I want to preface this post by saying this story is LOOSELY based on my children because they are constantly doing jobs around the house. They usually do them without griping, and they are not ungrateful slackers. They are very appreciative, and they work hard. I just thought it would be fun to write a humorous spin on every parent's fantasy—children doing chores.
I harbor irrational fantasies that my kids will remember to do the chores I ask of them. I know I’m a bit unrealistic—like on the first day of family vacation at the beach when I have expectations of a trip filled with idyllic, joyous togetherness.
Truthfully, I shouldn’t expect my teenagers to recall much. The nerve synapses of their brains aren’t fully connected yet. I’m sure my twelfth-grader has a form of amnesia similar to elderly dementia. Only two groups of people would enter their bedroom carrying a stack of folded laundry and forget what to do with it—and they’re both Seniors.
The other day I tousled my son’s hair, gave the girls a friendly wink, and gently suggested to my kids that they put away their clean clothes, thinking they would get right to it. My optimism soared like an airplane flying over the beach advertising 2-for1 drinks at Bubba Gump’s.
“This show’s got five more minutes, Mom!” they replied to my benign request.
Thirty minutes later it was “Hang on, Mom, I’ve just got one more song to download.”
My hands clenched with a prickly edginess typical of the fourth day of family bonding at the seashore. That’s when I usually find the girls’ wet swimsuits on the floor of our rented condo and realize that the neon colors have faded permanently on carpet that belongs to someone else.
Finally I ordered them to put away their clothes before bed and they pretended to be asleep. Like the last day of a family trip, I threw all remnants of my absurd enthusiasm to the sharks. The tide was going to turn.
The next morning after church I stomped up the stairs, my fingernails digging into the leather Bible I was still clutching. I was like one of those exasperated moms who has ridden water slides all day with her kid and who screams at a ten-year-old stranger for breaking in line in front of her at the Big Kahuna in Florida. Not that I’ve ever done that.
I was ready to blow, and being a born-and-bred Southerner, I was fixin’ to go get a gun off the rifle rack in my 4 x 4 and just see what my kids would do. Even Jesus threw the thieves out of the temple so I bet you He’s on my side. My eyes blazing, I let the threats fly.
“I am so sick of being the only one in this house who does anything! You people have it too easy and things are going to change around here!” I lowered my voice, hissing for effect, “That computer’s mine, and it is SO gone!”
Gaining more momentum, I stomped through the girls’ rooms. “As a matter of fact, my baseboards are filthy and so is the inside of my car from the Cheeto balls and sunflower seeds,” I ranted. “You need to figure out how to work that vacuum cleaner because it’s gonna be your best friend!”
Striding out of the bathroom and making a mental note of the moldy grout between the floor tiles, I spun around right outside the door. I pointed my finger. “And you better put a smile on your face when you do it because I’m videoing it all and putting it on Youtube.”
Obviously traumatized, the girls gaped at me. “Mom! Why are you yelling?? Why do you yell ALL the time?!”
I glared at them from right outside their bathroom, and they gently shut the door on me, signaling they were finished with the conversation. A life-size Justin Beiber, taped to the other side of their door, stared at me, his swinging bangs and grin mocking my outrage. Seething, I channeled the spirit of Dr. Phil who suggested I impose a consequence for their defiance so heinous it would shake the gates of Hell. I grabbed the perfect poison from the cleaning closet and marched back to their bathroom.
The girls thought I had left for good so they plopped on the bathroom floor and began painting their nails. When I opened the bathroom door, they jumped, spilling “Surfin’ with Sandy Cheeks” nail polish on the tile which spread all over the black, moldy grout.
Annoyed that I was back to nag, they rolled their eyes and asked in their sweetest, sarcastic voices, “What can we do for you Mom??”
I looked down at the grout, took a deep breath, and handed them Dr. Phil’s remedy—toothbrushes and bleach.
Their reaction was a Kodak moment.
The next day my friend, Susan, called who only has one child and thankfully has the time to stalk all my kids on Facebook.
“Your profile picture is a little different today on Facebook, hon,” she said. “Looks like someone who has some sort of anger issues against you hacked into your account.”
With trepidation, I typed in my password. Surely, it wasn’t the girls who hacked into my Facebook, I thought. But then again, they set it up for me in the first place. That’s why the password is BUTTHEAD.
There, right beside my name, was a picture of me taken last year on the final day of our family vacation—a wide-angle picture of my dimply derriere in a swimsuit at the beach. The caption underneath read, “Surfin‘ with Sandy Cheeks.”