The Mom Phenomenon


I grew up in a relatively quiet home. I was an only child and I kept to myself mostly. I liked my own company and rarely got into trouble because when you don’t have any siblings, there are very few ways to find mischief. I enjoyed the quiet. I could think, daydream, and imagine. I was also very private. I had a few personal rules. I didn’t blow my nose in public, I never pooped in a public restroom, and I never went to the bathroom or changed clothes in front of anyone. These are pretty standard rules. I don’t think anyone would accuse me of being a prude.

Fast-forward a few years and a few kids. As I sit here typing, I am acutely aware that the TV is on, both of my children are on dueling I Pads watching You Tube videos about Minecraft, and the dog is snoring on the bed. I can barely think straight and I have no idea what I’m currently typing. Jeff is in the other room. I need a break, so I get up to get a drink. What I witness is what I call the “Mom Phenomenon.” Jeff is stretched out on the couch, alone, sleeping. The TV is barely audible and he looks so peaceful. Contrast that to my reality. There are 3 different audio shows simultaneously playing, 4 if you count the dog snoring. Everyone is in my room. The “Mom Phenomenon” is equivalent to a beacon of light (me) that attracts all sorts of bugs and moths (children and pets). If I leave the room, they follow. It’s sweet. Except when it’s not.

The person that never went to the bathroom in front of anyone now has a captive audience.

  • Me: (sitting on the toilet)
  • Child: Mom, can I have some apples?
  • Me: I’m kind of busy right now. Give me a minute.
  • Child: Can I have some juice?
  • Me: Go ask your dad.
  • Child: What are you doing?
  • Me: I’m pooping, OK?
  • Child: Eww mom, you stink!

Child runs away and then the dog enters.

The person that never changed in front of anyone now has no privacy.

  • Me: (In the shower)
  • Child: Mom can I have some apples?
  • Me: Go get it out of the fridge.
  • Child: But I want you to get it.
  • Me: I’m in the shower right now.
  • Child: Can I have some juice?
  • Me: (pulls back curtain) Seriously?
  • Child: I see your boobs.
  • Me: Go away.
  • Child: They look weird.

Child runs away. Under my breath, I mutter, yeah and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT. Dog sits beside the tub staring at me.

I have learned a lot about privacy, boundaries, and manners. It can all be summed up in the following: privacy, boundaries and manners don’t exist in my little family. Neither does peace and quiet. Neither does solitude. Except for Jeff. As he lay on the couch sleeping, I wake up the dog on our bed and motion for him to jump on Jeff. The dog jumps on the couch, Jeff wakes with a start, appears confused for a moment, looks at me, and I smile.




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