A Poem for Moms and Dads

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray my sanity to keep.
For if some peace I do not find,
I’m pretty sure I’ll lose my mind.
I pray I find a little quiet
Far from the daily family riot.
May I lie back–not have to think
about what they’re stuffing down the sink,
or who they’re with, or where they’re at
and what they’re doing to the cat.
I pray for time all to myself
(did something just fall off a shelf?)
To cuddle in my nice, soft bed
(Oh no, another goldfish–dead!)
Some silent moments for goodness sake
(Did I just hear a window break?)
And that I need not cook or clean–
(well heck, I’ve got the right to dream)
Yes now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray my wits about me keep,
But as I look around I know–
I must have lost them long ago!

Mom’s Dictionary

  • Airplane
    What Mom impersonates to get a 1-yr.-old to eat strained beets.
  • Alien
    What Mom would suspect had invaded her house if she spotted a child-sized creature cleaning up after itself.
  • Apple
    Nutritious lunchtime dessert which children will trade for cupcakes.
  • Baby
    Dad, when he gets a cold.
    Mom’s youngest child, even if he’s 42.
  • Bathroom
    a room used by the entire family, believed by all (except Mom) to be self-cleaning.
  • “Because”
    Mom’s reason for having kids do things which can’t be explained logically.
  • Bed and Breakfast
    Two things the kids will never make for themselves.
  • Carpet
    Expensive floor covering used to catch spills and clean mud off shoes.
  • Car Pool
    Complicated system of transportation where Mom always winds up going the furthest, with the biggest bunch of kids, who have had the most sugar.
  • China
    Legendary nation reportedly populated by children who love leftover vegetables.
  • Cook
    Act of preparing food for consumption.
    Mom’s other name.
  • Couch Potato
    What Mom finds under the sofa cushions after the kids eat dinner.
  • Date
    Infrequent outings with Dad where Mom can enjoy worrying about the kids in a different setting.
  • Drinking Glass
    Any carton or bottle left open in the fridge.
  • Dust
    Insideous interloping particles of evil that turn a home into a battle zone.
  • Dust Rags
  • Ear
    A place where kids store dirt.
  • Eat
    What kids do between meals, but not at them.
  • Empty Nest
    See “Wishful Thinkng.”
  • Energy
    Element of vitality kids always have an oversupply of until asked to do something.
  • Excuse Me
    One of Mom’s favorite phrases, reportedly used in past times by children.
  • Eye
    The highly susceptible optic nerve which, according to Mom, can be “put out” by anything from a suction-arrow to a carelessly handled butter knife.
  • Fable
    A story told by a teenager arriving home after curfew.
  • Food
    The response Mom usually gives in answer to the question “What’s for dinner tonight?” See “Sarcasm”.
  • Frozen
    A type of food.
    How hell will be when Mom lets her daughter date an older guy with a motorcycle.
  • Garbage
    A collection of refuse items, the taking out of which Mom assigns to a different family member each week, then winds up doing herself.
  • Geniuses
    Amazingly, all of Mom’s kids.
  • Gum
    Adhesive for the hair.
  • Hamper
    A wicker container with a lid, usually surrounded by, but not containing, dirty clothing.
  • Handi-Wipes
    Pants, shirt-sleeves, drapes, etc.
  • Hands
    Body appendages which must be scrubbed raw with volcanic soap and sterilized in boiling water immediately prior to consumption of the evening meal.
  • Hindsight
    What Mom experiences from changing too many diapers.
  • Homemade Bread
    An object of fiction like the Fountain of Youth and the Golden Fleece.
  • Ice
    Cubes of frozen water which would be found in small plastic tray if kids or husbands ever filled the darn things instead of putting them back in the freezer empty.
  • Inside
    That place that will suddenly look attractive to kids once Mom has spent a minimum of half an hour getting them ready to go outside.
  • “I Said So”>BR?
    Reason enough, according to Mom.
  • Jackpot
    When all the kids stay at friends’ homes for the night.
  • Jeans
    Which, according to kids, are appropriate for just about any occasion, including church and funerals.
    Slang for “Gee Mom, isn’t there anything else you can do to embarrass me in front of my friends?”
  • Joy Ride
    Going somewhere without the kids.
  • Junk
    Dad’s stuff.
  • Ketchup
    The sea of tomato-based goop kids use to drown the dish that Mom spent hours cooking and years perfecting to get the seasoning just right.
  • Kiss
    Mom medicine.
  • Lake
    Large body of water into which a kid will jump should his friends do so.
  • Lemonade Stand
    Complicated business venture where Mom buys powdered mix, sugar, lemons, and paper cups, and sets up a table, chairs, pitchers and ice for kids who sit there for three to six minutes and net a profit of 15 cents.
  • Lie
    An “exaggeration” Mom uses to transform her child’s papier-mache volcano science project into a Nobel Prize-winning experiment and a full-ride scholarship to Harvard.
  • Losers
    See “Kids’ Friends”
  • Makeup
    Lipstick, eyeliner, blush,etc. which ironically make Mom look better while making her young daughter look “like a tramp.”
  • Maybe
  • Milk
    A healthful beverage which kids will gladly drink once it’s turned into junk food by the addition of sugar and cocoa.
    The cry of a child on another floor who wants something.
  • Mush
    What a kid loves to do with a plateful of food.
    Main element of Mom’s favorite movies.
  • Nails
    A hard covering on the end of the finger, which Mom can never have a full set of due to pitching for batting practice, opening stubborn modeling clay lids and removing heat ducts to retrieve army men and/or doll clothing.
  • Panic
    What a mother goes thru when the darn wind-up swing stops.
  • Ocean
    What the bathroom floor looks like after bath night for kids, assorted pets, two or three full-sized towels and several dozen toy boats, cars and animals.
  • Open
    The position of children’s mouths when they eat in front of company.
  • Overstuffed Recliner
    Mom’s nickname for Dad.
  • Penitentiary
    Where children who don’t eat their vegetables or clean their rooms eventually end up, according to Mom.
  • Pets
    Small, furry creatures which follow kids home so Mom will have someone else to clean up after.
  • Piano
    A large, expensive musical instrument which, after thousands of dollars worth of lessons and constant harping by Mom, kids will refuse to play in front of company.
  • Purse
    A handbag in which Mom carries the checkbook and keys she can never find beacuse they’re buried under tissues, gum wrappers, a plastic container full of cereal, toys from a fast-food restaurant, a teddy bear, a football, wallpaper samples, a grocery list and several outdated coupons.
  • Quiet
    A state of household serenity which occurs before the birth of the first child and occurs again after the last child has left for college.
  • Raincoat
    Article of clothing Mom bought to keep a child dry and warm, rendered ineffective because it’s in the bottom of a locker stuffed in a book bag or because the child refuses to wear “the geeky thing.”
  • Refrigerator
    Combination art gallery and air-conditioner for the kitchen.
  • Room Mother
    A position of great honor and responsibility bestowed on a mom who inadvertently misses a PTA meeting.
  • School Play
    Sadistic ritual in which adults derive pleasure from watching offspring stumble through coarse reinactments of famous historic events.
  • Screaming
    Home P.A. system.
  • Snowsuits
    Warm, padded outer garments that, when completely zipped and snapped performs two important functions: Protecting children from the cold and reminding them that they have to go to the bathroom.
  • Soap
    A cleaning agent Mom puts on the sink on the off-chance one of her kids will accidentally grab it while reaching for the towel.
  • Spit
    All-purpose cleaning fluid especially good on kids’ faces.
  • Spoiled Rotten
    What the kids become after as little as 15 minutes with Grandma.
  • Sweater
    Magically charmed article of clothing that can ward away colds, fly and even pneumonia.
  • Sunday Best
    Attractive, expensive children’s clothing made of a fabric which attracts melted chocolate and grape juice.
  • Teacher Conference
    A meeting between Mom and that person who has yet to understand her child’s “special needs.”
  • Terrible Two’s
    Having both kids at home all summer.
  • “That Way”
    How kids shouldn’t look at moms if they know what’s good for them. Also applies to how they talk.
  • Towels
    See “Floor Coverings”
  • Tramp
    A woman with two kids and no stretch marks.
  • Trouble
    Area of nonspecific space a child can always be sure to be in.
  • Umpteenth
    Highly conservative estimate of the number of times Mom must instruct her offspring to do something before it actually gets done.
  • Underwear
    An article of clothing, the cleanliness of which ensures the wearer will never have an accident.
  • Utopia
    See “Bubble Bath”
  • Vacation
    Where you take the family to get away from it all, only to find it there, too.
  • Vitamins
    Tiny facsimiles of cave people Mom forces you to swallow each morning as part of her sinister plot to have you grow up to be “Just like Daddy.”
  • Walls
    Complete set of drawing paper for kids that comes with every room.
  • Washing Machine
    Household appliance used to clean blue jeans, permanent ink markers, loose change, homework, tissues and wads of gum.
  • “When your father gets home…”
    Standard measurement of time between crime and punishment.
    Mom salutation guaranteed to make the already embarrassing note in a kid’s lunch box even more mortifying.
  • Xylophone
    Small toy musical instrument often given as gifts to children who show their appreciation by playing the stupid thing constantly, over and over, all day long! See also “DRUMS”
  • Yard Sale
    Heart-wrenching emotional process wherein Mom plans to sell kids’s outdated toys and clothing that she decides at the last minute are treasured mementos she can’t bear to part with.
  • “YIPPEE!”
    What Mom would jump up and shout if the school year was changed to 12 months. See also “YAHOO!”
  • Zillion
    Amount of times Mom must have gone to the supermarket already this week.
  • Zucchini
    Vegetable which can be baked, boiled, fried or steamed before kids refuse to eat it.