Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I May Be the Boss, But Nobody's Listening

The other day, my husband came home from work and ranted about his day. Nothing went right, no one did their job well, paperwork was lost, people didn't follow through, everyone was slacking off, blah blah blah blah blah. Being the perfect loving, patient wife, I said, "I'm so sorry you had a rough day. Want some dinner?" and served him some grilled salmon and fresh vegetables by candlelight. (True story. I think Slacker Mom was off duty that day.)

But what I WANTED to say was, "Get over it! You think you had a bad day? Did anyone puke on the new area rug at YOUR office? How many of YOUR employees had major meltdowns in the middle of Target? Did anyone at YOUR work require 7 bandaids, 2 elaborate hair styles, socks that weren't itchy, AND individually-packed home-made lunches while your co-workers were still asleep, all before 7 AM? Welcome to my world!"

Much as I loved teaching, I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I love my life and I'm happy with the choices I've made, don't get me wrong, but there are times I'd welcome the positive feedback and tangible rewards that come from a "real" job. True, I get paid in sticky kisses and endless hugs, but there are times I'd like to hear "Great job!" from my boss. And then I remember, I don't have a boss! I AM the boss! And why don't I feel like it? Why do I feel like I work for everyone else? Why do I feel like I run around meeting everyone else's needs and ignoring my own? Why do I feel guilty taking ten minutes to paint my toenails when there's dirty laundry piled to the ceiling and no one has clean tights for ballet class? Why, indeed?

My friend Jen recently told her husband, "You don't understand. You go to work, you're the boss, everyone listens to you and does whatever you say." His (typically male) response? "Honey, you're the boss here at home!" to which she replied, "I may be the boss, but no one listens!" Truer words were never spoken. We are in charge of EVERYTHING, but we don't feel in control of much. We are responsible for EVERYTHING, but get (take?) little credit when it all turns out well. Lots of blame if it all goes to hell in a handbasket, but credit? Not so much.

But then I call my best friend to vent, and she reminds me of something important: I'm living the dream. I have this time with my kids, time that can never be taken from me, that I will never regret, that I will cherish forever. She even bought me an engraved bracelet that says "Live the Life you Love", to remind me that this is the life I've always wanted, it's the life I chose, the life I do, indeed, love. I wouldn't change any of it for the world. I just need to slow down, enjoy the ride, and relax a bit more.

Slacker Mom Says...slow down. Do less for everyone else if it means doing more for yourself. Moms need to cherish themselves so that they can cherish their kids. We need to feed ourselves, literally and figuratively, before we can feed our kids' bodies, brains, souls. That's the reason the airlines tell us to put on our own oxygen masks first. Once our needs are met, we can help our kids safely navigate the waters of childhood. So I'm going to be the boss, and I'm giving myself some time off, starting today.


  1. This is so true! Yes, I am the boss and if you ask any of my girls they would tell you so. However, I may be the boss but no one shows me respect in same manner that I demonstrate respect towards my principal at work. Where did I go wrong? My oldest daughter answered this question for me one day. After the yelling, screaming, pulling my hair out, and punishing the girls for not listening, not following directions, and for speaking to me in a disrespectful manner, I got my answer. I asked my nine year old why she feels that is okay to give me such a hard time, when she is a teacher's dream student at school. Her answer was simple and so so true. "Mommy I know you will love me no matter what and when you're mad at me you still really love me." This was an Ah Ha moment. I guess I'm doing something right.

    It is true, I am living the dream. I could look at my life and see a mom that is raising three girls alone four days a week (including weekends) and an over worked teacher trying to meet students', parents', and administrators expectations. But instead I choose to see a mom that is showing her girls how important it is to become a strong independent woman with a rewarding career.

    We all need to remind ourselves that we are living our dreams or a slightly altered version of our dreams. And because of all the hard work it takes to live this dream, slacker mom has permission to appear form time to time so that we remain sane people.

  2. Days like today I really wish I could quit "living the dream" or at least go to a 9-5 job. I just plug away and tell myself that some day, one day there will be reward for all my effort.

    (This is Beth, btw).