An Open Letter to My Family

No, no, don't be silly! Why would I mind mopping up the footprints even though I just cleaned?
No, no, don’t be silly! Why would I mind mopping up the footprints even though I just cleaned?

Dear Family,

Let’s clear up a few lingering misconceptions.

I do not say “No” all the time.

I think you’ll find that if you take into account the number of questions fired at me on a daily basis the percentage of questions answered with ‘no‘ is actually quite small. In fact, my life would be immeasurably easier if more of my daily questions could be answered with a simple ‘no’ as opposed to reading between the lines, teasing out sarcasm, making educated guesses as to where homework was left, having to Google it, or remembering where you last put the overdue library book.

Speaking of, while I am thrilled that you all put so much faith in my aging, faulty memory, even at my best, I wouldn’t be able to recall where you put the slanted, four-by-two Lego piece that’s missing from the Death Star or the drawing of Phineas you made two years ago after binge watching he and Ferb for a week. It’s why I direct you to look under your bed, with the dust dinosaurs–the ones that I valiantly attempted to evict last week but had to retreat from in the interest of safety. Actually, that leads me directly to my next point.

Contrary to what you all seem to believe, I don’t enjoy cleaning. Or cooking, food shopping, dusting, laundry, turning socks the right way out, meal planning, mopping, or folding clothes only to find them rolled and stuffed into drawers. On occasion I don’t mind baking brownies, but as a general rule of thumb, it’s work for me. I don’t do it out of love for you or to make your life easier. I do it because the idea of living in squalor grosses me out enough that I’ll drag the vacuum out once a week and chuck some cleaner in the toilet bowl. When you track in your muddy boot prints, leave your clothes in a heap on the floor, or generally leave a breadcrumb trail of male detritus for me to follow, it just makes more work for me. I don’t ask you to pick up after yourselves to be mean, I do it because I don’t want to have to clean more than I already do.

And then their little faces just fell and I laughed and laughed and laughed….
And then their little faces just fell and I laughed and laughed and laughed….

And for the record, I did not receive a pamphlet entitled How to Make Your Family’s Life Miserable in 10 Easy Steps upon your birth. I did not receive one in the mail called 101 Excuses When “I’ve Got a Headache” Stops Working upon taking my marriage vows. Despite what you seem to think at times, I’m not a Mom Dementor, intent on sucking all traces of happiness from you and leaving you empty, withered husks. For one thing, guess who’d have to clean them up?

So see, despite winning the contested crown of worst mom in the galaxy not to mention the worst toast-cutter in the world award, I think I’m doing ok. Despite being told on a daily basis that I never let you do things, that I suck all the fun out of everything, that I’m always making you do boring things like get dressed and go to school and that there are too many green things on the plate, I usually let it roll off my back (which is sore from looking for lost Lego pieces).

I cross my heart/hope to die/stick a needle in my eye that it is not my sole goal in life to make sure you are drowning in misery or missing out. I’m not plotting a convoluted Game of Thrones worthy plan to deny you all the things in life that are going to make it more meaningful or happy. Promise.

It would take far too much time to plan that sort of mayhem and mischief.

I don’t have that kind of time. I’m a mom.

We good?

Good.

Love,

Me

 

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16 thoughts on “An Open Letter to My Family

  1. Avril January 24, 2016 / 9:18 pm

    rough week/end?! Been there.

    Like

    • Dina Honour January 25, 2016 / 12:15 pm

      I think knowing you’ve got someone on your left and someone on your right those days when it feels like you’re in the trenches makes all the difference.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dina Honour January 25, 2016 / 12:14 pm

      Most of the time it just “is”. Sometimes though, when you’ve repeated yourself for the 19,585th time or when you’ve planned something nice and you get a kid who sulks instead, it makes you want to pack it all in an go to a remote island with umbrella drinks and John Hughes movies on demand 😉

      Like

  2. aviets January 25, 2016 / 5:06 pm

    I’m right there with you, Sister. My entire family now consists of adults, and yet I’m still living this life. What really hurts is that I suppose I’ve brought this blight upon myself by suffering in silence way too often. I’m thinking that since Middle will live at home for a couple more years (teachers don’t make enough to strike out on their own) and The Boy will move back home for his student teaching next year, we’re going to have to have a “Come to Jesus” meeting so I don’t end up housemaid to three perfectly functional adults in the house.

    Like

    • Dina Honour January 25, 2016 / 5:33 pm

      Just make sure you stick with the plan! (It’s a good, good plan). I am cognizant of this very fact and try to teach them to pick up after themselves as they go. Doesn’t seem to stop me finding #1 boy’s clothes in a heap on the bathroom floor every.single.night. Grrrrr.

      Liked by 1 person

      • aviets January 25, 2016 / 5:44 pm

        Oh, yea. Boys and clothes. The weird thing at our house is that the kids are (finally) very helpful with pretty much any task when asked to help. But there’s an awful lot they just ignore, assuming I’ll take care of it. GRRRRR.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. urbanmanusa January 25, 2016 / 8:49 pm

    Poor toast cutting? Clearly you are a happiness destroyer.

    Like

    • Dina Honour January 25, 2016 / 9:12 pm

      I know. I’m hanging my head in shame. Apparently it stems from the fact that my go-to cutting technique is rectangles, whereas everyone but me knows that the correct way to cut toast is in triangles. I’ve been doing penance since.

      Like

  4. Cherry January 29, 2016 / 11:37 am

    I can’t force him to listen to me, do you think I can make him read this?

    Like

  5. Paul Grizenko May 19, 2016 / 6:13 pm

    Despite the hard work of the self-help industry, becoming (and then being) a parent (either gender) is a learn-on-the-job, no-instruction-manual supplied endeavor. The good (nay, excellent!) advice we got from our parents and grandparents was ignored because we knew better, the world had changed, yada, yada. To be a good parent and a good partner is actually hard work, requiring us to use our ears and eyes and hearts and brains and to push down the ego that is screaming in the background “I want it MY way!”. There are many ways to navigate this process, and since each situation and partner is different, what works for me may not work for you. So it is up to us to discover the way, finding out the cul-de-sacs, the traps and the not-so-pleasant paths that one has to get through until we find something that works, and we move forward a step or two.

    My wife of 33 years, and partner of 38, and I have had to teach each other who we are, and what we like, and don’t like and we have to do it every year or so, because people change, circumstances change, families change, and change is always there. Having kids, and learning how to look after them, learning how to help them grow and to turn from teenager to adult (a transformation more miraculous than caterpillar to butterfly), is something that can strain any marriage or partnership. And yet, if one is successful in keeping that link alive and flourishing, one becomes the beacon of hope and respect the rest of the family (extended family included) can rally around.

    The hard days are the price you pay for having the privilege of having this miracle of living. They remind us of our humanity, and of the work that is never done. We all die in the end. But we make life worth living for those around us if can make their lives a little better, a little more entertaining, a little more interesting because we were there.

    Like

    • Dina Honour May 19, 2016 / 7:39 pm

      What a thoughtful response, thank you for taking the time to write it! It’s ironic to me that it took me a few years of being a parent to come to the realization that if that was “all” I was, or that the “only” thing I accomplished was raising two functioning, respectful human beings, than that was OKAY in my book. The status and the money and the career, none of it matters at the end of the day. What mattered was doing my best to see to it that I contributed in this way. So you’re absolutely right. The hard days are the price you pay.

      Liked by 1 person

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