“You only had kids to do your work!” My angry daughter, Annie repeated words I had once said to my own mother.
I’m thinking, “If I didn’t have all these kids, I wouldn’t have all this work.” But I kept my mouth shut. I had found her hiding in the hall closet to escape having to do the dinner dishes. I had reminded her multiple times and was determined she’d get them done before going to bed. She said a lot of hurtful things to me that night and I went to bed feeling like a horrible mother for standing my ground. Annie would admit today that she sometimes purposed to say hurtful things to get her way, especially as a teenager. At this point she was a pre-teen. The next morning, I woke up feeling depressed. I didn’t get up like I normally would to get the kids going and start school. Annie came to my bed and sweetly asked, “What’s wrong, Mommy?” “You hurt my feelings last night,” I informed her. “I did?” Her big blue eyes peered at me with surprise. Then I had the most wonderful idea come to mind. “Yes, you did but if you really think I had kids to do all my work, I tell you what, I’ll trade places with you for the day.” Her eyes lit up, “You will?” I could see her excitement mount as I told her how I would do all her chores, her schoolwork, go to her room for the time we would take a break from one another, even practice her violin for her and I meant it. “Now just remember, this means you have to do all the things I do.” I began to list out what she would need to do in my place. I watched as her excitement faded. I could almost see the wheels turning as she reconsidered the trade. I told her that I’m not usually done with everything until 7:30 pm . With that she stated, “No, that’s okay.” She turned and headed out of the room. I never heard her complain again about my kids doing all the work.