All this talk of government shut-down has got me thinking. Can a mom declare a household shut-down? And if so, what would that look like? More importantly, can it be avoided?
To be honest, I’m not sure there’s much hope of reaching a peaceful agreement around here. We’re hopelessly deadlocked on the issue of whether or not socks should be turned right-side out before they’re tossed carelessly into the laundry hamper. I’m firmly in the “yes, definitely” camp, and the kids are stubbornly entrenched in the “what’s the big deal about socks?” category.
There’s also a dispute about the frequency and methodology of hand-washing – something you might call “Oh-mama-care.” No matter how many times I tell the kids how important it is to wash your hands and wash them well, they don’t cooperate. They’ll trudge off to the bathroom and run the water for approximately three seconds and come out again with hands dripping all over the place.
“Did you use soap?” I ask. “And how long did you wash your hands? Because if you only wash for three seconds, you’re not doing anything but making the germs mad.”
And to that, they typically say, “Oh, Mom” in that weary tone of voice kids use when you’ve asked them to do anything besides play video games or eat candy.
But I’ve got to push my agenda because I know that the “Oh-mama-care” hand-washing regimen is the only thing that keeps us healthy during cold and flu season. This is the time of year when kids start bringing home strep throat and stomach bugs in addition to homework. A big bottle of Dial soap is my only hope of avoiding the doctor’s office.
If I threaten a household shut-down, maybe it’ll trigger some changes. If I stop showing up to work around here, life as we know it would grind to a halt amidst a sea of crumbs, unfinished homework and dirty gym clothes.
Spelling tests would be flunked. Tap shoes would be lost. Dinners would be frozen.
There’d be no minivan taxi service to all those extra-curricular dance lessons, drum practice and gymnastics. Their cross-town passports would be useless without me schlepping them to and fro.
The sink would pile up with dirty dishes. Hampers would overflow. The cat would go hungry. Piano practice would be skipped. And not a single roll of toilet paper would EVER be placed on its holder.
According to shutdown protocol, I’d also have to deny access to the backyard jungle gym and all city or national parks.
And when the kids need a “loan” to fund a trip for ice cream? Well, they’d find a big “closed” sign on my door. Maternal nagging might not get their attention, but a world without ice cream would certainly bring them around to my way of thinking.
After all, if elected officials can play a game of Congressional chicken to see who blinks first, maybe it’s a smart strategy for busy moms, too. Acting like children and refusing to get along used to be something only temperamental preschoolers did, but these days even congressmen are doing it. So why not me?
The only thing left to do is figure out whether I’m categorized as an “essential” or “non-essential” worker. If it turns out that moms are essential to the smooth operation of a household, as I suspect, this whole shut-down plan might blow up in my face. I’ll have to keep clocking in as usual and hope the government gets through its self-imposed “time-out” in the naughty corner sometime soon.