Off Duty Mom

Thoughts from an exhausted mom who is NEVER really "off duty"

What We Deserve







My mother once told me that my first words were
“Me do.”
I said it, she claims, emphatically.
I am sure I meant it, too.

I had been raised with an ideal:
An idea that I’d be beholden to no one.

When a friend of mom’s asked me one time
In mid ’85 whether I’d marry rich one day and live high and fine
Driving Hubby’s Lamborghini
Wearing thousand-dollar bikinis

I looked her straight in the eye and said:
“When I grow up, I will make my own money and buy my own car.”

But, no one seems to say that anymore.

And no one seems to encourage it to be said.

And, when the Lambos don’t come easily, we hear that “it’s just not FAIR.”
As if fairness were determined by equality.

“I can’t, I can’t, I can’t” I hear from the mouths of babes.
Never is there a drive to work to find a way
But instead if you don’t have a pencil
That must mean you don’t have to do your homework today.

Or it is my job to give you one.

And, if I don’t, then it is my fault that you have failed.

And, if your computer broke this morning,
Then clearly you should not be held responsible
For turning in a paper that was assigned two weeks ago.

And it is the doctor’s job to keep you healthy,
Your mom’s job to keep you clean,
Your dentist’s job to make sure your teeth don’t rot,
And the Rev’s job to make you believe.

Nothing is up to you, anymore.

Put your hands out.
God and the Fates will provide.

Because you deserve it.

Teachers are told to adjust student workloads
For each according to his need.
No child should struggle, they say
As if struggling didn’t make us all free
Or didn’t build character.
Maybe, instead the struggle is the KEY.

For if every man, woman and child embraced the struggle now
We’d all learn just a little bit more about how
We can build ourselves into mountains
For it was pressure that forged the Earth’s peaks.

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8 thoughts on “What We Deserve

  1. OMG I love love love this!!!

  2. Aw definitely a mom to no teens. I’d have thought this way back but now I see a lot more than hoody wearing “we own the world” kids who take over the small kids playground. I suspect in time you will too. And even worse, when they grow up they have their own opinions of us!

    • I was actually referring to the kids I teach, not the ones I have at home.

      I teach high school. Some days it is pretty exhausting.

      I have to admit to loving my work, though. It is just tough to deal with the delusions of entitlement sometimes.

  3. Wow, I’ll bet a lot of teachers can relate to these feelings! I completely agree that many kids are not expected to struggle; adults create so many accommodations so that their academic and social lives are easier. (Others, of course, very much need the special assistance for legitimate reasons.) It’s so much easier sometimes for the adults in charge to eliminate adversity from a kid’s life rather than watch him struggle.

    • Totally agree. Even the spirit of education for special needs children wasn’t intended to be taken to a point where kids are not permitted the tremendous learning experiences associated with trial and error and/or through failed research. We learn so much from struggle and failure. It seems downright criminal to deprive young people if this essential human developmental experience.

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