Monday, October 1, 2007

I Am Not Your Napkin

Some days, I think back on what I was like before I was a wife and a mother. I know that person still resides in me somewhere, but a lot of times I just feel like The Wife or The Mother and not like Heather. As mothers, it’s hard for women to maintain their previous selves. Oftentimes, that person gets pushed aside by the new roles and absorbed within, peeking out occasionally when gathered with friends or when stealing some alone time.

Since becoming a mother, I’ve taken on many roles, none of which I classified myself as prior to the birth of my boys. Some of these are very common with motherhood, such as The Maid, The Cook, and The Chauffeur. These go with the territory. But, I’ve also taken on other roles that I never expected:

The Pack Mule. This is especially true when I am trying to get from the car to the house with the keys, my purse, the mail, the boys’ shoes that they kicked off in the car, the backpacks from school, the Gameboy case, the bags from the store or McDonald’s, and 1,000 other things. Usually, right when I’ve got everything balanced just so and one more item will cause me to tip over like a turtle (this happened to me at the airport once in the middle of the thoroughfare – quite embarrassing), Luke asks me, “Will you carry these toys for me because I only have two hands and already have two things to carry?” Hellllooo? Can’t you see all of the things I’m carrying? Of course he can, but the boys in my male-dominated household (MDH) suffer from Selective Eyesight, a condition that I will talk about another day.

The Tackle Dummy. Have you ever been walking along peacefully, only to be ambushed from behind and dragged to the floor? At my house, we call this pile on, as in “Everyone pile on mommy!” This can be particularly hard on someone that suffers from claustrophobia, especially when you are held on the ground unable to move your limbs. Usually telling my boys that they have until the count of three to let me up will advert any enclosed space-type freak outs. I have to admit that I am sometimes the Tackle Dummy by choice. We have great fun at my house when I place pillows behind me and one in front of me, and let the boys run full-bore at me from across the room, diving into the pillow and knocking me onto the other pillows. This is a game that could only be imagined in a MDH, and I credit my husband John with its invention.

The Punching Bag. This is similar to the Tackle Dummy, but comes more in the form of me being the target for karate practice or simulating the moves of a Power Ranger or TMNT.

The Playground. I am a monkey gym. I am a swing. I am a rock wall. I am a merry-go-round. I am a slide. I am a bouncing pony. I am in pain.

The Gang. When Jack was little, he used to make me talk like members of the Mystery Inc. Gang from Scooby Doo. He’d say, “You be Daphne, and I’ll be Jack.” Then I had to be Fred, then Velma, and sometimes the entire gang at the same time. Jack wouldn’t talk, he’d just sit there and I’d have to simulate conversations between the different members of the Gang. If anyone heard me during those times, they would have believed that I suffered from multiple personality disorder. Nope. Just male-dominated household ailments (MDHA). Whenever Jack watched a new show, I had to learn how to talk like new characters. Think Shrek, Donkey, Nala from the Lion King, Aerial from the Little Mermaid, etc.

The Detective. All of my boys lose things. A lot. And they are not very good at finding things. I ask, “Did you look on your dresser.” And they answer, “Yes, it wasn’t there.” And I go look on the dresser. And there it is. Sometimes, I look for things that one of the boys hid to keep his brother from finding and playing with. This goes like, “Mom, have you seen my silly putty?” “No, where did you have it last?” “I hid it from Luke, but now I can’t remember where.” Fortunately for me, my boys use the same hiding spots over and over again so I can usually find things fairly quickly.

The Napkin. O.K. I know that I will not be winning any fashion awards, and I rarely have occasion to dress in anything nicer than a T-Shirt and jeans, but when did I become the quicker-picker-upper? Am I really dressed that badly, that my boys think my clothes resemble rags? Luke cannot get a drink out of the drinking fountain without water running down his chin. It has become the norm for him to use my shirt as his napkin. Everyday I try to stay far enough away from him that the water dries before he gets to me, but it never works. The other day at his preschool, he wiped his mouth on my shirt so many times that I felt obligated to tell anyone that I passed that I had not drooled on myself or sweat through my shirt, or, as it was a long shirt and he wiped at the bottom, peed in my pants.

The Kleenex. My boys would rather rub their noses on my shirt rather than risk getting snot on their fingers while using a Kleenex. They don’t know that when I was little I used to vomit every time I saw a booger, or had to blow my nose, or my sister pretended to wipe snot on me. Everyone told me that when I had kids I would get over the things that grossed me out, but I didn’t believe them. I guess they were right. I have never once vomited when being used as a Kleenex by the boys. I don’t even think I changed my shirt.


Mayberry said...

So perfect! I get that Pack Mule thing ALL THE TIME.

I once wrote a couple of posts about mom's job as "efficiency expert" and "incident prevention specialist."

Wineplz said...

I have been the Napkin/Kleenex, and the Detective more times than I can count...and my boys are only 31, 3 yrs, and 2-1/2 months. :)

Heather said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather said...

I have recently been diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. No kidding here - the doctor said part of the reason is that I carry too much stuff!

I love the "incident prevention specialist." I think that I would be fired.

Anonymous said...

Too funny. I'm definitely my kid's pack mule and jungle gym. When I can't think of a game or activity for my 3 year old and 1 1/2 year old I just lay down in the middle of the floor because I know they'll immediately come climb all over me for 30 minutes.

me said...

omigosh, this is the funniest post I have ever read! I too am in a MDH, although mine are still too young to use me as a tackling dummy. Thank you for giving me a glimpse into my future!!!

Anonymous said...

Very funny post. "Willing slave" about sums it up, doesn't it? I also have two boys. Thank goodness for my sister-in-law and our four hens.

Loth said...

Hi - came over from Mom's Daily Dose. Inhabitant of another 3 male household. My boys are 9 and 7 and also use the "I can't find my..." line constantly. If they claim they have looked wherever it is supposed to be and "it's not there", I always ask the same question: "If I come up and look for it, and I find it,can I hit you with it?" Amazing how often they find it on the second try...

Anonymous said...

I am the resident Pack Mule but I also "joke" that I am the Family Shelf!

Here mom, hold this!

Could you hold this?
[silently] hands me something out in I carry a suitcase for a purse

C'MON people! :)


Anonymous said...

As someone who has been the Kleenex for a sniffly toddler several times in the past few days, I applaud this post.

(Luckily for me, my husband is the napkin more often, but I get a lot of the others.)

Debbie said...

Oh the things we endure for our kids. Would you have ever dreamed you would one day walk around wearing that stuff on your clothes?

jill jill bo bill said...

Hilarious!!!! And how weird that a year later almost to the day, we are still laughing at, I mean with you! GREAT POST!!!

Texasholly said...


Ditto. All accounts. Ditto!

My favorite was the "unexpected tackle" which I experienced this very morning. UGHHHHHH!

And my shoulders are weary from hauling around all that kid crap.

Funny stuff.

Thanks for linking!

Danielle said...

I grew up in a MDH, so I feel your pain. Just think if you were a little girl amidst many boys. I was constantly at the bottom of a dog pile!

I'm with you on the Kleenex thing..only my daughter does it, but she's still a baby, so I have hope she'll out grow it!

I like the mental picture I get when picturing you doing all the Scooby Doo characters at once! LOL