I am Irish, was raised a Catholic and am a mother, so I naturally have guilt, lots of it. My children feel I do not have nearly enough guilt as I should, according to them I am the cause of most of their woes. This is a list of just some of my worst crimes committed to date:
I cruelly do not allow my children to have chocolate for breakfast or after 7 p.m.
I try to starve my children to death by only going grocery shopping once a week. When my son Mark eats an entire box of Cheeze Its in less than one hour, he will discover that I do not have two back up boxes waiting for him. If my daughter sneaks the chocolate animal cracker bag into her room late at night and polishes it off, that means she is out of them until the week ends.
Sadistically, I make my children do their homework before allowing computer time.
Speaking of computers, I quite unreasonably keep the computer in the dining room where I can see what my kids are doing.
I refuse to cook anything for anybody after 8 p.m.
I demand that the kids brush their teeth every morning, shower when they smell bad and change their underwear with some regularity.
The children and I don’t seem to have a very clear agreement or understanding on the division of things around the house. According to them, if anything is broken or missing, this is my fault. If things are dirty or messy, I should clean it, regardless of who caused it. My kids seem to also believe that I can split like an amoeba and do several things at once with no difficulty.
Also, my guilt can extend beyond the boundaries of the home on occasion. Just the other day Melissa got off the bus and came in, glaring at me. She showed me that her sweater had a hole in the sleeve. “Look at this, Mom! My sweater ripped on the monkey bars cause I slipped. Thanks a lot!” When I asked her how this could be my fault as I was home and not anywhere near the monkey bars or the sweater, Melissa rolled her eyes and gave a heartfelt sigh. “Um, Ma? Hello? You made me wear my silver shoes today cause you said they would match my skirt! If I wore my purple shoes I would not have slipped. So you did this! Now you have to tell Dad why you have to buy me a whole new sweater!”
Later that day my son Mark trudged in heavily, leaned towards me and said, “Well, I hope you had a good day at least. I hope you didn’t worry about my day today. My day sucked, Mom. Remember when you told me that I had to finish my homework last night? Remember I asked you if I only had math and reading? Well, guess what? I had forgotten to put my geography in the folder for home, so I had to miss recess and do my geography homework while everyone else go to play. I hope you feel good about that one.”
As I was cooking dinner Chris wanders in the room holding up a dress shirt he owns that used to be white. “Hey, Nancy? What happened to my shirt? What is the orange stuff all over this?” I explained that I forced the kids to help me do laundry as a very sad attempt at teaching them chores, and somehow an orange marker ended up in the wash. Now all of the socks, underwear and shirts in that load came out orange. I had tried twice to re-bleach the clothing with no luck. Chris nodded and said he would have to find a way for us to get new stuff and though he didn’t say anything I saw the look. I might as well just wear a shirt saying, “Sorry, so sorry, my fault, I know”
Serving dinner, Mark looks at the food, wrinkles his nose and says, “I hope you don’t expect me to eat that! I don’t eat vegetables, the chicken doesn’t look right to me and where is the salt for my fries?” Chris leans back in his chair and says, “We had this for lunch today at a really nice restaurant, you should get their recipe for the chicken.” Melissa shoves her plate away and hollers, “I told you last night I wanted tacos tonight! You promised me tacos tonight! Now I will starve to death and it’s all your fault!” I bet they didn’t even notice I took the bent fork and the chipped plate.