... Ain’t nobody happy.” Have you ever seen this bumper sticker?
While I don’t display it proudly on my automobile, I have adopted it, in principle, as one of my mantras. I mean, in very simple terms, doesn’t it basically spell out the very road map to everyone’s happiness? And shouldn’t our children be given the opportunity to take ownership of their own happiness?
I repeat this mantra (a lot) and took a few liberties by making up some variations for my kids to recite. For example, I’ll say “if mommy’s happy...” And they’ll say, “then, we’re all happy.”
Not much of a variation, I’ll admit. But from that comes:
(me) “If Mommy wants to go shopping...” (them) “...we all want to go shopping.”
(me) “If Mommy wants to take the dog for a walk...” (them) “...we all want to take the dog for a walk.
(me) “If Mommy wants you to clean up your stuff...” (them)"...we all want to clean up our stuff.”
One night (when hubby was home) the kids and I got into it about them not finishing their homework and various other things that I had told them to do and that they had, to that point, ignored me. So, I started my rant, “Come on you guys, you know that if mommy wants you do your homework...”
“We all want to do our homework.”
And you know that if Mommy wants you to take out the recycling and garbage...”
(them) “We all want to take out the recycling and garbage.”
“And if mommy wants to turn off the t.v.?”
(them, grumbling) “We all want to turn off the t.v.”
Hubby looked at me like “they spend way to much time with you.” And I looked back at him like “what are you going to do about it?” Ha ha ha ha. I think he was just jealous. Because, you know, “if Dad ain’t happy... I don’t know, go find mama until he gets over it.” Is not really fodder for a bumper sticker. So he was jealous. Definitely.
Last Friday I needed to get Buzz to bed early because he had an early morning soccer game the next day. I talked to him about it earlier in the day and explained to him that we would have to leave the house even earlier than we do on a school morning so we needed to get to bed early as if it were a school night. He understood, however, when it was bed time, he wasn’t ready to go to bed. So, I had to push him a little bit to get ready for bed, brush his teeth, etc. Finally, I corralled him in his room where he was still resisting and told him that we had talked about this earlier and he knows why he has to go to bed early. “Why do we have to go to bed early tonight” I asked him. His answer? “ I know, I know, because when mommy wants to go to bed early, we all want to go to bed early.” Um, yeah. Not the answer I was going for, but right on!
I was never prouder! That’s my boy.
Of course there has been some mocking of the “mama mantra.” One time Woody asked me if I wanted a Diet Coke. I told him “sure, thanks.” And off he went to the garage (where we have a second fridge to store sodas and bottled water). He came back with 5 Diet Cokes in his arms and handed one to me. “What are you doing?” I asked. “Mommy, you know. When mommy wants a Diet Coke... we all want a diet coke.”
Grrrr. That’s hubby’s boy.