It’s funny how, as a mother, when I say “Maybe” in response to a request from one of my kids, what I actually mean is “No.” Well, more precisely, I mean, “Conversation over, no discussion to follow.”
What’s even funnier than that is how I expect my kids to understand what I mean. You know, listen to what I mean, not what I say. This wouldn’t be so funny if they were teenagers since teenagers never listen to what you say anyway. But my kids are preschoolers; it’s silly for me to expect them to understand that “maybe” means “no,” and sillier for me to believe that they could understand.
Of course the whole point of saying “Maybe” instead of ‘No” is to avoid the question altogether, to buy time. It’s a way of saying “No” without having to say “No.” And if they realized I was saying “No,” it would defeat the purpose. Of saying “No.”
And what is really, really funny is how when I initially say “Maybe,” I almost always initially mean “Maybe.” At least for a few seconds. I want to grant my children’s wishes, I do, I just don’t want to have to actually remove my butt from my chair and get up to do it. I don’t want for there to be any inconvenience to me.
I’m not a genie; I don’t fulfill wishes on command. I’m not a maid; that would imply payment. I’m not necessarily a slave either, since I can choose not to do the things I don’t want to do, or at least postpone them. Look at my laundry, for one, and my dishes for another (but don’t, please). I guess the right term is mother.
And since my oldest kid is almost five, I guess I’m starting to feel like a mother. Some women feel like mothers, bond with their children, the instant their first child is born. Not me. I sort of viewed Zach as in intruder for a couple of years. Well, until Kammy came along, I guess, and then I grouped them together as a litter that sort of belonged to me.
If I owned the kids, I’d have to pay taxes on them, right? They’d be a liability. It’s more like they own me. Ownership requires a certain amount of responsibility on your part. Like having to drag your kids everywhere you want to go, or purchase someone else to own them for a couple hours.
But what ownership really grants you, and this is the good part, is the opportunity to train your kids to do party tricks. Sure I can’t get my kid to use a toilet appropriately, but she can say the alphabet backwards, count to a gazillion, eat six pieces of pizza in a single sitting, and climb the inside of a doorjam, so as you can see, I am a good mother.
It’s hard to be a good mother when you’re as selfish as me. People ask me if we’re going to have more kids. But, should I have more curtain climbers someday? Maybe.