly every other day for four months straight might seem like a small thing in regards to the Big Picture. I mean, there are people out there with Real Problems. But when you are expected to be completely smooth and hairless and yet have a body where your shins are sporting a 5 o’clock shadow no matter how thorough you are in the shower, it tends to put a damper on the season.

See, I am one of those lucky women who is naturally *insert bad Eastern European accent here* hairy like Russian bear. It’s dark. It’s thick. It regrows at an almost illegal speed. I would survive well in the Siberian wilderness.

I have to use men’s razors, y’all. And only then because using a weed whacker seems ill-advised. And not just any men’s razors. The kind with, like, six blades and descriptive words like “turbo” and “titanium” and “also works for sad, hairy ladies.”

And every sunshiney morning, it’s the same thing. Dragging my stubbly ass into the shower. Standing there dejectedly as the hot water rains down. Looking at my titanium turbo double-edge sad hairy lady men’s razor and sighing dramatically. Internally debating whether I can make it one more day without shaving or will stories of local Sasquatch sightings start popping up on the local news. Knowing deep down I have to shave. Again. Then alternating between crying and launching into an angry internal feminist rant about archaic beauty rituals meant to keep women in their place.

And please don’t tell me the solution is to get waxed. I haven’t had my hair cut in 18 months and am sporting a full-on Amish look currently because I can’t get my life together enough to make an appointment at the salon. Plus, I had both my children via cesarean and am kind of done with having things brutally ripped from my body.

No, the only real solution here is to somehow convince society that letting women have body hair is ok. Because it should be. Because it’s ridiculous. Because I added it up. I roughly waste 74 hours of my summer doing this awful ritual and for what? It serves no real purpose. It’s not like I’m trying to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming.

I get why Michael Phelps has to shave his whole body. I don’t get why I have to. *grumpily crosses arms*

So, what do you say, society? Huh? Hairy women? All of us in our natural state! Let’s do this! Viva la revolucion!

Anyone? No? Hello? Sigh.

Fine.

*grabs scythe and heads back into the bathroom*

36 Things I’ve Learned in 36 Years

  1. Life is too short to waste time matching socks.
  2. Small children are the funniest people on the planet.
  3. Humidity is dumb.
  4. The best thing you can save up your money for is a family vacation. I don’t remember what gifts I got for my birthday three years ago or what I had for breakfast yesterday or even where I set down my youngest child just now, but I remember every vacation since childhood with startling clarity.
  5. Embrace your inner nerd.
  6. A good bra changes EVERYTHING.
  7. Yelling at your kid to stop yelling is pretty ineffectual.
  8. The cheap water tastes exactly the same as the expensive fancy water.
  9. Humans are complicated. Stop expecting everything to be in black and white.
  10. Sit down for family meals as often as you can.
  11. Never waste more than 10 seconds cringing over an awkward social interaction. Deep down we’re all hot messes who still can’t remember your name even though you’ve told us three times already.
  12. I literally have no opinion about coconut oil. I feel the world would be a better place if more people followed my example.
  13. If other parents are judging you because your kid is misbehaving in public and their kid never does, just remember that their kid is probably going to grow up to be a serial killer.
  14. BACK. UP. YOUR. PHOTOS. Then back them up again. Then print them out and put them in a photo album. Then seal that album up in a climate-controlled, fire-proof, nuclear fallout safe room deep in the heart of a mountain.
  15. Sometimes, no matter how much it hurts or how much you dread it or how wrong it seems, you just have to bite the bullet and do what’s best for your family and sign your toddler up for soccer.
  16. Cursing is awesome. That’s why kids can’t wait to grow up. So they can finally curse.
  17. Never ask a man for his chili recipe.
  18. Never ask a woman to do the dishes on chili night.
  19. Why do so many people have so many strong opinions about what drinks other people order at Starbucks? I know technically this isn’t some piece of wisdom I’m sharing but I genuinely want to know.
  20. Teach your kids the proper names. It’s “penis” and “vagina.” They’re just body parts. No one refers to arms as “hoo-ha’s” and legs as “run sticks.”
  21. Rejection and failure aren’t an end but a beginning. No great story starts with “they were born and then they immediately succeeded.”
  22. It’s okay to have a cupcake for breakfast. It’s basically a muffin with a better wardrobe.
  23. Children have bad days too.
  24. Don’t ask your friends to spend a small fortune celebrating your birthday.
  25. Please stop telling pregnant women every horrific birthing story you’ve ever heard. They’re stressed out enough.
  26. The average ninja knows over a hundred ways to kill you. The average baby knows over a thousand ways to kill themselves.
  27. Teach your kids how to execute a proper high-five. Because approximately one out of every three strangers they encounter will want to high-five them.
  28. If you’re on a date and they order their steak “well done,” RUN.
  29. Home is where the giant pile of never-ending laundry is.
  30. The best way to calm a child during a tantrum is to not have children.
  31. Climbing trees is still fun.
  32. Try to remember when you’re freaking out because you haven’t started saving for retirement yet that all the stress will probably kill you before you even get a chance to retire.
  33. Marriage is 10 percent unconditional love and 90 percent trying to figure out what to eat for dinner.
  34. Support people’s dreams. Unless their dreams are dumb. Then just shut up and politely nod as they explain the confusing plot of their as-yet-unwritten fantasy novel.
  35. Potty training is a war. You need a good strategy. There are no winners.
  36. “There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.”

Requiem for a nap

It was all planned out. A perfect Friday. A beautiful summer day. A much-needed antidote to the stress and chaos of the four previous days. All I needed to do was stick to the plan and we would slide easily into the weekend.

Just stick to the plan.

Wake up. Breakfast. Episode of “Sesame Street” to hypnotize the kids so I can squeeze in a luxurious three-minute shower. Wrestle horribly designed tiny shoes on two pairs of tiny squiggly feet. Then a leisurely walk to the playground followed by a walk to the local bakery for some giant cookies. It is Friday, after all. Take the long way back. Wear ‘em out.

It’s all part of the plan.

Home. Impromptu dance party. Lunch, which no one will eat because of the giant cookies but who cares? It’s Friday. We’re so close to the end. To the weekend. To having Daddy’s help with the tantrums and the diaper changes and the baths and the “what did you swallow?”

Story time. Just two books. OK, fine, three. Sigh, alright, four but that’s it. I mean it. Potty break. Five minutes of chasing naked toddler around to put his underwear back on. Time for your nap. Twelve minute of dealing with the pre-nap meltdown. Three minutes in the corner for hitting his baby sister. Four minutes soothing said hit baby.

Nap. Time.

Now.

Get in bed.

Three songs. OK, four. Five, but I mean it. That’s it.

Brief discussion of why the sky is blue. Even briefer discussion about how cool trains are.

Hug. Kiss. Love you. Night-night.

One down, one to go.

Change diaper. Heat up bottle. Sit down in rocker. Insert bottle. Realize urgent need to pee. Lay baby on floor with bottle. Go pee to the glorious symphonic sounds of abandoned baby screaming. Pick her back up. Sit in the rocker. Insert bottle. Relax. Realize TV remote is across the room. Get it. Sit back down in the rocker. Hear older kid yelling for Mommy. Get up.

What, sweetie?

I get up now?

No.

Close door.

Sit back down in the rocker. Where’s the remote? It was just here. Sigh.

Just get her to sleep. A vital part of the plan. Long afternoon nap for the two of them. When they wake up, pop in a movie. Order dinner. Maybe open a wine? I mean, it IS Friday. Then BOOM, Daddy is home and I get some relief.

Bottle halfway gone. Any minute now she should be closing her eyes. Start singing lullaby. Three-fourths gone. Eyes wide open. No need to worry. She’ll fall asleep before it’s gone. She has to.

It’s all part of the plan.

All gone. She’s giggling now. Struggling to get up out of my arms. No worries. Adjust the plan a bit. Twenty minutes of play and she’ll be out like a light.

OK, 45 minutes.

An hour.

Maybe try laying her down in the crib.

Seventeen minutes of impossibly loud dying pterodactyl screams. Pick her back up before she wakes her brother. At least all that screaming probably wore her out.

Nope.

This wasn’t part of the plan.

Thirty more minutes of singing, swaying, silently praying. She finally passes out. Ten blissful minutes go by. I close my eyes. And immediately hear her brother wake up. Sigh. Get up. Put her in the crib. Watch in horror as her eyes pop open and she starts wailing like a banshee. Pick her back up. Get the toddler up. Note he’s super grumpy.

Terrific.

Try plying both whining kids with crackers. Realize the dog hasn’t been outside to go potty yet. Try putting down baby who is clinging to me like I’m the last life boat on the Titanic. Give up. Comically try to balance dog, baby and poop bag. Go back inside. Pop in a movie. No, Mommy, not that one. Pop in a different movie. Order food. They’re slammed right now. It’ll be an hour and half.

Wonderful.

Say screw it. Open wine. Pick up sobbing puddle of baby gravy at my feet. Get text from husband. He’s running late. Traffic is awful. Be home as soon as he can.

Allow 45-second pity party in head. Then get toddler his juice.

Go to take sip of wine. MOMMY! She’s grabbing my cars!

I thought you wanted to watch this movie.

No, I want to play with my cars.

Grab baby. Soothe now crying car-less baby. Repeat for what feels like forever.

Food arrives. Feed kids. Steal a fry while looking longingly at your own neglected sandwich. Get more ketchup. Get more juice. Get more baby food. Get more napkins. Look longingly at still full wine glass. Clean up kids.

Play chase. Kiss boo boo.

Daddy’s home!

Chaos ensues.

How was your day?

The usual. Offer tired smile.

I love you.

Love you too.

I love you, too, Mommy!

Baby giggles.

Sigh. Let the stress drain away.

And hey, at least it’s the weekend, sweetie!

Yes. We made it.

Despite the plan.

 

Violating child labor laws & other perks of parenting

I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before. I’m guessing it has something to do with a mother’s natural inclination to try to do everything herself. I mean, it’s hard to juggle 37 things at once by yourself. But it can often be harder to ask someone to jump in and match your exact rhythm to help you keep all those balls in the air.

Mom: I need help!

Random family member: Sure. What can I do to…

Mom: AH! WHY DID YOU LET ALL THOSE BALLS DROP!?!

Random family member: *lying on floor, dazed* Because you just threw 18 things at me in rapid succession.

Mom: Never mind! I’ll do it all myself! *murmurs what sounds suspiciously like curse words under her breath*

But after the 2,091st time cooking breakfast while trying to set the table while constantly hurdling small children and animals and toys while on a tight timetable, I finally realized something had to give. And that’s when I had my epiphany.

“Riker, come here, please!” I hollered to my 3-year-old from over the baby gate that separates the kitchen from the dining room.

“What, Mommy?” he said, looking up at me with those big, liquid, beautiful, trusting, brown eyes.

“Can you put this ketchup and butter on the table for me?”

“Oh! Sure, Mommy!”

And off he ran to do my biding, his little feet pitter-pattering and a giant smile on his face.

But that’s not the best part. Oh, no. Because the best part is he came BACK. And asked “what else, Mommy?”

“Holy crap,” I thought to myself. “How have I not thought of this before? Children are just glorified servants. I can make him help me…Sweet patron saint of stressed out mothers, I can pretty much make him do anything. FOR I AM HIS MAKER!”

And so, after suppressing what can only be described as an evil laugh, I handed him the plates. And then the silverware. And the napkins. And the baby’s bowl of gross, healthy mush. And our grown-up platters of unhealthy carbs and animal lard.

And just like that, my child set the table. I was so happy I could have cried (if I still felt any emotion other than “tired”).

Of course, don’t get the wrong idea. We aren’t “those” parents or anything. My husband and I make our son pick up his toys every night before bed (which requires heavy supervision) and we ask him to get the occasional diaper for his sister (which occasionally results in him actually getting us a diaper for his sister). We are firmly in the “kids should clean and do chores” camp. That whole “but children should just enjoy childhood” ideology is a completely foreign concept to us. I enjoyed my childhood, despite being forced to vacuum the world’s ugliest carpet with the world’s most ancient and heavy vacuum cleaner. And don’t even get my husband started on his childhood job delivering newspapers, which involves a story where he fell asleep under a tree during a snowstorm but, by God, everyone got their paper that day. And yes, it was uphill and 17 miles. Barefoot.

However, the concept of making my toddler do things that are actually helpful and not just things so he doesn’t grow up to be a horrible, entitled brat? That hadn’t occurred to me until that very moment.

Admittedly, it is strange it took me this long to piece it together. America is a country built pretty much on the concept of two people having kids JUST SO they would have help on the farm. Or with the family business. Or to bump up ratings on their reality TV show. In fact, I bet if you go back throughout all of history, there is evidence that every civilization exploited their kids for labor.

Viking mom: Ragnar! Come help me put this decapitated head on a pike!

Roman Empire mom: Remus! Come help clean up all this Caesar blood before it stains!

1920’s flapper mom: Ricky! It’s your turn to stir the bathtub gin!

But although this is new territory to me, I’m quickly getting the hang of it. Now when he spills something, I make HIM clean it up (and then clean it up after he cleans it up because he’s three and awful, just terrible, at it). When I dust, he gets a dust rag too now (as does his baby sister because fair is fair and she likes chewing on it). And just yesterday, he helped me fold (throw) laundry into a giant pile and sweep (hit his father with a Swiffer) the house.

It’s enough to make you wonder if we should maybe have more kids.

HAHAHAHAHA!

Just kidding. I’d sell a kid before deciding to make another one. But this has opened our eyes to a whole new world of opportunities.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to buy a power washer and some duct tape to attach my toddler’s hands to it because our porch is looking pretty dingy.