Doting Mothers

There are women out there who are making me look bad.

Not the superwoman with the high-powered job who can accomplish everything. It is that doting mother. If memory serves me correctly I was a doting mother once. This might fall under the category of revisionist history. At least give me “sometimes attentive mother.”  I must have done something right to get them to adulthood without a single emergency room visit or grandmother intervention.

My kids would come home from play dates with these fantastic stories of mothers who doted on the kids around them. I just knew play dates were dangerous. What do you need, honey?  Can I get you a snack, sweetie? Trays of chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven, with the perfect blend of chocolate milk. Heck, I wanted to come spend the afternoon there.

If only my kids had not been allowed to visit other homes when they learned to talk. Then I wouldn’t have heard the stories of mothers who did arts & crafts and made beaded necklaces with them. Or colored fifty dozen Easter eggs. I thought they were over there to play video games.

And the food.  If you listen to my kids, you’d think the only thing I offered came from industrial size boxes from warehouse clubs. In my defense, they are very convenient and have a very long shelf life. In fact, I might still have something if you are hungry. But then I hear other mothers are offering fresh meatballs in homemade sauce, penne ala vodka with shrimp. All this without reservations and gratuity! At my house, all I can offer is a dusty apple. If you come back tomorrow, that banana should be ready.  I have plenty of vegetables that no one seems interested in. Go figure.

My kids come home with these fairy tales of moms warming up full plates of food that contain a deliciously seasoned protein, perfectly steamed vegetables that they would never eat at home, a complex carbohydrate that requires peeling, boiling, mashing, which is way too much trouble for me, finished off with a homemade dessert. The upside is that since my kids were at those houses, I didn’t need to come up with a dish of any sort. I ask: “Will you be home for dinner?” If the majority says No, I am off the hook for meal prep. I’ve even narrowed down the window of opportunity – dinner is from 5:45-6:15pm. I find being specific helps avoid confusion and disappointment or work on my part. I trace my attitude to the minute someone said “I don’t want that for dinner.”

A doting mother follows the philosophy of cook once, feed a small army twice. I’m more like, cook once and rest on that laurel for the week. And jumping up to reheat your food when you come in from a night out? Remember that microwave I got at the baby shower? I’ll show you how to use it. Can this be classified as doting? It is teaching a skill.

Doting doesn’t just take place in the kitchen. The minute kids can dress themselves, there is nothing wrong with introducing them to the hamper. When kids begin to change clothes multiple times a day, they should know how to use the controllers on the washer and dryer.  Doting mothers, rumor has it, not only pick up the clothes, but kids find them back in their rooms hung up, folded, even coordinated in their closets. Please don’t tell my children that. I can’t bear the thought of going in their rooms.

I get a kick out of mothers telling kids to “put a coat on, it’s cold outside.” Well, if my kids haven’t figured out winter coats are seasonal outfits, they need more than a doting mother. If it was cold yesterday and cold the day before, common sense, not your mother, tells you to put on a coat.

You can spot the child of a doting mother from a mile away at Halloween. When the child of a doting mother needs a costume, she presents them with something out of Warner Brothers wardrobe department.  My son wanted to be a blue power ranger and he got matching blue sweat pants and shirt with an aluminum foil lightning bolt stapled to it. (I did make sure he wore an undershirt so the staples didn’t scratch him. Is that doting? Concern for physical well-being.)

Shhh. Did you hear that? The kids are home. I’m going to pretend I’m napping.

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