I can still hear the shrill of those six words booming from my mother’s larynx. She delivered them with a wide-eyed stare that could melt snow in December. Beyond any other exploited parental tactic, those six words produce fear and tears to most children.
But the words – and the warning – delivered after my tired and exasperated mother had had enough shenanigans from my brother and I was quite effective. In fact, the threat of having to wait until my Dad got home from work was more impactful than any reprimand he could dispense.
Now, as a single mom, how I wish I had that threat in my arsenal when my son pushes me past the brink of sanity. His father lives in the next county. And there is no one for me, a frayed and tired mom, to collaborate with on dishing out childhood lessons and discipline.
The drama of household chores
At 12-years-old, my son Nolan hates to cut the grass. Now ‘hate’ might be a strong description, but I’m not too far off. When my Pomeranian starts to disappear among the tall blades of grass and weeds in the backyard, I prepare for battle.
I drop a few well-intentioned blunt hints about the overgrown lawn. I reminisce about the two occasions of the week I miss my ex-husband—trash day and cutting the grass. Then I swat the memories away and reconsider that I’d rather handle the lawn and trash myself.
Me: “Nolan, the grass needs to be cut.”
Nolan: “I know Mom, you don’t have to nag me I’ll get it done.”
Me: “I want it cut today!”
Nolan: “Geez mom, ok, ok, I know!”
Me: “Hey—watch your mouth!”
Nolan: “I’ll do it, I promise.”
Saturday afternoon ticks away…
Me: “Nolan, get your butt out there and cut the grass.”
Nolan: “Alright already…geez.”
Me: “And please pick-up the dog poop before you cut the back yard.”
Nolan: “I know!”
Thirty minutes later…
Me: “Why are you back in the house already? Is the yard done?”
Nolan: “Well, it’s hot out. And the weed-whacker isn’t working right.”
Me: “Oh for the love of Pete! You are kidding me….”
An hour later…
With a minor tweak to the weed-whacker, the trimming was done. I still had to prod my son to sweep the patio and walkway. Overall, the yard won’t make the Home and Garden show, but the grass is cut and I won’t be reported to the HOA this week.
How I wish I could shout, “Wait till your father gets home!” Just voicing those six words would serve like a firecracker in my son’s shorts and a zipper to his lips. But as a single mom, those six words are meaningless. Next week I’ll try a new approach. Bribery? Rewards? Removing video game/TV/computer privileges?
Maybe someday I can afford a lawn service. For now, at least I’ve got a week until I have to deal with “lawn drama” again.