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I Quit

I quit. Okay, I really can’t quit, but like many other women, I secretly dream about it. We lie in bed at night and actually dream about it—plus we spend those finite, small moments of silence day-dreaming about it. Quit what? I suppose I should be specific.

Why is it that the teeny-tiny things in life can suddenly appear larger than a giant monster, all in a few moments’ time? As a mom, I completely understand the plaque I once read that said: “Your failure to plan does not constitute an emergency on my part.” Moms simply can’t afford to quit worrying, it is our job; however, it is not our complete resume.

We all have heard that yell: “MMMoooooommm!” And we have cringed thinking of the many possibilities in which this new “emergency” may entail. What are the “emergencies” that assault us every day? Perhaps it is that monster that never refills the toilet paper when it is empty. Of course, when we are home alone and find ourselves at the mercy of this monster, who steps in to help us? We get creative. We have no choice. There is nobody there to yell at to come save our butts.

How many of us have had our lovely child come up to us just before bed and say, “Oh yeah Mom, tomorrow we are doing that play thingy and I need a George Washington costume” or even worse, “I told my teacher that you’d make us all cupcakes for her birthday tomorrow. She said her favorite is chocolate with raspberry filling.” Where do I start?

We have all stood there with that look on our face—you know the one—it is somewhere between complete shock and dismay, while also tinged with anger and exhaustion. Kids immediately read this expression and panic—which is exactly how they should react—but that look is never bad enough to prevent them from causing us to make that “face” happen again.

We dream about never having that “face” on again. How did my mom do it? I can’t remember seeing her wear that face; then I realize that she did, but she had been far smarter than I have been. She perfected that “look” until it was successful in stopping us in our tracks and making us reconsider our current, perceived emergency.

I spent an hour practicing my new and improved “look” in the mirror and even tried it on for my husband. I am not sure if he was simply in shock or too terrified to laugh. For a week, I practiced my new “look” so I would be prepared for the time which I knew was inevitable to arise. I wanted it to jump effortlessly onto my face and leave them shocked and afraid. Very afraid.

My life is filled with laundry, dishes, mopping, and many other things which all demand lather, rinse, and repeat. It is an endless cycle that I know if I skipped one single item, it would send the entire household into panic. This morning I went to the bathroom and once again, there was no toilet paper. I went downstairs and discovered that each child has a little chore but nothing got done this morning. I went into the kitchen to find trash bins overflowing, dishes in the sink, and the dogs looking up at me with empty bowls in front of them. I fed the dogs and went on strike.

I went and got a pedicure, then lunch, then came home and pretended to watch soap operas while reading a magazine. I turned my phone off after I texted everyone to find other ways to get home. They all wandered in one at a time, looked at me like I was an alien, and I flashed them that entire “look” I had been practicing. No, their laundry was not done. No, I didn’t go buy your favorite cereal. No, I didn’t plan dinner and it is not made. They huddled in their rooms afraid—and then one-by-one tiptoed by and did their chores.

When my husband got home, I flashed him the “look” and he said “Good one!” and smiled. He and I both knew that as I sat there, I had spent the day realizing that everything would patiently wait until tomorrow. He smiled as he saw the kids quietly scurrying around, doing their chores. We went out to dinner and the kids sat quietly. Finally, one got up the nerve to say, “What did I do to make you angry with me?”

I simply said, “Toilet paper.”

Maybe I have finally perfected that “look” that stops them in their tracks. I can only hope so, because that “look” makes my face hurt. Perhaps that is why my mom rarely wore it unless it was necessary.

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