To My Beloved Toddler and Kindergartner:
You have it pretty good around here. Lots of toys to play with, storytime galore, never a moment of hunger ignored. And, in my humble opinion, you deserve it all. You're pretty good kids, if I don't say so myself -- sweet, kind to others and relatively good listeners. Even you, my dear toddler, will reluctantly slink off to your "timeout" Elmo chair after some transgression, only to return afterwards with hugs and kisses for all. Unfortunately, amid all this love and good cheer, there is one person whose ever-so-modest needs often get left out of the mix.
That person, sadly, is Mommy.
Too often, Mommy has gone without eating or gotten dressed before an audience peppering me with so many questions, I feel like I'm playing Naked Trivial Pursuit. But today, that all stops. Because today, I am issuing a Mom's Bill of Rights. Here are six rights that are going to become law around here. Ignore them at your peril...
1. The right to sustenance. Yes, I'm aware that whatever is on Mommy's plate is infinitely better than what's on yours, even if it's the same exact thing. Perhaps spaghetti and meatballs tastes better as you inch north of the Equator towards Mommy's chair. Or perhaps broccoli truly is greener on someone else's plate. I'm sure dinner would be easier if I just placed a giant pile of slop in the center of the table and blew a whistle. However, as I'd like us to be able to show our faces outside this house, that's not going to happen. Mommy has the right to eat what's on Mommy's plate. And if you don't like it... well, I will take your hunger strike into consideration. After I'm done with dinner.
2. The right to silence. Don't get me wrong, I like incessant chatter as much as the next person. But when I'm driving 60 mph on the thruway, desperately trying to find an exit I've missed, or sprinting to the store bathroom to change my toddler before his diaper overflows, it's not a great time to debate the merits of "Let It Go" versus "Do You Want to Build a Snowman." Sometimes silence is golden. Henceforth, all orders of "Shh!" shall be binding.
3. The right to a phone call. Obviously, Mommy talking on the phone is completely unacceptable to everyone under four feet tall. But Mommy has doctors to call, bills to follow up on and -- gasp! -- even friends to catch up with once in a while. If a prisoner gets a call after being arrested, I think Mommy should get a few minutes of chatting here and there. Unhappy with the rule? I'll be off the phone in a minute to discuss it.
4. The right to privacy. You kids are pretty good about respecting the mantra "bathroom time is private time." But somewhere along the way, it became acceptable to parade through Mommy's bedroom even when I'm dressing. "Where's my watch?" is not a question I feel like answering while half-naked. (By the way, the answer is "on your wrist.") This is not a gentleman's club (despite the hair metal playing in the background). Mommy is happy to serve you -- after my clothes are on.
5. The right to a room of one's own. I've grown to accept the trucks parked in the living room. Or the Barbie dolls using the family toilet. (After all, the dollhouse doesn't have running water, and Barbie is a lady, you know.) But I draw the line at Elmo sprawled across my shoe rack, or Elsa's singing wand sitting on my printer. I have the right to one room that's (half) mine, where I can place frivolous throw pillows and breakable picture frames just the way I want them. Yes, I can tell you how to get to Sesame Street -- and it's not through Mommy's bedroom.
6. The right to bend the rules. Yes, I believe in consistency. But for every rule, there's an exception. And so, I reserve the right to disregard the above if you're hurt and need an immediate cuddle, no matter what state of undress I'm in. Or if you just won your first soccer game and want to tell me all about it, no matter who's on the phone. While I need to make room for Mommy, you two will always come first. Even if that means the occasional half-naked debate about why "Let It Go" is the best song ever.
As a mom, it's easy to forget that I'm part of the equation. But no more shall I go hungry, naked and deaf. The above rights will be strictly observed... unless, of course, you need to break the silence to remind me the party I'm driving to is next Saturday, and this Saturday we're watching The Best of Elmo snuggled up in Mommy's bed. Now that's a right worth fighting for.