What is it with us moms that we never tire of hearing about other people’s kids’ crazy antics? There’s such a thrill and satisfaction in seeing someone else’s house covered in flour, marker on someone else’s white couch or even just toys strewn across the floor from wall to wall.
I can look at photos of such stuff and listen to people talk about it for hours on end.
And I know I’m not the only one!
And the truth is, I think I know why.
Because it validates me. Of course I know it can’t just be my kids and my house; but there’s nothing like seeing it to feel comforted.
And so hence the obsession.
Somethings are funny only when it’s not my own kids.
The other day I was at an event with some of my kids.
I was talking with some people near the food table, and out of the corner of my eye I noticed the table lifting upwards slightly. As a mom, that didn’t startle me. That’s a normal thing.
But I was sure I knew who was under the table, making it happen, and I could feel the annoyance at my kids rising for hiding under the table.
Ready to call my sons’ names and demand they come out, two little heads popped out from under the table.
And miracle of miracles, they did not belong to my family!
The annoyance was gone.
Actually, I thought it was funny. Cute. Whatever. It really wasn’t a big deal, didn’t disturb me in the slightest and totally didn’t matter.
But more than that, I was amazed. Where did the annoyance go? How’d that happen so quickly??
Why, if it was my own kids, would it bother me so greatly? And why, when I discovered I wasn’t related to the culprits, did I barely give it a second thought?
I filed that image in my mental mommy files, one to keep in mind when my kids are up to something like that the next time – other kids do that too. It’s OK!
And that goes back to the obsession; we so enjoy seeing other kids doing stuff like that.
Yesterday was a good example of a day that would have been funny if I was with someone else’s kids. It was Wednesday, the no school day. It’s the day of the week that the four younger ones are home with me. And it’s always an action packed day.
7 and 5 year old found a wilting lulav branch in the garage; after fighting over it for ten minutes or so, they went out to the backyard to play some game that I decided not to see. But the winner of the game was apparently the neighbor, because that’s the backyard the lulav branch ended up landing in.
Great, just what I needed. Another reason for the neighbor to be annoyed at us.
Off they went, back to the garage, hunting for something else.
In they came with a big grin and a bottle of diet coke they had found hiding in the garage fridge, that one of our guests had left behind. They were ready to make a L’chaim and enjoy it, but I crashed the party and poured it out.
Back they went, looking for some more stuff.
And on it went.
They went to play in the backyard again; I had to make supper, it was getting late and we had to get to swimming lessons.
And then one year old came walking in, looking a lot dirtier than when he had gone out. The firepit and all its ashes had been “sprinkled” on him…
Pretty funny, if it was someone else’s kids.
And back to trying to finish up my quick dinner; but this time with the helpers indoors. And the salt contents poured on the floor once again, in a nice neat mountain.
And the love-hate relationship I had with the water dispenser on the kitchen door…well at that moment it was all hate, with ice shooting across the kitchen.
And three year old gave himself a nice beard with the new markers, a combination or orange and brown. To match the colors of his arms.
Five year old was pretty proud of his red marker “nail polish.”
And I noticed they moved their tic-tac-toe game to the couch, and I mean literally to the couch. There on the armrest was a nice tic-tac-toe board, that I hoped would come off with a clorox wipe. But I had no time to allow myself to be annoyed.
We had to get to swimming lessons – so off we went.
Three year old with a multi colored beard, and 1 year old looking like he came through the chimney..
Only after arriving, did I notice that no one had bothered taking their shoes with them.
And they were all as happy as can be.
And I used all my effort to imagine that this crew of adorable little wreckers were someone else’s kids, because then I’m sure, at that moment, I’d be happy too.