Getting Kids to Help

I really yelled at the kids.

“I am working all day, then I come home and I work all night.” I was trapped in the kitchen, lonely, scrubbing pots and pans, loading dishes into the dishwasher. Chris had used every cooking utensil we own to prepare a fancy dinner for a neighbor who’d just come home from surgery.

It was probably the most beautiful night in the history of beautiful nights and I was Cinderella. I’d have preferred eating a PB&J in the park, wiggling my toes in the long summer grass.

I have a Cinderella complex, love to feel martyr-ed and uninvited to the party. But remember Cinderella did get one free night. And on that night, she partied hard. That could be me.

I know I should insist that my kids help. A friend in a caregivers support group said that in looking back at her kids’ childhoods, she regretted doing everything for them — like me, she did so much for her kids because she felt sorry for them and for the fact that their dad had a chronic illness. I don’t want that regret.

Yes, in the school year, I do more for the kids because they have homework or they’re tired. But right now, they’re all out of school. “And kids, Mommy’s tired too.”  It’s true I love my job, but it can be tiring. I wish I lived in the 1950s where the breadwinner comes home, puts his feet on the ottoman, reads the paper and drinks a high ball. Maybe I’ll do that when the kids go to camp. ‘Cause I want to be lazy too.

Until then, I will keep crossing off items from my summer bucket list.

  1. Hold a baby
  2. Go to the IWWG (International Women’s Writing Guild) conference at Yale http://www.iwwg.org/2011-summer-conference
  3. Take art classes with my father and sister in Vermont  http://www.black-horse.com/PDF/Art%20Event%20Flyer%202010.pdf
  4. Take H. and his friends to 6 Flags for his birthday
  5. Continue to work hard and have passion for my day job
  6. Take family to Ocean Grove, NJ, Jones Beach, or Shelter Island over 4th of July weekend
  7. Keep writing every day
  8. Toes in the grass and picnics in Riverside Park as often as weather allows
  9. Get a mani-pedi
  10. Join Improv or comedy class
  11. Meet with agent again on book
  12. Revisit my young adult novel
  13. Read all books for book clubs
  14. Keep working out every day — tennis, Pilates, biking, or running
  15. Visit a church a day once kids go to camp
What’s on your Summer To Do list?
image
I took this picture riding my bike to work yesterday. I felt like I was in the tropics, but I was in Manhattan.
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2 thoughts on “Getting Kids to Help

  1. Here’s a list for you
    1. You have *a lot* on your plate. So, be easier on yourself.
    2. Try keeping a little on your list that is just for you, even though it might mean something more practical gets shorter shrift.
    3. Yes, your kids should help, but keep those goals small (last summer, my big goal was having the teen get clothes into the hamper, pathetic yes? He ended up becoming a good kitchen cleaner, too, although I am not sure how).
    4. Camp is good!

  2. Thanks Sarah! I will do this — some things just for me. And believe me, getting kids to put clothes in the hamper is not pathetic — it is noble! I aspire to greatness like that!

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