Who put me in charge?

The day started off innocently enough. DH and Jacob and I spent the morning working in our garden plot. There are few things that boys like to do more than roll in the dirt, so every Saturday DH and Jacob are in heaven as they wrestle with the elements and get really dirty. But I don't stess--I just pop their muddy clothes in our laundry sink to soak. (This comes into play later, I promise.) Ok, so we finish our garden work, run some errands, and DH goes off to work. Whenever DH works on a Saturday night, I make a fun Mommy and Jacob night by getting a special video at the video store and letting Jacob stay up late snuggled up with Mommy and some sugary treats watching the show. So, we are getting ready to go to the video store, and I spy the mail that DH brought in earlier. On the top of the pile is a notice from Blockbuster saying that since I've not returned the 4 items I've rented this month, and decided to keep them, my VISA will be charged $65.00. What? I returned all those videos weeks ago, and on time. I went ballistic, and showed up at Blockbuster practically raving. The manager assured me all was well, and sent me on my way. In the car on the way home, I get a phone call saying that my car insurance won't cover the crack in our windshield, even though my agent said that it would. This does not improve my mood. We get home, and I start going through the rest of the mail, only to find that a parking ticket DH got and didn't tell me about is now way delinquent and is going to cost us twice as much as the original amount. My mood gets darker. Then some neighbor kids come over, and Jacob is happily occupied while I start working on the aforementioned laundry. I get everything going, go upstairs to start working on the dinner dishes, and I hear an odd splashing noise from the basement. I go downstairs to find Noah's flood! Our washing machine drains into the laundry sink where I had tossed the mud soaked clothes, and a particularly sneaky sock had worked itself down into the drain, blocking all water drainage. This in turn caused the sink to overflow with water and turned my basement into a soapy lake. I grabbed every dirty towel I could find, and spent the next 15-20 minutes frantically mopping up water that threatened DH's law books he had stored down there (and in our family, nobody messes with DH's books). My cleaning effort meant that the 2 three year olds and the 4 year old in the house went unsupervised and out of ear shot for at least 20 minutes. (You see it coming, don't you?) So Jacob came down sometime later, holding the lid to some FABRIC PAINT left over from who knows what unfinished Relief Society project left somewhere for who knows how long, but clearly it was no longer out of his reach. I ran up to inspect his room, and sure enough, found enough red paint spread around you would have thought somebody had killed a small animal. The 4 year old, being slightly wiser and astute at reading parental moods, thought fast and said, "C'mon, guys, let's go outside--Jacob, get your rain boots!" and made a mad dash downstairs and outside before any swift retribution could befall him. Jacob quickly followed suit and grabbed his rain boots. "Wait, there's something here," he said, and turned one boot upside down, spilling about a thousand Bingo chips he had apparantly put there for safe keeping all over my hallway. I was rendered speechless. Then I thought, "Hey, why am I in charge? Whose lousy idea was THAT? Car insurance, credit cards, parking tickets, flooding basements, war paint on the bedspread-I wanted to grow up to do THIS?" And why no warning? The closest anybody ever came to giving me a glimpse of what to expect as an adult and a mother was my father who once said, "Life sometimes gets a little complicated." Complicated? That's it? You call a flooding basement and a red-painted child COMPLICATED? I can think of a lot of other things I'd like to call it, none of which I can write because this is officially a Mormon blog and Mormons aren't supposed to use that kind of language. Maybe our mothers had it easier. I remember one time I had to dig Play-Doh out of Jacob's nose with a toothpick, and I called my mother to complain that she never told me motherhood would involve stuff like this. She calmly said, "Well,my dear, you never stuck Play-Doh up your nose." I'd like to know when things are going to get less complicated. Sadly, I don't think it's soon. I think I need a Chantico. Anybody want to join me?


Blogger annegb said...

Been there. Sucks.

My husband does something that drives me crazy--my grandchildren will get into something, or my daughter will oh, I don't know, leave her stuff out. He will come in and say, "why did you let them do that? Or why didn't you make her put it up?" Like I gave them permission to get into his stuff or could have done something about it with my psychic powers.

Now, he stops when he sees the blood in my eye. What really drives me crazy is when he wants me to give him assurances that these disasters like you experienced won't happen. Do I need the priesthood on top of everything to feel more fulfilled? No, I need less, not more, responsibility.

4/23/2005 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger Liesl said...

Oh Heather! Why can it never be one thing at a time?

I'll meet you at Starbucks. Maybe we need to get you a pedicure too.

4/23/2005 11:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Susan M said...

When it rains...

My husband did the dishes at his mother's house once, and couldn't find the dishwasher soap, so he used the kind of dish soap you use in the sink. It was like something out of a movie, the whole kitchen was covered in suds.

My oldest son was rather passive agressive, he'd just quietly do things that I wouldn't notice for awhile. Like when he was in kindergarten, his teacher had a big calendar and everyday they'd X off the days with a big black marker, it was part of an activity where they'd record the day's weather and stuff. I noticed one day there were big black X's all over the house. On picture frames, on doors, on walls. I was upset until I went out on the deck and saw a big row of black X's on the siding of the house, and at that point it was just too much, and I laughed my head off.

My youngest son was always very obvious about anything he was getting into. He just has such a forceful personality that you could see anything coming a mile away.

None of my kids are good with guile, though. When they were young they'd come up to me and say, "Don't come into my room for 10 minutes!"

4/24/2005 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

And in answer to your other question, "when's it going to get less complicated?" Hon, I'm so sorry, but never. I had such high hopes when my kids grew up.

They just get into deeper water. Take the play-dough, and magic marker, and floods, while you can get them.

4/24/2005 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

Yeah, well, the moon or the stars must have been in some disaster phase or something, because this weekend, our basement ceiling collapsed due to a leak from the water line hooked up to our refrigerator.

We've had water coming into the basement for a while from the outside, and someone is coming this week to fix it. (Not cheap, either, or covered by insurance)

Well, we went down there later, and when the water was coming from the CEILING, not the floor, and went DH poked it with a screwdriver, half the ceiling fell onto the floor. It was quite the adventure.

The thing is, we've already had a homeowner's claim this year, and I am scared that if we make another one, we will get dropped from our policy. I hate insurance companies. By law,you have to have the coverage, and pay the premiums, only to be unable to make claims. Isn't that the POINT of the premiums?????? But I digress.....

4/24/2005 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...


I knew a woman once who would sit there and laugh at all the toddler mommy stories. She had teenagers, and she would say, "Little kids have little problems. Big kids have big problems." I guess I do prefer cleaning up Play-Doh and paint to dealing with really tough stuff like teen pregnancy and drugs.

4/24/2005 09:09:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...


Let's go, sister. I'm totally up for some serious pampering!

4/24/2005 09:09:00 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

"Maybe our mothers had it easier"?! I think your mother has a selective memory... I think being a mom means taking s-t a whole lot and dealing with it one bit at a time. And remembering it could have been worse. (And might still be... just remember: no blood, no questions asked.)

I think of you when I stop at Starbucks at the airport tomorrow on the way to my sister's wedding...

4/25/2005 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...


Drink a Chantico for me, k?

4/25/2005 06:12:00 PM  
Anonymous JKS said...

I can relate. But, as an older mom (34 with 3 kids) my 2 cents are with the older mom crowd. Someday, in a few years those problems will seem very small in comparison. You will long for the days when your problems were floods, paint and a $100 parking ticket.
But, you know, you are young. Just as I know my 1st grader's problems are HUGE for her, because she's young and she's learning. No adult should look at a kid and say they have it easy. Because we've been there/done that and that is exactly why it is easy for us. So, enjoy your challenges. They are making you a stronger person!!!
Now that I have baby #3, I really wonder at why I thought having a little baby was such a hard thing. I guess experience has made it easier to handle, but also I think it is actually RELAXING to have a baby. Having my Kate is like a brand new morning--the whole day is so optimistically ahead and it has all the potential in the world.
My other kids are into late morning where we've already had things go wrong. I'm sure I've already ruined them. They've been hurt. They've been damaged. They did not get enough exposure to Mozart during the formative brain years.
Sometimes I cry. Or feel sick to my stomach. Who put me in charge of parenting these children. How can I possibly protect them from everything. Teach them everything.
Just a couple months ago I realized I have to accept that Christ's atonement can make up for my "failures" because there is no way I can do it.
With my son, years ago I had to trust that Heavenly Father made him the way he did and whatever his challanges it would make NO eternal difference for his salvation.
But a couple months ago I had to accept that my failures weren't going to be just that I yelled or that I didn't read bedtime stories for months on end, but my failures could be more serious. Can I trust that my children have access to the atonement to heal their wounds?
I remember my aunt telling me when I had a baby and a 2 year old that having teenagers was harder. I thought about that. I decided that the babies were physically harder. I mean, I didn't have a MINUTE to myself. It was 24/7. There was my aunt. The kids went to school. She had all the freedom in the world, in my way of thinking. But then I thought, mentally? Wouldn't worrying about teenagers be harder? Yes, it probably was.
I will just keep telling myself my children came to earth to be mortal. Not to have perfect lives. They are supposed to get hurt and fail. And if they turn to the Lord, they will find the happiness that the atonement can give them.
Right? Right? It is not all up to me. Right?

4/26/2005 01:08:00 AM  
Anonymous claire said...

JKS, you just ruined my self esteem for the day.... 34 is an "older mom"?????? I'm 32 and expecting my third and am constantly told by people, you are so young. You are bursting my bubble here....

I suppose it's all relative. Most of my 'mom friends' are in their late 30s and early 40s.

4/26/2005 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger Allison said...

Heather, I'm sorry about your day, but I'm so glad you posted about it. Sometimes I feel like I could be crowned the Worst Mother In the Whole World. Maybe I should buy a tiara and we can mail it to whomever deserves it most for the week.

Oh, and the playdough? For us it was large amounts of broccoli in my toddler's nose. I got some out with tweezers, but it took a pediatrician, an ENT and a general anesthesia to get the rest out. ($2000 out of pocket so far, and I'm still getting bills in the mail. Ouch.)

Flooding? Yep. Half our house, twice in six months. Once while we were having dinner with a nice couple we were supposed to be recruiting to work at my husband's former law firm.

4/26/2005 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Heather O. said...


Oooo,the broccoli story was a good one!


I feel like I'm ruining my child all the time. I spend lots of time analyzing what I'm doing with him every moment, wondering how it's going to effect him later, what he will remember, what he will recall as painful and what he won't care about at all. It can make me sick to my stomach, too, thinking about all the mistakes I make. Thanks for pointing out that we can't do it all alone, that we definitely need Divine Help when it comes to taking care of our kiddos.

4/26/2005 03:21:00 PM  

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