Today my children requested something from me 102 times. I was asked for 102 things. Okay, to be fair, some of those 102 requests were actually repeat requests for the same item. Example:
“Mom, can I have a chocolate milk?”
Two seconds pass.
“Mom, I want a chocolate milk!”
One second passes.
“Mom, where is my chocolate milk I asked for?”
Two minutes pass while I put away 10 dishes, wipe the counter, and feed the dog.
“MOOOOM, where is my chocolate milk?”
Keeping Track of Requests
Yes, I actually kept track of how many times someone asked me for something for an entire day. I included requests for attention, such as “Mom, come look at my fort! I used every pillow in the entire house!”
Logistically, it was challenging to keep track of all the requests. I thought about making a little note on my phone every time someone said, “mom,” but that wouldn’t work because I would spend the entire day on my phone. I really needed one of those “click counters,” like a security guard uses at a big concert to keep track of the massive number of people entering.
Finally, I settled on a notepad and pencil that I kept nearby for the whole day. Over the course of a summer day with my three sons (ages 8, 6, and 2), I tallied up to 102 requests.
I love being a mom, and I’m so grateful for those boys. It’s pretty cool to be the one person who can solve almost any problem they have. I know that won’t last forever.
But I have to admit, I sometimes cringe just a little when I hear “mom.”
I’m three minutes away from having the kitchen cleaned up when I hear “mom!” I JUST sat down with a bowl of ice cream . . . “mom!” We are finally doing some productive schoolwork when the toddler yells, “Mom! I peed!” (P.S. It was not into the toilet).
I just get tired. Everything I try to accomplish is punctuated by at least a few shouts of “mom!” I know, I know. Someday they won’t request my attention and help all day long. I’ll be sitting in a quiet house, wondering how they grew up so quickly.
But it’s still tiring right now, and I think it’s okay to admit that. Especially during this difficult summer where a lot of activities are canceled, moms are under more pressure than ever. We are allowed to feel tired or frustrated or burnt out. We are allowed to talk about it. And then we’ll get up, and we’ll do our best for another day.
We Can Do It
I am constantly astounded by mothers, by how selflessly they serve their children, how they juggle so many roles, how frequently they pick themselves up after a tough day and enter the next one with a smile on their faces. Moms are tough.
Tomorrow, I won’t be counting how many requests I get. Suffice it to say that . . . it’s a lot. I will wake up, fresh and energetic, and spend another day fixing lots of problems and planning activities to fill this strange summer. And maybe, when my 6-year-old asks for that chocolate milk, I’ll say, “Today, how about I show you how to make this for yourself?”
Originally published July 2020.
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