Here & there: Sorry Shel Silverstein, 2 is better than 1

Photo by Antonio_Diaz/iStock/Getty Images Plus; boy behind couch photo by Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images Plus;

FEATURE — It’s 5:30 p.m. and I’m walking out of an all-day intensive training session for a part-time consulting job that periodically takes me out of the house. I’ve been without cell contact for most of the day. My husband and older son have been on “the job” at home.

But still, the first text I read as I walk out the door and am hit by the cumulative heat of the day is from my neighbor with a plea from my 7-year-old: Can you find out where my mom is?

I am slightly horrified. I’ve been buried deep in a structured thinking presentation while my child is canvassing the neighborhood trying to ascertain my whereabouts. It’s like the familiar “Are You My Mother?” only worse.

And then I laugh.

Of course my son would leave the house – bypassing his father and older brother – to employ a female neighbor’s help to find his mother. He does virtually the same when I’m home; he walks past his father and any other logical helper to find me and get my help – no matter how many pots I have boiling on the stove or how indisposed I am in the bathroom.

It doesn’t matter that his father is available. It doesn’t matter that his brother is available. He wants me.

My husband says it’s my fault for having a womb and empathy. I think it’s my husband’s fault for having the ability to look really busy even when he’s not … and for being able to tune out all voices but the one on the record he’s listening to.

Wherever the cause, and whosever fault it is, I don’t like it.

Not that I don’t love having a bond with my boys. Not that I don’t love that they know I’m a resource.

But I don’t like that they defy logic and convenience to use me when other resources are available. I mean, what’s the point of having two parents if they’re going to ignore one of them?

All three of my boys have been like that. But I’m betting it’s not just me. I’m not that amazing or that smart or that indispensable.

I’m also betting that I’m not the only mom it drives crazy.

So for all of the mothers (or “preferred parents”) out there, I’d like to establish a new rule for our children: Use the nearest parent!

Got a cut on your big toe? Ouch. Ask the parent who is 2 feet away from you to help you with that Bandaid – not your mother, who is currently at the grocery store.

Your brother hit you harder than you think fair in your game of “rock, paper, punch”? Bummer. Ask the parent who happens to be playing the game with you to offer mediation services. Or better yet, work it out yourself.

Stumped on a math problem? Ask your mother. Just kidding. No, really, ask your mother. Girls are good at math, too.

The point is, if kids are lucky enough to have two parents, they should use them both. Two is better than one, whatever Shel Silverstein implies.

I picked my husband to be the father my children for good reasons; he’s smart and funny and clever and is the hardest worker this side of the Mississippi – and he has many lessons to teach. If given the chance.

This week I am resolved. I will get one of those trendy letterboards to drive home my new rule. And if my boys can’t get with the program and start using the nearest parent, tattoos are next.

Kat Dayton is a columnist for St. George News, any opinions given are her own and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected] | [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


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1 Comment

  • youcandoit August 6, 2017 at 7:14 am

    I like the show the Middle where Patricia Heaton character established office hours for her kids complaints. Lol that way the dad had to chime in.

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