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This Is How I Have Failed with My Sons

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I grew up in a house where my dad did everything. We all had our “chores,” but my dad, aside from being a busy ob/gyn, did all of the grocery shopping, took out the garbage, cleaned the kitchen, helped us with our homework, etc. You know the type.

This was not the type I married. I married someone whose mom did everything for him, so he came into our marriage not knowing how to open a can of tuna. Or make a bed. Or wash a pot. Keep in mind, he was 25—it wasn’t like I was marrying a 15-year-old boy. That would be creepy and illegal. But since I was young and in love, I continued to enable him to not learn how to do anything.

My bad. Real bad.

If you are reading this and you are about to get married to a guy who is, perhaps, a tad incompetent, heed my words—TEACH HIM! NOW! I don’t care how many mistakes he makes, you must teach him, mold him, and turn him into a helpful husband.

I totally blew it. And then I gave birth to three future husbands. I was their mommy, so I continued to do everything for their father and them as well. Sure, we tried the whole “clean up” song; it was cute watching their chubby fingers attempt to put their blocks back into their appointed boxes, but no one can clean up as quickly and efficiently as mom can. Especially because she is a martyr and doesn’t let anyone else do anything. How many women can nurse one baby, while taking the other baby to the potty, while doing a load of laundry and cooking dinner for the “man of the house”? Yup, I am a moron. But, a competent moron.

Now that my boys are a little older (19, 18, and 15) you would think it would be easier to teach them how to do things around the house. I mean, how difficult is it to throw out a cup? Apparently, it is really difficult. So much so that I find cups all over the place. Not only do they not throw out their cups, but their friends follow their lead and they don’t throw out their cups out either. Or their plates. Or their empty water bottles. C’mon guys—help a middle-aged mama out! The house is not that palatial and the garbage can is right there! Does it make me feel better that these other kids are also helpfully-challenged? Perhaps. It is always good to know that you aren’t alone in your quest.

I have recently learned that my boys do know how to use the microwave and the oven. So if anything happens to me, they will be nourished with microwaveable pancakes and frozen pizza. I should let them know that they will have to feed their father, because I am not sure he is able to make his own food.

I have also discovered that son #1 can do his own laundry, but chooses not to because I am home to do it for him. I hear what you naysayers are saying—just don’t do it. Let the laundry pile up. Well, we have tried that. When you have boys close in age, they are pretty much all the same size, which means that when one runs out of clothing, he just takes from the next brother’s supply. Do you see where I am going with this? The next brother mysteriously runs out of socks and underwear (something else that becomes my fault) and it just doesn’t end well.

So I will publicly admit that I have failed. No one has chores, no one is responsible for anything, unless the really crazy mom emerges and starts screaming like a lunatic—then things get done.

But, the bottom line is this: When I meet their future wives, I will look them in the eyes, smile, and simply say, “I am sorry they don’t know how to do anything. But I will do whatever you want me to.” You gotta start somewhere!


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