I was in the car today trying to find a station that at least pretends to play Christmas music, and I heard a Cox commercial that was trying to win a prize for worst radio commercial ever... It wasn't well written, the voice actor kept stumbling over his words and mispronouncing stuff, and it felt super cliche.
Except think about that for a minute, the biggest internet service provider what...couldn't hire a decent advertising team or reader? Not likely. The word "switch" was used so many times my brain started filling it in like a phone's auto corrector. About halfway through the commercial I thought it might be fun to start counting the word "switch" and got up to eight before I got distracted by the sudden appearance of a shoe thrown from the back seat (maybe they didn't like the commercial either?).
Repetition is effective...even really stupid repetition (clearly, since I remembered this one commercial). I know this from teaching CC... we all know this just from television commercials of food. But I've made it a point lately to try to pinpoint some of the more insidious repeat tracks in my life.
Today's breakthrough: Making dinner.
I always get really pissed off in the late afternoons. I don't know if I think I deserve a break from all of the homeschooling, or if I finally give up and realize I'm not going to be able to accomplish everything the day required, or if I only have a patience gas tank of 12 gallons and I'm more of a gas guzzlin' truck kind of woman.
I dropped off some books at the library that had been renewed so many times the kids had forgotten we didn't actually own them. Robbie wanted to pick out some new books (Jehoshaphat have mercy) and somehow between me saying no to a Monster Truck DVD and yes to a dinosaur pop-up book I hear a woman say
"Oh sweetie...oh no....someone help...where is your mommy!?".
As a parent who tries really hard to raise free range kids, I hear the where's-your-mommy thing a lot, but it's never a good sign to hear it in a library. Sure enough, I turned around to see my youngest child had scaled a bookshelf and was perched on top like the Lion King looking mightily pleased with himself.
Getting him down wasn't the hard part, we have a well practiced climbing-retrieval-protocol. Getting him down while trying to impress upon him the importance of library quietness was a bit more challenging.
So by the time I got to the "making dinner" portion of the day, I was already pretty willing to sell my particular little Capuchin to the zoo (this is the same child who escaped his brand new $100 sleep tent by ripping it open hulk style). I normally spend my quality kitchen time trying to chop and hold Will back with one foot while I holler for someone to come get him.... or snatch him from the stove while I holler for someone to come re-get him... or try to keep him from ransacking the ketchup and chocolate syrup in the fridge while again hollering for someone to come get him.
But this is not a post about how stressed out I am...there are already so dang many of those. You can't throw a cyberspace rock without hitting a mommy blog telling some hilarious tale of woe. Plus all of the articles/memes about motherhood... all of the uber sciency studies about moms and depression/staying home/equal partners. I guess I appreciate it in a way, but I'm also kind of over being validated. It's not helping.
If someone finds those observations and anecdotes helpful, I'm certainly not going to argue the science or legitimacy of them. But I'm an easily influenced person and I caught myself falling into a frustrated cycle that just confirmed I had every right to be frustrated, which in turn made me more frustrated. I'm sure any mother over the age of 50 is rolling their eyes at this whole run-down, and would tell me I need to set boundaries with discipline and things would get a lot easier for me. I'm sure they're right. Good point. But mostly what needed to change was my way of looking at it (and not in an obnoxious Pollyanna, glass-is-half-full kind of way, but a re-frame... or a rewiring of the repetition I was accustomed to telling myself).
For my Nanowrimo novel, I've been eyeball deep in Medieval history and while mankind has forever had its fair share of attitude and despondency, it appears the majority of women in the Middle Ages were capable of chopping vegetables, stirring a pot, and keeping their offspring in check without assistance. Soo.... I poured myself a glass of wine, whipped an apron on the Capuchin, and gave him a sink full of (non breakable) dishes to wash.
Everyone lived happily ever after. Problem solved.
...until he dumped a cupful of water on the floor and Robbie slipped and hit his head.
But oh well, at least the wine was good.