One day last week, I was having a completely braindead day. You know the kind of day I'm talking about... dropping everything, go into the kitchen 3 times, ...and forget why you were going by the time you get there, forget to turn on the oven for dinner. Finally, when I put flour in the kool-aid instead of sugar, my 5 year old told me, "Mommy, you're grounded". I asked him "Grounded from what?" "Everything", he replies.
Grounded from everything?? How great would that be?? I've dished out a lot of groundings in the last few years. With 3 active boys, someone is always grounded. The typical grounding consists of no tv, no video games, no telephone for a specific amount of time. When my kids are grounded, they like to follow me around and try to make me as miserable as they are, but I wouldn't do that to them, at least not right away.
That got me thinking. How different would my day look if I were really grounded from everything? I sure wouldn't be getting up at 6 a.m., because I wouldn't have to get up and cook breakfast or take anyone to school. I wouldn't have to get up early when the baby cried, or because someone forgot to take out the trash on trash day. I would take a nap anytime I wanted, for as long as I wanted. I would actually get a hot meal, because my baby wouldn't wait to wail until I opened my mouth for that first bite. (how does he know to do that??)
If I were grounded for even one day, I might have time to paint my toenails...and let them dry. (I can't remember the last time that happened). I might be able to sit down and read an entire book, from cover to cover like I used to before I became a mom. I would take a long, hot bath, and I wouldn't answer the door when someone inevitably knocked for me to fix their broken toy. Sorry, Mommy's grounded.
If I were grounded from everything, I might actually eat an entire meal without getting up to fix anyone a drink, or clean up a spill. After dinner, rather than rushing to get everyone's baths before bedtime, I might sit on the back porch and enjoy the quiet. I would go to bed early, and sleep through the whole night, uninterrupted. Daddy would have to get up with the baby, Mommy's grounded.
The next day, if I were grounded from everything, I would spend the entire day following my kids around and asking them, "What can I do now? I'm bored". I would go into their bedrooms and pick up their toys and move them to the other side of the room, just because. I would sit and stare at them until they couldn't stand it anymore, then I would repeat back everything they said, exactly the way they said it. At meals, I would giggle every time they put a bite in their mouth, and when they ask what's funny, I will just giggle some more. Childish, I know, but that's the kind of mom I am.
I know that it's not very realistic for Mommy to be grounded, and if we were, it wouldn't be from the good stuff like dishes and laundry, it would be from the fun stuff like playing peek-a-boo or hide and seek. The reality is that as much as I can daydream of what else I can do to get that kind of grounding, my 5 year old wouldn't have the authority anyway.
The bigger reality is, I like doing all the things I claim to hide from. I love being needed every minute of my kid's day. True, it would be great to be able to sleep past 6 a.m., but I also love being up to see my husband before he leaves for work every day. I love getting up with the baby every morning, because he's always so happy to see me. Truth is, I don't mind giving up hot meals and hot baths, because I like that my kids know they can come to me with anything, anytime. I don't mind getting up from dinner, that's why I am usually the last one to fix my plate, because I want to make sure my family has everything before I get anything for myself. My kid's bathtime is my favorite time of day, and I wouldn't miss it for the world. Sometimes, it would be nice to sleep through the night, no justifying that one, but I know that won't last much longer, as a matter of fact, for the most part he's sleeping through the night now.
As for irritating the kids, one of the joys of being mom is that I can do that anytime, grounded or not. The reality of the big picture is that, while it would be nice from time to time to take a break and let my family realize how hard I work to take care of them, I enjoy it too much to give it up, even for a day, so that grounding I daydream of, really would be a punishment. That doesn't stop me from daydreaming.