Christmas is over and moms all over the country are realizing what they suspected is really true – their families are helpless without them.
No matter if you are a working mom or a stay-at-home mom you know what I’m talking about. How many of us have husbands who knew what was in those Christmas packages before your kids opened them? How many of us had husbands who seemed really scarce during the chaotic decorating that got worse before the mom magic came out and settled it all into a Christmas wonderland?
I’m not saying my husband is lazy, he worked a lot of overtime before the holidays, but I wonder, is that by design? Maybe a part of their union contract says, “And on the eve of a holiday we pledge to offer overtime until all matters of personal décor are settled at home.”
There are women in my husband’s shop, but they are wives and mothers and probably chose not to take advantage of the overtime because they had a house to reclaim and a Christmas schedule to manage.
Then there is the familial philosophy: “Mom does it better.” It’s not a new concept only applied during the holidays, it happens all throughout the year. It’s the attitude of knowing there is a finisher amongst us: “I don’t feel like unloading the dishwasher, sweeping the floor, picking up that stray piece of paper, cleaning the cat box, filling the dog’s water, but not to worry, if I leave it Mom will take care of it.” It’s just more pronounced during the holidays when there are extra tasks.
I had the same attitude as a kid cleaning my room. When I did it looked okay, but when my mom helped me, it seemed to sparkle like an Orbit gum commercial. There is just something about the touch of a mom that makes everything seem better and everyone seem lazier – except mom.
You can’t tell me that my girlfriend’s teen and 20 somethings living at home don’t purposefully leave out the vegetables and spend a lot of money when they prepare a meal. Mom and dad said they had to contribute by cooking dinner so they could spend more time on the family business. The kids find time-consuming, expensive, gourmet recipes so when mom and dad sit down to enjoy the meal, mom has to get up and whip up a bag of frozen broccoli to add to it. Repeat the action enough times and they’ll quit asking their kids to cook.
I suggested to a neighbor that when he finds himself with a plethora of nieces and nephews dropped off at his “fun” house for the summer he put them to work. He paused and said, that brings up a whole new set of issues. I get it, when you set a kid to work, you can’t just leave, you have to monitor their progress.
But I am here to say, “Don’t let them fool you, stay persistent in your pursuit of chore delegation.” Sure, I am the one responsible for making our home the Christmas utopia it turned out to be. I am the one who made sure the grandparents were remembered, the almond roca got made and the gifts were wrapped, but I delegated a lot of the responsibility and didn’t say a word if it wasn’t done the way I would do it.
They will never do these tasks naturally while they are living at home, because they have mom to finish it for them, but someday, when they are on their own they will have the tools to create their own Christmas wonderland and they’ll like it.
Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She is currently enjoying her vacation. You can also read more of her writing and her daily blog on her website livingwithgleigh.com or on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh.” Her column is available every week at maplevalleyreporter.com under the Lifestyles section.