Some parents have ambitious goals and plans for when their kids grow up and leave home. Travel the world, recarpet the entire house in white, cook gourmet meals every night which will be appreciated rather than inhaled on the way out the door to somewhere else… I can’t say that any of those goals are dear to my heart. When my kids grow up, I’m planning to go to their houses and drive them crazy.
My mother recently told me that when she retires from her job, she’s going to split her time between my home and those of my two brothers. “I’ll spend a few months with each of you,” she cackled. “Better get your guest rooms ready!”
At the time she mentioned this plan of hers, I thought, “Great! Built-in babysitter, chef, and housekeeper!” And then it dawned on me slowly – my mother wasn’t saying she’d be happy to come live in as my domestic helper. The cackle should have given it away: She was going to come live with me and my brothers and drive us as nuts as we drove her growing up.
You know, standing in front of the fridge with the door open, complaining there’s no food inside. Begging to use the car and then begging for petrol money. Needing something baked/sewn/bought/picked up/paid for/signed off on/created approximately six hours before it was due. Slamming doors. Leaving stuff everywhere. Tracking mud all over the (non-white) carpet.
As a parent, my expectations have definitely decreased in quality. I’d like to go to the bathroom just once without someone needing something from me right this minute. It would be nice if going somewhere with the kids didn’t mean 10 trips back inside the house to retrieve water bottles, action figures, the shoes that actually fit, etc. I’d appreciate being able to go out to dinner and a movie without having to pay for a babysitter.
And I’m equally sucked in by those memes you see all over Facebook with sayings like, “You never know the last time your child climbs into your lap for a cuddle until after it’s over. Cherish them now.” Shut up, guilt-inducing meme. I’m doing my best trying to enjoy my children while they’re young, but I deserve sanity too!
So while I’m planning to drive my kids crazy when they’re grown-up, I’m also aware that they might be parents dealing with crazy-making small children at the same time. So perhaps I’ll have to wait until THEIR children grow up in order to have the maximum impact. In which case, I wonder if I can hold my mother off for a few more years…
Have a great week.