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What do I expect as a mother, this Mother's Day? My kids to want a good dinner. That's what I expect. To have to cook. What do I want? As a mother, here are things I want. I can't say it to my children, but maybe your children and husband will understand and make your life decent for one day.
I would like sleep.
A Clean House
I'm going to have to clean it tomorrow. I just want one day where they clean up the Lego and the fashion toys. I don't even want a clean house. I want the joy of seeing my kids clean up after themselves, once.
Even the cleaner we have has no idea what to do when one of my children leaves their bowl on the table. Shock, is the normal response. She is dumbfounded to see a bowl sitting there, right where the child ate. She said she wasn't a slave. Which made me think how bad being a mom really is, even if I love being a slave. A cleaning lady cleans the area. A slave cleans up the mess one of my children left for me.
Do the Laundry
One day a year. Do the laundry. I think I do three loads a day. Every day of my life is three loads of laundry. That's my day. Laundry. I don't have time for anything else. Even when I'm picking up the kids, I'm doing laundry. It's in the machine.
I thought there would be trips, vacations, family time. No. I do laundry. If I'm talking to my husband, I'm talking to him, taking out the laundry and folding it, while cooking.
Let me have one day. Even one load. Do a load yourself. It will be my two hour vacation. I would suggest the kids fold them, but making a ball of clothes isn't folding.
A course. How about a course on how to fold laundry, so that my children's drawers close?
A ladle with a long handle. I am sick of having to reach across the table and carry people their bowls.
I want people to eat. That's where I get my Jewish mother joy. My children bring a bit of joy. Them eating brings me much joy. One of my children not eating at all, brings me no joy. A thin child is a joyless child to me. If I can't tell one of my older children that they have to lose weight, I don't know what I will do as a mom.
A long ladle will help my back and enhance my ability to chuck more food on people's plates without them knowing.
A nice day of relaxation, without my phone. This way the family can't reach me and tell me what they want for dinner. If the kids can't afford that, they can at least cut up a cucumber. Cucumbers in water and two slices for my eyes is fine.
Don't get me a date at the beauty salon. Just tell me my hair doesn't look good. I'll accept it and I'll wear the shaytel (wig).
No Asking for Stuff
This isn't Chanukah. I understand it's a celebratory day. Nonetheless, my children have to understand that they don't get a gift on every holiday. I thought Mother's Day was a giveaway for who should get the gifts, but it's still not clear.
I don't want to bring up my last birthday, where I had to buy the children Slurpees.
You woke up mom how many days of her life? Even before you knew it, you woke her up for 800 days straight. And now you woke me up today, thinking it would make me feel great knowing that my kids love me. No. Sleep makes me feel great.
I smiled. I had to. You had a sign that said 'Greatest Mom.' I don't need the sign. I need sleep. I am happy being a decent mom with sleep and no carpools or laundry, with children who like me.
And no asking questions when I am sleeping. Shaking me does not help me feel any better about having to answer a question during REM.
Not the minivan. Somebody to drive it instead of me.
Another mom who is willing to run carpools would also work. I don't understand how I end up driving three kids, that aren't mine, home everyday. I don't even know their names. Maybe if the other moms would pay me for the service, that would be appreciated. They're at work. I would also love to take a break and leave my family for eight hours a day.
If you're driving to work in anything other than a minivan, you're not doing your job as a Jewish mother.
What Not to Give
The kids think Mother's Day is a day I have to do more. A day to focus on what mom does for them. Letting me take you to the mall, because mom is the one driving, is not a gift; even if you're spending more time with mom.
Breakfast in Bed
I am going to have to clean that up too. You're going to spill it on the way, and I'm going to have to slave. Slaving here means cleaning up something that should've been wiped up by my children.
It was beautiful getting breakfast in bed. It would've been nice if I didn't have to get up to bring the tray back to the kitchen.
If you're joining mom, that's work.
Focusing on Mom
Let this be the one day a year where there is no focus on mom, so that mom can relax. No saying 'Mom' or 'Mother' all day. And no screaming in the house; that's the same as saying 'Mom.' If you hurt yourself, don't say 'Ouch,' because that's like saying 'Mom.' We all know that 'Dad' won't help.
If you sing the Happy Birthday song for her, because Mother's Day is truly an afterthought and a day to get more out of your mom (while syphoning a tune and lyrics), then you can use 'Mother' in the song.
Honor me by forgetting about me, so I can sleep.
Message To My Children that I Love
Bend. I just want my kids to bend. Bend to pick up the pot to cook with. Bend to sweep the floor. Bend to wipe up the milk they spilled. Bend to pick up their toys, or whatever they threw down after they finished playing. Bend to put their clothes away after they shake them off their leg. This Mother's Day, I just want one of my children to bend.
My children should know to bend and to call. I don't care if you're living in the house, as a Jewish mother I have the right to complain that you don't call.
I am going to get some sleep. If you let me sleep, I will love you tomorrow.
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The Falafel of Etan
Israelis are very possessive of their falafel. Even when they have a shop, they don't like to share it… That's Etan. Standing over them while they eat. Making sure they don't run away with his falafel.