For the record, this is National Scoop the Poop Week, which, I can only assume, commemorates the thankless post of those who gingerly sift and subsequently remove masses of repulsiveness from rectangular boxes in cellars everywhere. Moreover, I’m guessing the week is also reserved for the purpose of honoring the countless individuals who manage (i.e. harvest or fling) varying amounts and consistencies of dog dung from grassy temptations in parks and neighborhoods near and far. And while such recognition is indeed richly deserved, it makes me slightly resentful as a mom—especially as one who routinely engages in less-than-pleasant tasks without so much as a hint of formal acknowledgment. Hrumph.
Granted, we have Mother’s Day in May, Father’s Day in June and, of course, National Parents’ Day in July; but even considered collectively, they pale in comparison to THE SOLID WEEK OF VALIDATION the pooper scooper people receive. Such a tiny portion of the calendar hardly seems adequate given the myriad of responsibilities that encompass the bailiwick of most parents in this day and age. Nevertheless, I’d likely forego any and all public acknowledgment—including the conferral of a week-long, national holiday in celebration of parental duties—so that I might outsource said horribleness instead. Here is a list of ten I’d farm out immediately or sooner.
1) Lord of the Loo. I cannot begin to express my displeasure as it relates to the aforementioned role, which includes but is not limited to the act of flushing and plunging toilets as necessary. Quite frankly, I’ve grown increasingly intolerant of my brood’s so-called inability to remember to push a stupid little lever and to refrain from using obscene quantities of toilet paper.
2) Gatekeeper of Information/Entertainment Sources. Given the prevalence and accessibility of data and entertainment (which ranges from good to completely dreadful both online and off), I am fairly exasperated by the impossible nature of the task at hand. That said, I cannot police every keystroke or channel surfing venture my heathens engage in, nor can I place digital controls on the devices in question because, admittedly, I am a poor tool.
3) Homework Nazi. Of all the hats I wear as a parent, that of academic taskmaster is my least favorite. Firstly, it gives my children yet another reason to loathe my existence. Secondly, I don’t possess the intellect required to grasp the “new math” and nothing would gladden my heart more than to watch it die a slow, horrible death. Thirdly, I fail to see the rationale behind inundating kids with reports and whatnot that are beyond the scope of their abilities. Translation: I am tired of making them jump through hoops when they ought to be climbing trees.
4) Bedtime Enforcer. Need I say more?
5) Explainer of That-Which-Is-Inexplicable. Think: Moammar Gadhafi, Charlie Sheen and pretty much any statement made by Donald Trump.
6) Thank You Note Tyrant/Cheerleader. Of course, I am indescribably grateful to those who shower my progenies with gifts throughout the year, but I absolutely abhor the commission of motivating them to churn out notes of thanks that are abundantly specific, palpably thoughtful and convincingly genuine. Never mind legible. Clearly, this sort of undertaking lives on the fringe of impossibility, seeking to destroy my dream of mediocrity as a parent.
7) Zenmaster of Closet Space. Confession: Each and every closet in my home is hideously disordered. And no one, it seems, is particularly interested in reversing the ill effects of our hoarding mentality—except me. To date, our dear closets house an embarrassment of clothing that no longer fits anyone, mismatched flip-flops, irreparably damaged umbrellas, lone mittens, sneakers in various stages of decomposition and hats from the early Paleozoic Era. Oy.
8) Resident Grossinator. Otherwise known as the CEO of Household Biohazards—to include pinkeye encrustations (joy), toenail clippings (grok!), unflushed whateverness, phlegm (gak!), fecal matter and/or fermented food contained within the hamster cage that no one else will clean and let us not forget vomit—the bodily fluid that once (before children) repulsed us. Now (disturbingly, I might add) we attempt to catch it, so that we might spare our lovely couches and carpets from the horrors of an unmistakable and decidedly permanent odor.
9) Laundry Lady. It’s not the washing that gets to me, especially. It’s the remembering what gets dried and what must hang-to-dry. And the folding. And the re-folding if the husband happened to have volunteered his services. And the stacking. And the picking up of the stacks that inevitably fall to the floor. And the taking care of the wretched piles I so despise—because it seems everyone else is physically incapable of doing so. Ugh.
10) Conflict Captain and Finder of Lost Toys. I sometimes think if it weren’t for the time spent mediating disputes and searching the earth for someone’s beloved toy, I wouldn’t know how to quantify my worth as a parent. Obviously, I wear other hats, too (see #s 1-9), but somehow they don’t seem as noteworthy. Not in the eyes of my children, anyway. After peace has been restored to the land and/or someone’s irreplaceable stuffed animal has been found, I am reminded, once again, that my post might not be thankless after all.
Planet Mom: It’s where I live (longing to subcontract certain aspects of parenthood).
Copyright 2011 Melinda L. Wentzel