(“Two Mamas Chatting” — Marfa, August 2013)
On this eve of election day, Kay Wyma shares her (rather genius) “Mother’s Bill of Rights”, which includes, but is not limited to, showering in peace, laughing with abandon, and being generally, well…imperfect.
Count me in Kay.
By Kay Wyma
As we sit at the cusp of our nation’s greatest privilege – exercising the right to vote – might we take a moment to consider our foundational rights.
And while we do, let’s pause for another moment to recognize the often unspoken rights of motherhood: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all mothers are created special; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, the pursuit of Happiness, and then some…
The Right to “Eat the First One”
Upon opening a bag of food, or passing sacks from the driver’s seat to the rear of the car, a mother has the right to say and subsequently do the following: “I’m just going to eat one…” This right applies specifically to Nacho Cheese Doritos; but may also apply to any and all dip cones, French fries, sips of drinks, and anything thing else said mother would like. She also has the right to not stop at one.
The Right to Choose
At any time and especially during carpool, a mother has the right to choose the radio station. Any grumbles, eye-rolls and feigned disdain for resulting singing along with songs – regardless of genre or era – may be punishable with forced walking alongside said music-filled vehicle.
The Right to Solitude
Though regular interruptions are both expected and sometimes welcome, a mother has the right to solitude, specifically as it relates to use of the bathroom and/or taking a bath or shower. All rights to bathroom solitude are willfully suspended when a child’s presence in this location has anything to do with cleaning, picking up and/or bathing themselves. Okay, so maybe this isn’t a Right, but a mom can Dream.
The Right to Change her Mind
… though must be said, it goes without saying.
The Right to Use Her Kids as an Excuse
As in, “The kids need a dog. They need to learn responsibility. They need to have a lasting companion who is always happy to see them.” Forget about the kids, it’s the mother who needs the dog. She has the right to be greeted at the beginning of every day, and throughout the day, by a bundle of tail-wagging happiness who knows nothing about teenage emotional manipulation or bad hair days.
The Right to Embarrass Herself and Everyone Around Her
This includes the right to drive carpool, run out of and pump gas in her pajamas; to sing along with songs on the radio as loud as she wants with the windows down; to stand up and frantically wave and cheer from the back row of any and all school presentations regardless of a child’s age; to video or still photograph at will and to stop activities in order pull others into said pictures in an effort to treasure memories; to display in frames throughout the house diaper moments; to publicly brag ad nauseam about the family she loves.
The Right to Chat
At any public gathering of adults and compatriots or within the confines of a home either in person or on any telecommunication device, a mother has the right to chat and extend chatting time until she deems it necessary to stop. The “Right to Chat” applies to localities such as the grocery store, church, school lobbies, athletic events, the coffee shop, exercise classes, neighborhood walking, … basically anywhere & everywhere. Any interruptions to said chatting shall result in extended chat time in order to compensate for chat time lost and then some.
The Right to Laugh
Said laughing applies to the following: her own jokes (loud), in the movies (even when no one else is laughing), and often … so we don’t cry. Frequent outbursts encouraged. Caution and consideration required in exercising this right in order to insure “with” rather than “at”. Quiet, behind the scenes smile-laughing is acceptable, especially when spying a child try something new or dance as though no one is watching.
The Right to Cry
A mother reserves the right to outwardly cry when words such as “graduation” and “first” (especially if preceding “day of school” or “date” or “smile” or “pair of shoes”, etc) present themselves. Frequent frivolous or self-absorbed outbursts are not included in the Right. However, this right can and should be freely exercised as an outlet to bouts of heartache associated with such situations as a child’s scraped knees, broken arms, dateless Friday nights, illnesses, unmet expectations, wayward behavior and most everything that accompanies motherhood.
The Right to Pray
Putting others’ interests ahead of her own, a mother’s prayer is close to the heart of God. Motherhood is the essence of loving as Christ does for it would be hard to find a mother that wouldn’t lay down her life for the life of her child. When exercising this right, be aware of what is hard to believe… God loves the child more than the mother does. God also loves the mother more than she realizes.
The Right to Imperfection
A mother isn’t, can’t be, will never be, and (at the end of the day) who really wants to be (?!) … perfect.
Kay Wyma is the author of Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement. She shares the hilarity and the tears that come with raising adolescents & teens on her blog The Moat … because who wants to walk that road alone.
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