Memos from the Middle

Smack-Dab in the Middle of Living

Not the Mom I Thought I Was

There are times in a Mommy’s life when she feels like she’s finally figured out the secret to parent-, wife-, and work-life balance. And then there’s the moment right after that when the realities of some new, fresh hell make her realize that she has been completely oblivious to filth and grime that make up her real-life existence.

Today, Bubba and I were alone. Daddy had taken the girls to their hair appointment, saving me from the debilitating, arthritic, carpal tunnel-esque hand deformation from 7 hours of fine motor agony from the hair washing, detangling, and styling of my two curly-haired beauties. “Cool,” I say smiling contentedly at the prospect of a few hours without the bickering of sisters who spend way too much time together. “I’ll just sit here and watch a bit of Netflix.”

Taking a quick potty break between episodes of a true crime procedural, I notice my bathroom sink stopped up. What the heck is that?!?! I question, cautiously sticking my index finger down the hole. A small wad of toilet paper floats to the surface. “Bubba!” I scream. He comes running to the bathroom.

“Yes, Mommy?”

“Did you put tissue down the sink?”

“I am so sorry, Mommy.” Fire instantly wells up in my chest, and I realize that the best place for Bubba to be is far away from me.

“Go to your room, close the door, and don’t come out!”

I go to my cell phone and call my husband. “Your son,” (isn’t it funny how when the kids do something wrong they become the sole spawn of your spouse) “stuffed toilet paper down the bathroom sink.”

His response: “Really. What are you gonna do?”

So, listen: I’m not really sure what response I wanted, but that surely wasn’t it. I stood there unfolding a wire hanger and dreading the prospect of touching the plunger (yes, I’m that girl) thinking about all the names I could call him.

“I guess I’m gonna try to unstop the sink. I gotta go.”

I go back to the bathroom with the straightened wire hanger in my left hand, and I grab the plunger with my right. I do a quick plunge and realize that the idea of that is too gross to manage, so I go to put it back, and what do I find on the floor between the plunger tray (is that what you call it?) and the wall? A CHICKEN BONE.

Now, I admit that I am not the house cleaner I was before I had kids and the responsibilities of this job, but I am NOT the “go ahead and have some chicken in the bathroom and stash the bone behind the plunger” kind of mom, either. What the hell kind of kids am I raising?

So, of course, this sends me into a frenzy. I use my wire hanger to unclog the sink, and I start moving furniture around to see what other degeneracy is lurking about the house. There are candy wrappers under beds and carrots on window sills and apple sauce cups stashed under laundry, and MOMMY IS NOT HAPPY!

I sit down on the couch and stew for a few moments. I refuse to deep clean this house by myself. The girls arrive home, and I release Bubba from his confinement.

“Listen,” I begin. “I am disappointed and disgusted by the filth I’ve found throughout this house. The crazy part about all of this is that in the last 48 hours, you all claimed to have ‘cleaned’ all the places I’ve found food and food remnants.”

“Mommy, what does ‘remnants’ mean?” slides from D’s lips.

With a Rihanna-like side-eye, “I swear if you ask me anymore questions, I am going to go to jail! Use your context clues!” rihanna

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“You are going to help me clean this house. Not a power hour clean. Not a surface clean. But a real clean. Do you hear me?”

“Yes,” rang out in unison.

“Girls, head to the basement. I want it clean from front to back, including the laundry room. Bubba, go in that kitchen and clean off that table.”

All three kids head toward their assigned locations, walking like it was The Green Mile. I go to the bathroom to deep clean it when Bubba comes to the doorway.

“Mommy, you told me to clean the kitchen table, but that’s not my mess.”

I’d like to say that I took the time to explain that none of the messes in the house were mine. I’d like to say that I explained that when people live together they have to work hard to keep the entire living space free from debris for the overall good of the entire family. In truth, what I did was storm out of the house, sit in my car in the garage, and listen to 90s gangsta rap on satellite radio, and daydream of being 36 and kid free to work out my frustrations.

An hour later, I am ready to tackle the chicken bone and lovingly, but firmly, parent my kids.

Wish me luck!


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