For this author, creative endeavors have been sorely tested by motherhood. But also transformed, and in ways she wouldn’t have imagined – couldn’t have, without her life “rewritten” as it has been, by her children. So linger here, to read all things weaverly, writerly and motherly.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

A-Z Blogging Challenge: N is for Neglectful

I confess: I neglect my children.

And the negligence, like a dip in a sidewalk, trips me up unawares, which is precisely why I can be just that: neglectful.

I'm first tripped up by my negligence when I notice fingernails. "Look, Mom," Ryan said this last negligence-round. "I can play a chord now."

He was practicing his guitar as I was putting a load of laundry into the machine (their laundry; I'd let it pile up so there was not a clean sock to be had, nothing to change into from their outgrown Spiderman and Batman PJs.)

I watched him hold down the guitar strings. In a perfect chord – with nails so long they'd be the envy of a girl, if nicely filed and shaped. And clean.

They were not clean.

Which was the next clue to my neglectfulness: I'd lost track of how many days it had been since they'd taken baths. Which must have been many for them to accumulate such filth, as you can't help but wonder how their nails could get so dirty in the first place; children these days rarely spend their time digging in the earth! digging their nails into branches if actually climbing a tree. Really, they use their thumbs mostly, pressing those little buttons on their game consoles.

But it's not just the nail negligence.

"Mommy, I'm hungry."

When did I last offer them a snack? When I finally do remember, it is too close to dinner time. When they are too hungry not to grab the Oreos.

So at dinner, instead of their broccoli (which they might not eat under ordinary UN-neglectful circumstances) at least they might have eaten the starchy white rice. Which at least allows for a few more paltry minerals than a cookie.

Back to the laundry. I did get it into the machine, but forgot to put it in the dryer so they spent Sunday in their PJs. These periods of negligence are actually not all that protracted. But it is my guilt that can make the few days seem prolonged. They can seem like "A thousand million hours," as my seven year old will say who still has little sense of real time.

I perhaps analyze too hard these periods of neglect and what they mean. That I never should have had children? Of course not. That something else might be tugging my attention away from my precious children? Quite possibly. As when I was forced to ignore the pleas of my hungry boys because I was on the phone with my mother trying to help her open a precooked chicken for her own dinner.

Here's the thing. After an hour, my mother did get the chicken open. And the boys did get fed, if only cheese-sticks, finally resorting to foraging in the refrigerator for themselves.

But at least "dinner" wasn't Oreos, as cheese-sticks have calcium! And are more nutritious than plain white rice! The laundry did get dry in time for clean clothes by Monday; nails got clipped; baths taken. Miraculously, the earth's rotation continues uninterrupted on its perfect axis.

 

 

 

 

21 comments:

Lynn Proctor said...

don't be too hard on yourself---sounds like you are always trying :)

Jenn said...

I had to smile-- I just knew you'd pull off a great N. What were you worried about again???? HA HA!!

I've had days like this. I've learned to keep grapes on the table and within reach. The one thing they all love is grapes!! As soon as I come home from the store-- I wash them, and put them in a bowl on the table. While grapes won't completely fill them up--it can hold them over until I can get something going. Of course, I'm in trouble when I run out of grapes!! LOL.

Loved the post! Cheers, Jenn.

Lucy Adams said...

I have long said that my children are well-adjusted because I ignore them. They can develop marvelous independence and body odor when left to their own devices :-)

Lucy

Amy Morgan said...

I consider cheese a major food group, so it sounds like you are taking great care by my standards! Seriously, we all do what we can - and I'm sure they know they're loved and really isn't that all that matters? Nice post!

Spilled Milkshake said...

Just Friday, I checked out my 7 year old's toes. OMG. Nails were curling around the toes...and the dirt! OMG.

Don't be too hard on yourself, we all do it!! And I know how much you love your kids, it shines through in every post!

beachlover said...

I so appreciate your honest mom moments...yes, when the nails get too long, it kinda makes you stop in your tracks and say, OMG! :0)

The Writing Goddess said...

Sometimes I think that neglect (in moderation) is healthier for kids than the helicoptering others do. Just think, compared to medieval parents, your children are fed and bathed way too much!

Fireman said...

Don't we all have that feeling from time to time. I watched the other day as my 15 year old son tried to make Raman for himself and a friend his friend finally said "Dude you don't know how to make Raman?" Hahahahah

Casey said...

Thank you for not just one, but two hilarious posts. :) Congratulations to Ryan on his first chord- as a guitarist of ten years' experience, I still remember the 'wow' moment when that first chord rang out for me. :) May there be many more clean guitar chords. I'm looking forward to your next post already.

Best wishes,

Casey

November Rain - k~ said...

Honest, you are. Real, you are. Traits I cherish in another. There is a pain in this, that I will not express... and yet, I cannot ignore. Perhaps it is time for me to write... again.

Sharon Greenthal said...

One thing I can tell you fur sure, looking back - your kids will not remember what you forgot to do (unless it's a big thing, like picking them up from school) but they will remember what you did do. I beat myself up constantly when my kids were little and it was such a waste of time...try to be nice to yourself!

Ruth said...

I get lunch late a lot for my daughter. Though she is old enough to fix her own food. I just figure she's not gonna die. And guess what? She never does.
You are teaching your children a valuable lesson. Patience.

Paula Martin said...

I think it's perfectly acceptable to be neglectful (sometimes). As others have said, they learn to do things for themselves as a result..

Loretta said...

Everyone can relate in some way or another. Great post!

Kathy said...

This a great post and one I can easily relate to. :D

Kathy
http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

Joyce Lansky said...

You shouldn't feel guilty for not doing these motherly chores. These days, I feel like most moms do too much for the kids. What's wrong with teaching them to wash their own nails or do their own laundry? You do that, and you can sit back and enjoy time for yourself.


Catch My Words
http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

danneromero said...

ah, the job of a mom is never ending... never.

Gina said...

We all go through it, our kids learn soon enough to pour themselves a bowl of cereal and to wait a little longer for snacks. However love is there all the time and we are there for what's important. And they know it.

From Diary of a Writer in Progress

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Trish Sams said...

I read this just MINUTES after realizing my daughter's fingernails are way beyond acceptable length. *lol*

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