Indispensable Me

overwhelmed-mom-1950s“Mom! Can you help me?!”

I hear that phrase throughout the day, invariably bellowed from some other room in the house while I’m trying to cook, clean, answer emails, put away groceries, fold laundry, take a shower, write my column, or watch a DVRed episode of The Bachelorette while savoring an afternoon cup of microwaved coffee.

Summertime exacerbates this annoying phenomenon, because I can’t drop my kids off at school to get them out of my hair for a few cotton-picking minutes. Ironically, the teens, while claiming complete autonomy, seem particularly dependent on me to wake them, feed them, entertain them, stop them from frying their brains in front of the television, and remind them to shower.

There’s no doubt about it: my husband works very hard to support our family. However, he tends to add to my burden at home by being endlessly hungry, inordinately hairy, and pretty much clueless when it comes to using the remote.

To make matters a tad [read: a gazillion times] worse, we just moved from Florida to Rhode Island a few weeks ago. It is our ninth military move, so you’d think we’d have it down pat by now.

However, here it is, nearly six weeks after the movers dropped off all of our worldly possessions, and we’re still eating off of paper plates because no one has volunteered to unpack the dish box.  We’re drying ourselves with washcloths because no one has found the towels. We’ve even resorted to writing down Googled information on something called a piece of paper, with something called a pencil, because no one’s hooked up the printer yet.

Sure, it will all get sorted out, assembled, installed, and put away. It always does. But it will take many weeks longer than I thought it would, because everyone relies on me to figure it all out.

You see, my family lives under the false premise that I am the manager, the foreman, the safety net, the principal engineer, the scullery maid, and the Grand Pubah of all things tedious, arduous and annoying. Despite the considerable responsibility of my multi-faceted position; there are no benefits of which to speak, unless “being needed” can be perceived as advantageous.

If you ask me, it’s highly overrated.

But I cannot protest too much, because this unfortunate set of circumstances is my own doing. Back when the kids were mere munchkins and my husband’s hairline had not begun to recede, I reveled in my Supermom status. I was younger, stronger, more energetic, less forgetful, and significantly less dependent on caffeine to keep me awake during the day. I considered mothering an exciting challenge to conquer, and I did so with fierce determination.

I planned and cooked balance meals, I whipped up Halloween costumes from felt and pipe cleaners, I landscaped the yard with a baby wrapped around my midsection, I orchestrated elaborate birthday parties with goodie bags that would rival infamously indulgent Oscar party swag, I taught myself how to install ceiling fans and sink faucets, I jig sawed my son’s Soap Box Derby car, I endured long deployments without so much as a whiff of antidepressants.

I did it all. But little did I know, my family would come to expect it.

Fast-forward a decade or two, and suddenly, I’m to motherhood what Peyton Manning is to football. What Vicki Gunvalson is to The Real Housewives. What Courtney Love is to the band Hole. What Carrot Top is to comedy. What James Carville and Mary Matalin are to political commentary. Our minions have come to depend on us to carry the team/show/industry/debate, but we’re all getting too tired/injured/pathetic/strung out/disfigured by plastic surgery to do it all.

So, to all you younger stay-at-home moms, let this rant serve as a warning: Dispense with any fantasies of becoming a Supermom now, or later, your family may decide that you’ve become indispensable.

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Comments: 18

  1. beingnenne August 17, 2013 at 6:06 pm Reply

    Hahaha! That was a fun post..also the remark about your husband being inordinately hairy but with a receding hairline make me chuckle..I relate..I’d think some of that hair would find its way to the head where it belongs but it doesn’! Anyways thanks for the warning. I work and still I feel the urge to be the a supermom..lesson learnt, brakes applied..Lol! Thanks for a fun post..

  2. themedicaremomam August 15, 2013 at 9:28 pm Reply

    Hey, I’ve missed you. I need to figure out how to roll you on my blog thing. At least you have a name like Mom. I am now and I guess forever will be “Hey Mom” being so dubbed by the 8 yr old. Only 11 days until school starts…l hr in the car picking up and delivering but ONE HOUR OF COMPLETE SILENCE…even if it is 15 minutes at a time. Jody, The Medicare Mom

  3. Nancy DeLaval Miller August 15, 2013 at 7:05 pm Reply

    I love your column. You are what I try to be, funny! I think your mothering skills could be enhanced by reading my blog “Breaking the Sleep Barrier” on itsmindbloggleing. It outlines great ways to make your teenagers wake up. I think you’ll enjoy my humorous methods.

  4. uswanaveed August 10, 2013 at 7:06 am Reply

    i love my mom….

  5. Heidi Eckl August 9, 2013 at 10:01 am Reply

    While I’m not a mommy, the man I live with might as well be a child, so I can relate to this on a miniscule level. *sigh* At least I have some insight as to what I have to look forward to! Great read!

    • Lisa Smith Molinari August 9, 2013 at 12:54 pm Reply

      I wish I would have had this advice when I was your age. Sometimes being a Damsel in Distress can be to your benefit. And I agree with you about grown men being just like children, only hairier!

  6. Anonymous August 8, 2013 at 8:33 pm Reply

    Lisa, you now live in New England, the football home of Tom Brady, whose name you shall use in place of Peyton Manning’s when you want to refer to one of them as the symbol of professional football excellence. Your neighborhood Welcome Wagon won’t be able to top that friendly tip.

    • Lisa Smith Molinari August 8, 2013 at 8:59 pm Reply

      Point taken, that was a wicked stupid mistake!

      • Mike Farley August 8, 2013 at 9:07 pm Reply

        First, you and Suzette bumped me down to third place in the NSNC column contest, and now I’m showing up as Anonymous. Talk about irrelevant.

        • Lisa Smith Molinari August 8, 2013 at 9:30 pm Reply

          Mike, you are getting paranoid! Your mug and full name are clearly showing up on my comments page, so there must be some computer glitch. I did not realize, however, that it was you who made the comment about Tom Bradley because you were listed as “Someone.” You are certainly not Anonymous, and you certainly are Someone, so let’s chalk this up to harmless error, shall we?

  7. susandaoustyoung August 8, 2013 at 7:38 pm Reply

    I can relate…and even tho my 27, 30 and 32 year old “kids” are out on their own, I still get the frantic calls for help and advice…it never ends!

    • Lisa Smith Molinari August 8, 2013 at 7:41 pm Reply

      Advice? Your kids ask you for ADVICE? Wow, … I look forward to the day when my kids acknowledge that I actually have a brain in my head.

  8. nursemommylaughs August 8, 2013 at 7:07 pm Reply

    That is so true. Once you let them in on the secret you are good at cooking or cleaning or doing ANYTHING, your goose is cooked. The rest of the family will be wiser and lazier forever!! I did it too. Now I’m paying for that poor decision. Listen younglings. Listen and learn.

    • Lisa Smith Molinari August 8, 2013 at 7:20 pm Reply

      In honor of your comment, Nursemommylaughs, I’m boycotting dinner tonight and curling up in front of my DVR with popcorn. Take that!

  9. lauras50by50 August 8, 2013 at 6:59 pm Reply

    I set no such expectations…and yet my teens still treat me that way…*sigh*

    • Lisa Smith Molinari August 8, 2013 at 7:19 pm Reply

      One of my readers and fellow writers commented a while back that her mother used to say, “Kids should be locked up between the ages of 13 and 18, and then let out on probation.” Amen!

  10. ldaffin August 8, 2013 at 6:09 pm Reply

    What a nice read after the day I had……smiling 😉

    • Lisa Smith Molinari August 8, 2013 at 7:17 pm Reply

      Let’s hope they appreciate us someday before we’re too old to comprehend it!

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