I am the Heavy out our house. I guess because I'm the Mom, because I'm with the kids all day, and because we home-school, I'm the parent who says, "Finish reading your literature assignment." "Your chore is washing the dishes tonight." "You've been on the computer too long." "Just because it's raining doesn't mean you can spend the entire afternoon on the PlayStation." "The speed limit here is 55!" "Your attitude toward your sister this afternoon is entirely too critical and mean-spirited." "Where will you be going and when will you be back?"
Life isn't all Mom riding herd on the younglings. We do have some very pleasant, enjoyable times together. I think my kids are the most amazing, fascinating people I know. I love being in their company, learning about their music, meeting their friends, hearing their dreams and interests. But, if there's a need for correction, for some input that's less-than-delightful, nine times out of ten that will be coming from me.
I've long been aware of the blessing/burden of being the Heavy, and I have to admit there have been times when I've wished I could be the Fun Parent. When I started keeping baby Maryanna last fall, one of my motivations was that I wanted to have a little bit of income to set aside particularly for doing fun things with or for my kids. An occasional movie at the theater. A spontaneous trip to McDonald's for lunch. It hasn't exactly worked out that way, though - piano lessons have been fun for the girls, but mostly the money has gone for gas for the car, shoes for the shoeless, etc. Seems like as much as I want to be fun, my nature just refuses to join in the dance.
Being the Heavy - and wishing I weren't - slapped me upside the head again last night. We have a family movie night each week, usually on Saturday. Yesterday, with the weather cold and gray and no evening services at church, Steve thought it would be a nice diversion to have an extra movie night. He and one of the kids headed to the video store and picked up the three Mission Impossible releases. We settled into our seats with our popcorn and watched the first movie. Then, someone suggested we put in the second DVD, just to find out what Ethan Hunt's next assignment would be.
Well, once we had the next story introduced, you can guess what happened. The kids wanted to go ahead and watch the rest of the story. Mom, on the other hand, thought that everyone should be calling it a night and heading to bed. I wasn't up to an all-night movie marathon, and I didn't think my students should be either. After a round of protest, I thought, You know, this is just me being the Heavy again. I need to lighten up. "Well, alright, you guys go ahead and watch the movie, but I'm heading to bed." Of course by then, with my having registered my initial objection to any further movie watching, the rest of the family didn't feel like they could indulge in another movie and they turned the TV off. Bummer. My effort at loosening up and letting things go a little backfired. Instead of ending the evening on a light-hearted note, the kids were down-in-the-mouth about having to curtail their movie watching, and I was feeling gray for having put an ineradicable cloud over another fun family event. Blegh!
So here it is Monday morning. Time for Mom to rouse the sleepyheads out for another day of schoolwork and chores. But I am tired of being the Heavy. Somehow, in the midst of the very real demands of this job of motherhood, I need to find a way to lighten up.
3 weeks ago