Closing the Cereal Box

 

It never fails.  The pie safe in my kitchen that I use for extra storage space is always a mess.  The doors are left randomly open, and the contents inside the cabinet is most often an utter mess.

I have told, asked, even begged my daughters to close the cereal box when they are done.  After all, an open box of cereal turns into a stale box of cereal in no time, right?  Plus, it’s a simple request

It’s a life skill. 

When they are on their own I don’t want them wasting tons of money on cereal and chips because they were never taught how to properly close the boxes and bags.  I realize there will come a time in their life when they will be living on cereal, sustaining themselves on the cheapest and sweetest brand they can find, eating it at midnight – often without milk. I remember those days myself.

But instead of listening to me and taking 5 extra seconds to seal off the cereal (from the inside of the box out), or roll down the bag of Doritos…they just throw it back in the pie safe.  Time, and time again.

So this morning when I found yet another cereal box left opened, and stale I busted into the living room and showed them in a full and sarcastic display how to close the cereal box properly.  I pointed my finger, used my stern mom voice. 

And when I was through, one of my daughters asked me if I was about to start my period or something while the other simply said, “OMG MOM, what’s the big deal?”

What’s the big deal?  WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?  “If you cannot close a damn cereal box, how will you ever make it in life?  If I cant trust you to close the cereal box, how am I going to trust you to go away for an entire week with your class?  If I cant count on you to be responsible enough to close a cereal box, how in the world am I going to trust you enough to let you drive a car by yourself?”

If you aren’t able to close a stupid cereal box – how am I ever going to be able to let you go?”

And then there were tears.  Mine. 

It turns out that I was about to start my period, but that’s not the point really.  The point is I really needed to see small steps in the right direction.  I needed to know that my kids have been hearing me – not just about the cereal box, but about everything else.  I wanted to believe that I was doing a good job raising them, and that their encroaching adult hood would be healthy, happy and successful. (And somehow in that moment, it all depended on the cereal box)

Today, I woke up to a closed pie safe.  When I looked inside, the cereal boxes were closed as well. And somehow, it felt painfully bitter sweet.

The Invisible Mother

Admit it. When you are a mom,it is easy to feel invisible. Completely, 100% invisible. Somedays, I truly believe that the kids would not even realize I was missing until dinnertime, when their bellies started to grumble. then, they would look around and wonder where in the hell that woman is who normally fixes the food.

One of the most difficult parts of motherhood is the invisibility. Most of the time, i am perfectly happy to sit on the bench, to be in the bleachers watching my kids. But every once in a while I honestly think that it would be nice to be noticed. Noticed for my hair. Noticed for the things I do for the kids. Noticed for being something besides a wife or a mother. Noticed for being a person.

To date, my biggest accomplishment is my girls. They are pretty wonderful when they arent insane. Seriously. But all the while I have been raising my girls, I have also had dreams of my own. And these dreams always seem invisible under the visibility of my kids.

Am I okay with this? Yes. But still, there are many days that I would just like to be noticed. Not even appreciated, (okay so maybe appreciated) but noticed for ME, not for my motherhood.

And My Baby Turns 5

Sitting back in recollection, it is hard to believe that my baby….my youngest child….has just turned 5.  There is the bittersweet tinge that makes me realize she is growing up, but also confronts with the question of “What the hell have I been doing for 5 years?”

In fact, my goals 5 years ago when she was born, are much like the goals that I have now.  And while she has grown, gained weight, learned her letters, potty trained, etc. etc.  I have been sitting back basking in HER accomplishments.

It’s hard to truly understand how much time it takes to raise a child.  You think that in the course of a 24 hour day, a 7 day week, a 31 ay month – there would be plenty of time for the stay at home mom to pursue her own dreams.  The problem is that life is always distracted when you are a mother.

You may start out with the best of intentions, only to realize that 7 hours have passed and aside from making a few meals, checking Facebook. status updates, and sweeping the floors – not much else has transpired.

But who cares about all that for right now?  My baby is 5 years old.  She is half a decade.  And she is growing up way too fast.  Somehow the knowing that I have devoted so much time and effort to her growth and development, seems like a plausible success to me.  Considering that I have three other kids, also growing up, that are well cared for and loved – means that I am doing something….something right.  Right?

I would rather sit back knowing that I have enjoyed my children’s sunshine the most – even on the days when the sun never showed, than to sit back and think that I have personally succeeded in spite of their light.  Today….that is enough for me. 

The Problem with Teenagers

It’s funny.  But when I first had children, I felt pretty much overcome with the realization that these ungrateful mongers were taking over my life.  Sure, it was worth it and all that – and when things were too bad, one sniff of Johnsons Lavender Baby wash, and I was smitten again.

 

Then.  They grew up.  Now, in place of a set of twins who epitomized sweetness, sits two teenage girls whose communication is constantly dripping with disdain.  Asking them to flush their own turd down the toilet can be enough ammunition to start a full fledged war.  I have good kids, I wouldn’t trade them for anything.  But I realized that the problem with teenagers is that they can and will talk back.  Years ago, they would cry when I took their toy away.  They would pout when I wouldn’t allow them to eat cake for dinner.  But now….they actually talk about it.

 

I have told one of my girls that if she doesn’t become a lawyer the world is certainly missing out.  She will argue to obvious to the point where I sometimes find myself second guessing my decisions.  Then, I have to remind myself that I am the boss as far as they are concerned and that I am in charge here, not them.

I would easily replace the days of talking about everything with simply allowing them to pout, or sit in the corner facing the refrigerator while they grudgingly sit through a time out.  Compared to this….this constant dialogue and frequent attacks and reasoning – life was easy back in the day.

I have summed it up this way.  The problem with teenagers is that they KNOW just enough to make them stupid.  They have half the story all the time.  And they believe their half of the story whole heartedly.  So they talk.  And talk.  And talk.  Way too much.  So much so, that I have wondered if I need to dig the time out chair out of the attic and sit it in front of the refrigerator so they could sit and pout in silence again.

Or shit, it might be a great place for me to sit.