Saturday, November 14, 2009

2 broken legs

I recently heard a mother of young children fantasizing about having two broken legs and how wonderful that would be. As I sat and listened to her, I found myself grinning like an idiot, because I too have had such daydreams. In fact, as I looked around the room full of mothers, I noticed that all of them seemed to relate to this fantasy. We laughed about it, and then we all divulged our guilty little secrets to each other. One of these woman had recently had a minor surgery and was explaining how much she had looked forward to being in the hospital for an enforced recovery period. I, myself, have often wondered if the reason I agreed to have a second child was because of my mothering instinct, or my need for the relative relaxation of the hospital room. Sure, you are only served ice chips and jello, but at least you don't have to prepare it. No one requests that you get out of bed and do some laundry. The nurses don't ask you if you can help them find things, and sweetest of all....YOU control the remote on the TV! OK, so the choices on the television are usually pretty lame, but the power to control those lame channels is all yours!

Until this time, I had often wondered if I was the only strange and twisted woman who would choose to go through this pain in order to completely relax. Now, I realize just how wide spread this goes. There didn't seem to be many mothers in the room that couldn't relate. And that started me Dad's ever dream of being laid up in bed? Then they wouldn't have to cook, help with homework, do laundry, clean the toilets...OK. I've answered my own question haven't I? No, they don't! But, I think Dads may be on to something here. Maybe (and I do mean maybe), in some small way they are smarter than we are. I mean, let's look at this in depth. Let's say your child is leaving the house for school in shorts and the weather is only slightly above freezing.

Mom would...

1. Scold the child for wearing inappropriate clothing and instruct them to turn around and

put something warmer on.

2.Listen to the child complain that there are no clean pants in their drawer.

3.Walk up the stairs to check the aforementioned drawer and find that there is, in fact, one pair of pants left.

4.Listen to the child whine because they HATE those pants and everybody in school will laugh at them.

5.Force the child to wear these perfectly good pants and then drag them back down the stairs crying and pouting.

6.Listen for the phone all day because she knows that when her child left the house, they were in such a bad temper they will probably do something at school that will get them in trouble.

7. Meanwhile, she does 6 loads of laundry to help her feel better about the humiliation she is now convinced her child is suffering.

That is what Mom would do. Now, let's take a little peek at how Dad would handle this...

“See ya later, son! Have a good one!” At which point he would turn back to Mom and say, “What? He's wearing a coat.” See what I mean? Is Dad really smarter than we are?

Now I am not advocating that we all act like Dads. I believe firmly that God created woman because he knew man could never find his keys by himself. But, I am wondering if some of the stress that we moms experience could be avoided. And just so we are clear on this point as well, I am not of the opinion that breaking both our legs would be a very good thing. I have on occasion been laid up in bed for a day or two and my husband has jumped right in to help around the house. He is a very good man. However, he is a very poor housekeeper. Of course he maintains that I am just too picky when it comes to the house. And maybe I am, since I like made beds, flushed toilets, clean dishes, appropriately cooked food, etc. Silly me!

No, what I propose is that we take just a single page from the book on “How to Be a Great Man”. I would like to experiment with the page that tells dads how to come home from a hard day at work and completely ignore the problems of the household while they take a little time to unwind. What is it about Dad that allows him to drop whatever he is carrying in his hands onto the kitchen table that is half set for dinner, step over the “oops” that the family pet left on the floor, turn a deaf ear on the whining child that has been driving Mom crazy for the past hour and settle himself comfortably on the couch with the television remote in his hand. It is a source of amazement and frustration that he is completely unaware of the chaos he has returned to at the end of his day. And I must admit, the ability that man has to look up with complete sincerity on his face and say things like, “Do you need my help, Honey?” has left me speechless on more than one occasion. This guilt-free ability to walk through a mine-field of family turbulence and relax is a talent that most women would pay dearly to possess.

There are days when I am so tired by the time the children are in bed that my feet are literally throbbing and I am ready to drop. Yet, to my utter dismay, I find myself unable to relax until the pillows are put back on the couch, the shoes are picked up off the floor and the toys are at least piled into a corner instead of strewn about the room. Only then can I sit down with my husband for a few relaxing moments before bed. WHY?!?! Men, I don't know how you do it, but if someone figures out a way to bottle this relaxation technique and sell it, they would make a fortune. Yes, the awful truth is that for some of us, the ability to completely unwind will only come about in a sterile hospital room (or possibly a padded one). Dads, in this instance, I have to admit, I have “daddy-envy”. But, don't get too proud of yourselves. You still have to work on other areas like the toilet seat, bodily function noises, morning breath, the inability to deal with pain and maniacal driving.

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