My 7-year-old informed me the other night at dinner that I’m “kind of a negative person.” I think Robbie saw the crazy flash in my eyes, so he immediately said “YOUR MOTHER IS SUPER FUN.” (No one believed him.)
I want my kids to see my fun side, but it’s hard to show it — especially for people like me who are very goal-oriented and focused on results.
Okay, FINE. I’m uptight.
In my defense, someone has to be. I mean, if I were as laid-back as my husband … I really don’t know what would happen. Probably nothing. But also, maybe something terrible. Like pin worms.
Every day in parenthood, there are approximately 67 tiny goals to accomplish between the time I get up and the time I go to bed. Put on clothes that make me look like a mother and not a hooker. Ingest coffee while it’s still hot. Pack three semi-nutritious lunches.
School drop-off presents its own unique set of goals: Keep my composure in the face of tantrums. Refrain from screaming at the woman who damn near ran over my child. Try not to look too excited as I hurry back home.
Back at home, I begin my next set: Write. Laundry. Call my mother.
You get the picture.
I am regimented and focused and uptight, but it’s not because I’m unhappy. It’s because I have a lot of worries. I worry about my children. I worry about my parents. I try not to talk about it too much, but my mother has cancer. That’s concerning. Maybe men do a better job of compartmentalizing everything, but my entire life is a jumbled up heap that tumbles around in my brain like shoes in a dryer.
I have a lot of joy in my life, but I have lot of stress as well.
Until I figure out how to keep my worries from manifesting in negativity towards my immediate family, I will be referring to myself in the third person. Hi, I’m Negative Mommy. For example, “You don’t want to miss the bus today, Maverick, and end up stuck with NEGATIVE MOMMY all day.”
I tested this out a few mornings ago when he was dragging his feet.
He got on the bus.
Maybe I can make this work out in my favor after all.
…. To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.
Almost 10 years ago, Robbie and I said those words to each other. I don’t remember any of it.
We had no idea what we were doing. I was 25, the last of my friends to get married (except for my friend who was in medical school — she married at 30). We said the words. We started our journey.
Ten years later …
Husband: “Where are my white dress shirt and suit pants?”
Me: “I have no idea.”
Me: “When did you last see or wear them?”
Husband: “Last year.”
Flabbergasted, I proceeded to ridicule him like the proper wife that I am.
I am not the Keeper of All The Things, I am only one person! YOU should know where your pants are! How is it that you haven’t worn your nice pants in 10 whole months? OMG, we need to find a church and start attending, it’s good for the kids. It doesn’t matter which church, let’s just pick one. They need to learn Bible stories because I keep forgetting to teach them because I’m too busy keeping everyone alive and the only ones I can remember accurately are about Adam and Eve and the Christmas Story. WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING?!
My husband is a very patient man, and he listened to my entire tirade before asking me to check the dry cleaner’s to make sure I hadn’t forgotten to pick them up nearly a year ago.
“Well … okay,” I said. “But I am usually really good about keeping up with that stuff.”
Karma is a bitch, friends. After spending 3 days searching for Robbie’s suit pants and dress shirt, I swung through our old dry cleaner’s — the one I don’t use anymore because it’s so far away — on a whim.
The guy started laughing as soon as he saw me pull in. My face started to redden and I got a feeling in the pit of my stomach that I can only describe as bewildered mortification.
“Hi, Mrs. Hobbs. I knew you’d come back! I kept telling my boss not to give your stuff away!” This is what he said as I picked up everything the entire family — yes, all 5 of us — wore for Christmas pictures nearly a year ago.
Apparently I didn’t notice that I’ve been missing clothes, either.