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Desperate Working Mommas
Your one-stop site for fanatical television snarking, questionable political analysis, occasional attempts to address the parenting issues facing working mothers, and halfhearted promises to stop obsessing about the entertainment industry, already! Oh, not to mention the random bitching and moaning. There's always that.
Monday, February 07, 2005
Why Company Is Bad For The Momma

*Caution: AARON, this post could be construed as long(ish). You may lose interest, due to this post's innate longness. You may have ALREADY lost interest. Because it's long. You have been warned. Continue at your own risk. I'm just sayin'.

I love company. Really, I do. I am a naturally vivacious person, a veritable social butterfly, and nothing thrills me more than someone coming to visit. I break out the good sheets, I buy guest-sized toiletries for the bathrooms, I plan elaborate menus, I even clean the toilets! And I tell you honestly that nobody was more onboard than I was for my mother-in-law to fly out from Arizona for a three-week visit to help out with the kids while my husband was away on business.

"How nice!" you say? You would think so, wouldn't you? But, then again, you don't know my mother-in-law.

Sure. Sometimes I am astounded by my brilliant mothering skills. Astounded! I mean, I can pick outfits for my two daughters and son that are both cute AND color-coordinated while still allowing maximum flexibility for playground acrobatics. And I can french-braid like nobody's business, let me tell you. And my son's hair? Well, let's just say that a buzz cut always looks nice.

With motherly wisdom, I shop the sales, I bake the treats, I plan the parties, I wash the sheets, I even sew the occasional Easter dresses (and once, a wickedly cute matching vest for my son, but he doesn't like me to talk about that)...

But Grandma? That woman has it out for me.

Yesterday I came home from work, rarin' to get started on my motherly evening duties which consist of simultaneously nagging my children to do their homework while checking out who is on a previously recorded episode of Ellen and making sure the almonds and chocolate chips haven't gone bad. But yesterday, my well-laid plans were shot to hell, all because of my mother-in-law.

As I walked through the door, I ran into my three children, who were clutching a suspicious-looking piece of paper and peering curiously into the coat closet. Before I could ask the obvious question-- "Okay, who did you hog-tie and throw in there?"-- they cried out, "We're on a treasure hunt!"

"A treasure hunt?" you ask? Oh yes, a treasure hunt. With actual treasures! Hidden throughout the house! Treasures they could eat!

My children dragged themselves away from the fun for a few valuable seconds to show me the hand-sketched map of our home, with several X's marking the spots where they could conceivably find some sort of surprise. Yes, I did say "hand-sketched," in case you missed it. Or thought you heard incorrectly. Hand-sketched. In minute detail. Did I not mention that Grandma is an amazing artist?

They proudly showed me a few treasures they had already discovered, consisting of such goodies as a tin container filled with tortilla chips, a sandwich bag swarming with Goldfish (of the snack variety, naturally), even some almonds and chocolate chips in a Tupperware container.

Oh no she DIDN'T!

"I thought it would be a fun way to give them a snack," she explained to me, in her sweet, sincere voice, when I gazed at her with wide-eyed, unqualified horror.

A fun way to give them a snack?! What's wrong with slapping a bag of Goldfish on the kitchen table and reminding them to be sure to use a napkin, not their shirts? Huh? HUH? But NO, she had to go and whip out the Treasure Hunt O' Fun. A treasure hunt which, did I mention, culminated with the discovery of artfully layered lime Jell-O and whipped cream in the Only For Special Occasions Because They Shatter When Small Children Squeeze Them Glass Cups, hidden cunningly in the back of the oven? No? Well, it did.

But the treasure hunt wasn't all. Oh no, no, no. In order to render me completely obsolete, my children had cleaned their rooms, completed their chores, and had gone and finished their homework. Without my help. Or tears. Or threats of eternal doom and a career at McDonalds.

That is correct.

My mother-in-law had brought about in a mere forty-five minutes what usually took me AT LEAST an episode of Ellen, a covert handful of almonds and chocolate chips, at least one outburst of stormy tears (sometimes my kids cried, too), and a good thirty-six-and-a-half minutes of threats, whining, and nagging to accomplish.

What is this woman trying to do to me?! Does she hate me? She goes home in less than three weeks and where does that leave me?!

The bar, people. The BAR! You see, don't you? It has been RAISED.

link | posted by Cat at 11:17 AM

Blogger Circus Kelli commented:

You know, I'd say that bar has definitely been raised. Give it a few days, though. Perhaps the "novelty" will wear off for the kids or Grandma... or perhaps she's bribing them somehow.

Silly kids, always doing what Grandma's ask, but not what Mom asks. ;)

» 2/08/2005 7:41 AM 
Blogger Cat commented:

If she wasn't just the SWEETEST lady EVER, I'd totally hate her! But she is. Alas. So I can't.

» 2/08/2005 10:02 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous commented:

big sistah says:
Just enjoy the fun. If Tanner, Hannah, or Ali dare to complain when Claire is gone that you don't do enough fun things with them, just plan to come visit them when they have kids and create loads of fun.
Come on that's what grandmas and grandpas do. They do all the fun things with their grandchildren, that they never did with their own children!

» 2/08/2005 10:30 AM 
Blogger Cat commented:

Big Sistah, et al:

Lest any of you get the wrong idea (as Aaron points out to me you may), I LOVES me some Grandma Claire! Nothin' but love for my MIL, and that's the TRUTH.

AND Big Sistah is wise beyond her many, MANY years (oh, I kid!). I am so onboard with your suggestion. So, so onboard.

» 2/08/2005 10:38 AM 
Blogger Circus Kelli commented:

Hee hee... I lucked out. I love my MIL to pieces, too. HOWEVER, she's already told me she was a much more "relaxed parent" than I am (and that was said without any trace of malice at all on her part... really.) :)

» 2/08/2005 2:09 PM 

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