If the word “Mom” is supposed to be a term of endearment, why do my kids use it as a four-letter word?
Even though “Dad,” by default, should elicit close to the same response, its aura is closely guarded by the lovely ankle-biters who buzz around my being like well-intended gnats in the same way they encircle his early evening entrance in a bionic halo.
On most days, while Dad can’t do anything wrong, I can’t do anything right, and to use a phrase I can’t stand hearing as my children channel the Von Trapp family and sing it in three-part harmonic rounds?
IT’S NOT FAIR.
For one thing, Le Magnificent Father has full control of his iPod at all times. No one living in our house under the age of twelve would dare touch his custom Eighties Metal Hair Pie Mania playlist, because anything Dad listens to, regardless of overused electronic synthesizer riffs, is cool.
So what if I wanna blast Shannon’s “Let the Music Play” through my Yukon’s three and one-half speaker sort of surround sound stereo and relive that fateful day when 8th grade super-fox Jon Miller asked me to couples skate at the end of the night after the rest of Crosby Middle School had gone home? I can’t. The aforementioned ankle-biters have commandeered my phone and googled some kind of Mom-proof auto lock on Pandora that loops the best of Justin Bieber over and over. Even though I kind of like JB in a non-threatening, could be his mother but won’t admit it, all-ages audience kind of way, if I hear “Boyfriend” one more time this summer I’m gonna take back every compliment I gave him in my fan letter and punch my life-size, blow-up doll right in the face.
Then there’s the whole food pyramid, or nutrition plate, or “no you can’t have the deep-fried Twinkies you saw on Food Hoarders for breakfast or ever” mentality I like to bring to every meal. As I come in the front door with bags full of groceries that I can’t even pronounce, he’s sneaking the kids out the back door to some yogurt place where you get a free set of windshield wipers if you match your weight in ice cream topped with gummy worms and that nasty, congealed, strawberry relish type stuff that’s better used as some kind of adhesive.
In the spirit of the Olympics? Game, set, and match Dad.
It never fails that when I want our children to pick up what’s left of the house, help fold the clean laundry that ended up on the floor because they hate folding clean laundry, and put out an APB for every flip-flop shoved under the sofa or thrown up on the roof, Dad decides it’s time to go on a yard safari. While he’s out with the nasty coyotes in the scrub oak searching for rabbit bones that can be shaped into some dinosauresque model the kids will think is awesome, I’m keeping it real inside, telling them that they can’t join their dad with the nasty coyotes in the scrub oak and could they please turn off the T.V. and clean their rooms?
Yet somehow, they’re able to morph through the wall (because I’m so smart, I lock the doors immediately after seeing Dad tromp up the hill in our backyard in a pith helmet and a game skin back pack) and file out behind their father like sweet little anti-Mom ducklings while I’m left inside and alone to face the nightmare better known as my children’s rooms.
Mom 0, Dad 10,000,000,000,000,000
So yeah, it’s not easy being me, but maybe tomorrow Dad will force-feed everyone Muselix for breakfast, send the kids off to clean the creepy basement camp for the day, and have them weave flowers through my hair on their way up the stairs to write me heartfelt thank you notes right before tucking themselves in for their reasonable bedtimes.
And then again? Maybe not.