Tooth Fairy duty. Tuesday's question about Tooth Fairy rates reminded me how much I didn't like playing Tooth Fairy when my daughters were young. I didn't like it at all. Not because I didn't want to reward my girls for having lost a tooth but because playing Tooth Fairy scared the <cuss> out of me. Seriously. Every time one of the girls went to sleep with high hopes of finding a dollar under her pillow upon awaking (yes, our rate was $1 per tooth), I dreaded having to sneak into the room, stealthily remove a tooth wadded up in tissue from under the pillow, and replace it with a buck. I just knew I'd be midway through the task, with my hand under a sleepy head while feeling for a papery wad, when the little girl's head would slowly turn my way and her eyes would pop right open and stare at me like a crazed Chucky-type doll.
Considering such scenarios scared me to no end. In fact, it scared me so much I sometimes accidentally on purpose forgot one of my children had gone to bed with high hopes of a dollar magically appearing in the night. 'Twas so much easier and less anxiety producing—for me, at least—to apologize come morning for the Tooth Fairy's poor scheduling then pretend she (or he?) had shown up and made the tooth/dollar trade while the girls were at school. Or, to out of guilt give my daughters their proper due, I'd just steel myself all day for the task, then come nightfall get the stupid duty over as quickly as possible. Which is why the Tooth Fairy would sometimes forget; a day or two preparing myself helped. Get in, grab the tooth, drop the dollar, get out. As quickly as possible! And don't look at her face while doing it!
Oh, the lengths we moms go to in order to convince our kids it's okay to allow charming characters with tooth fetishes into their rooms at night.
Bath time. Yes, bath time for many is a lovely and peaceful nightly ritual shared by mother and child. Not when you have three children to bathe at one time. Bath nights were hell, I mean, <cuss> in our household when the girls were little. At least for me. Thirty minutes of three little girls complaining the others were taking all the space...or all the bubbles...or all the water—yes, all the water!—was not fun. Thirty minutes of repeating, Look up! Look up! Look up! as I shampooed and rinsed and listened to at least one of the girls—sometimes all three of them—crying that they had soap in their eyes was not fun. Even the Rub-A-Dub Doggie with the swivel head wasn't distraction enough to make for fun and frivolous tub time. For any of us.
Sure, it would have been smart to bathe one girl at a time. But with a husband working three jobs, thus gone during bath time, who the heck would have watched the other two (remember, the girls are consecutive ages—16 months between the first two, 19 months between the second two) while I joyfully splished, splashed, and shampooed one at a time? Wasn't happening. I was quite thankful when Brianna became old enough to shower instead of being one of the bathers.
Interesting aside: As a grandma, I still dread bath time...at least when I have to bathe both Bubby and Mac at the same time. When I bathe them separately, it truly is one of the most enjoyable of all grandma duties. When they're together, not so enjoyable. So we opt for individual bath times—as long as there's someone else to entertain the non-bather while the bather and I splish, splash, and enjoy the moment.
Slumber parties. As a mother to three daughters, you'd think I'd be a pro at slumber parties. The girls had a lot of them growing up. Heck, I threw a few of my own accord, as I was a Girl Scout leader for many years and slumber parties were a great bonding experience for the troop. At least that was the original intention.
Just like the slumber parties thrown for my daughters' birthdays and more, though, good intentions at the outset of a slumber party flew out the window sometime soon after midnight when the cattiness of tired and cranky girls brought out the worst in everyone. Including me. By 2 a.m. I was usually gritting my teeth and saying to myself, "I wish they would just go home!" Funny thing is, that was often about the same time whichever daughter of mine was hosting the event would creep up the stairs and into my room to say exactly the same thing: "I wish they would Just. Go. Home."
Of course, we'd all forget about how very un-fun slumber parties were come time to consider having another...and another...and another.
Mall shopping. Being mother to three daughters also meant I was supposed to love clothes shopping with my girls. Seems having my kids at a very early age led to me missing that memo, that lesson in the parenting preparedness classes, for I didn't simply dislike shopping at the mall, I hated it. So much so that I did all I could to avoid it.
Back-to-school shopping was particularly dreadful, at the mall or anywhere else. Reason being, for the most part, because money was always tight, and trying to please three fashion-conscious girls on a limited budget was impossible. Which resulted in many tears—and not just from them. Even when we did manage to have enough money for a planned purchase, there were still tears, especially from one particularly difficult shopper we won't name or point out that she's my middle child and mother to my grandsons.
Ironically, Megan loved shopping most of all, was the one most distressed by my aversion to shopping. Strolling the mall together was supposedly the ultimate mother/daughter activity, the best way for girlie-girls to bond with their mamas. Only, I wasn't the girlie-girl kind of mom Megan longed for. Add my hate for shopping to the long list of other girlie things I didn't do—paint my nails, accessorize correctly (or at all), chat endlessly on the phone for no reason—and it's clear why Megan thought for many years that she had surely been adopted.
As a mom, I was supposed to have fun doing all those things above. I didn't. Maybe you feel the same.
Fortunately my list of things I did have fun doing as a parent is longer. Simply remove from the job description the four duties above and all that's left is what I had fun doing.
Well, for the most part.
Dropping a child off at college wasn't all that fun. Saying goodbye as they packed up the last of their closets and left the nest for good wasn't so much fun either.
Maybe you feel the same.
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What supposedly fun parental duties did you find not so fun?