Friday, September 25, 2009

Mine, Mine, Mine

I have a confession to make: I don't like to share. With anyone. At all. And I don't care who knows it. I'm like Joey on "Friends", in that episode where he refuses to share his french fries with the girl he's dating. "Joey doesn't share food!" he yells. Well, that's me, only not just with food. With everything.

Oh, I used to make sure that I "modeled" those skills, and prided myself on the fact that my firstborn never went through the "MINE" phase that most toddlers do. I used to insist that everyone share everything, from blankets to cookies to crayons. Share your toys at playdates, your Golfish at preschool, the couch with your sister.

But that was before I realized that I didn't actually have anything that was all mine anymore. I share a room and a bathroom and a closet with my husband. My kitchen table is usually covered with homework or art projects or leftover apple slices, my beautiful flower garden has jump ropes and princess figurines in it, and even my cat has a doll's bonnet on his head and a pink bow on his tail. (Not a joke. He's very tolerant. And lazy.) I found a Webkinz in my bed this morning, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't mine.

Once you become a mom, suddenly it's like you're living in a communist state: you own nothing, it's all communal property, and the dictators take your stuff and redistribute it to the "needy". My body, once strong and hard and decked out in designer fashions, became first a milk factory and then a giant napkin for kids to wipe off whatever they found on their hands. (I have a memory of ketchup-y hand prints on the white t-shirt covering my 8-months-pregnant belly.) My mind, once used to write insightful papers on the rise of socialism or the fall of apartheid, is now barely able to read the headlines in my local paper, but I can recite Goodnight Moon from memory. My car? A total mom-mobile, an SUV complete with car seats, stale graham crackers, and school spirit magnets. I used to carry cute handbags that would barely contain the essentials: ID, money, lipstick. Now I could feed a third-world country with the Cheerios at the bottom of my bag, and there are enough stickers to entertain a classroom full of Kindergartners. My tape and stapler are usually on my third-grader's desk, even though she has her own stuff in her own desk in her own room. Don't ask what they did with my toothbrush. You don't want to know. I don't want to know.

And it's not just the kids. If I open a soda, my husband materializes out of thin air, asking, "Can I have a sip?" And of course, his idea of a sip is about half the can. If I grab a brownie, he's at my side: "Are you going to finish that?" Um, yes, that was the general idea. I may not have finished law school, but I'm pretty sure that community property law does not extend to dessert.

So I've decided that enough is enough. If I have a piece of toast, no one better ask me for a bite. When I get a new nail polish, you'd better believe that I'll be the first one to use it. And no, you CANNOT have a sip of my diet Dr. Pepper. It's mine, mine, all mine! (Insert evil laugh here.)

As moms, we tend to lose ourselves while caring for our families. We put them first, their needs way ahead of ours, forgetting that we need to care for ourselves, too. If the kids sit in front of the TV while I drink a cup of coffee and look over the paper, that's just fine. Thirty minutes of the boob tube probably won't take off more than a point or two from their IQs, right? And if my husband has to get his own damn Oreos instead of eating mine, he'll live. Why do my daughters look like they just stepped out of the latest Justice catalog while I'm wearing a Target t-shirt from 2002? How did that happen? I used to wear Armani! And what am I teaching my daughters about their roles as mothers some day? Will they think that they have no right to a life of their own once they become mothers? That is so not what I want for them, so why do I let that be my reality?

Slacker Mom Says...don't practice what you preach all the time. It's ok to say, "No, that's Mommy's and you may NOT have any of it." It's ok to make the rest of them wait while you paint your nails, check your email, or eat your toast before it gets cold. I may have to eat my lunch at 10:30 in the morning, but I'm going to make sure that I have some time each day that belongs only to me. And I'm reclaiming the living room as a toy-free zone! And no one uses my nail polish or hairbrush! And the french fries at the bottom of the bag? MINE! And the roses on my birthday cake? MINE! (Insert evil laugh here.)

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