I'll probably never be the fun mom. Actually, scratch that: I KNOW I'll never be the fun mom. There's no "probably" about it.
You know the one I'm talking about. I've never met her personally but I've seen her on TV. She's the mom whose children come bursting through the door after school with nary a "hello" and about ten friends in tow (without permission, natch), and she just, like, shakes her head in a smiling "kids will be kids" kind of way and fixes them a plate of pizza rolls or hot wings or something. She's the mom who says lightly, "Oh, all my kids' friends like to hang out here!" as though she truly enjoys having a living room full of loud, video-game-playing people with their grubby sneakers all over her couch pillows.
I don't like it when my kids have friends over. Yeah, I said it. And unless some magic metamorphosis happens during the next few years that makes them more tolerable (which is doubtful), I'm pretty sure I never will. I'm in the early phases of "get off my lawn!" I'm NOT down wit' OPP (which, in this case, stands for "other people's progeny").
First of all, let me clarify. I'm not the mean-ass Mommie Dearest who never lets her children have anyone over (as much as I wish I could be, I love my kids too much to deprive them of something just because it makes me all cringe-y inside and effs up my couch pillows). I'm just saying that there are things I'd rather do than supervise a houseful of other people's kids. Like, you know, have my left boob squeezed in a vise, or fashion makeshift shoes from super-absorbent maxi pads and wear them to a fancy restaurant.
It's just that ... well, I try my best to keep this place running like a well-oiled machine. My kids know my expectations of them, and what they can and can't do. But other people's kids don't. Their house rules are different than my house rules ... sometimes a little bit, sometimes a lotta bit. And it's like someone throwing a pebble into my smoothly running gears and jacking the whole thing up.
Like yesterday, for example. I was trying to write, working under a tight deadline. The kids had been home from school for less than ten minutes when one of their friends showed up at the door.
"Tell him you can't come out right now," I instructed my oldest, because if he went out they'd all want to go out and I didn't have time to wrangle the two-year-old, much less the desire to let them all roam the streets unsupervised.
"Well ... he wants to come in," my son said.
Initially I was irritated that the kid just invited himself over. (Is that a thing? Kids inviting themselves over to play? Because I taught my kids that you don't do that. Like, ever.) But then I thought about it for a second. These are fourth-graders. They know how to be quiet. They'd probably just hole up in the bedroom and immerse themselves in a game of Minecraft. So I relented. "All right," I agreed. "He can come in as long as you guys are quiet. I'm trying to work."
So the kid came in. And he and my son went to play Minecraft. And they were quiet.
But then the doorbell rang. RE-PEAT-ED-LY.
"That had better be the Publisher's Clearing House!" I bellowed. But no. It was the kid's little sisters. WANTING TO KNOW IF THEY TOO COULD COME IN AND JOIN THE FUN.
And what am I going to say? ... "No, your brother's cool, but y'all gotta bounce."
So I let them in.
And holy shit, little girls are talkative. My boys make a ton of noise, but it's like .... vrooming and hi-yah-ing and roaring and stuff that I've learned to tune out. These little girls were saying actual words and posing actual questions. They're asking me if they can have fruit snacks (no) and if the stair railing will support two people hanging off of it (hell no) and telling me about their dog and their grandma who is fat and isn't supposed to eat a lot of sugar but she does anyway (I feel you, sister). And my three younger boys were running around being obnoxious and showing off ..,. because girls. It was chaos.
Then the doorbell rang again, and it was two more kids wanting to come in. WTF.
I decided that since I wasn't getting any work done, I may as well start the roast I was planning to make for dinner. So I started cooking (amid chirps of, "What's that? Is it beef? Does it take a long time? Are those carrots? What's that green stuff for? Is that wine in your refrigerator?") I put the meat in the pan to sear it before putting it in the oven, and was standing there waiting for it to brown when I heard the front door open.
Now this is what I meant about other kids not knowing the rules. My kids know that when someone opens our front door, unless you're on your guard, our two dogs will go rushing out. Our lab, Josie, will run right to the neighbor's yard to take a dump, and then to the nearest dog to start a snarling match. And our pug? Well, she'll run directly into traffic and get hit by a car, which she has already done once.
But my kids' guests? DID NOT KNOW THAT. For some reason, they felt the need to leave the door standing wide open. And so there went both my dogs.
I ran outside after them. Did I mention I was in my socks? And that it's muddy, with slushy piles of melting snow everywhere? And that when kids try to chase Josie, she runs further away? And that while I was trying to corral the dogs, the toddler came outside, also in his socks, also into the sludge, and that both he and the dogs tracked all over my floor when they came inside?
Also, remember that roast I was searing on the stovetop? Let's just say it was pretty damn seared. "Blackened" is probably a more accurate term.
I mean, I'm not blaming the kids. I'm sure my kids are just as annoying at other people's houses despite my best efforts to
If you're the fun mom, I don't understand you in the least, but I applaud your ability to be cool with the crap other people's kids dish out - because honey, I don't possess that kind of easygoing tolerance. One kid over at a time? I'm reluctant, but willing. More than one? Break out those maxi-pad shoes.