Previously mentioned, but if you search #mykidsareaholes on Instagram, I’m kinduva BFD. OK, maybe I’m only a BFD in my own mind, but I use that hashtag. A lot. Because I’m constantly all “Hey you guys who live in a house with me, don’t leave trash all over the house.” Or “put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher.” Or “if the kitchen trash can is so full you can’t tamp it down any farther without shit falling over the side, go ahead and take that bag out to the trash can; and, if you wanna get REALLY WILD AND CRAZY, put a new, empty bag in the kitchen bin.”
And yet, I still end up putting 99.9% of all the trash in the bin, and carrying 99.9% of the full to overflowing bags out to the trashcan and replacing the trash bags 99.9% of the time and putting 99.9% of the dishes in the dishwasher.
It’s a pattern our family has fallen into, because I’ve enabled it. I don’t have a job. My husband works his ass off and my kids are ridiculously busy. If a kid has cross country practice after school and is only home for an hour before she has to go to soccer practice then doesn’t get home until 7:45 or 8:00pm and still has homework to do; or a French horn lesson right after school and basketball practice from 8:00-9:00pm on a week after he spent his previous entire Saturday at a debate tournament; I’m willing to carry this load. Of garbage. With a grateful heart. While plotting countless passive (or maybe outright) aggressive ways I can really stick it to ‘em for being assholes who won’t help out with the damn trash. It’s a complicated situation. Inevitably, every once in awhile, the situation escalates:
WHY CAN YOU PEOPLE NOT DO WHAT I ASK? HOW FUCKING HARD IS IT TO NOT CONSTANTLY LEAVE THE KITCHEN ISLAND COVERED IN TRASH AND DIRTY DISHES (or scissors, crayons, and poster board you failed to put away after completing your social studies project, or the check and field trip permission slip you asked me to sign, or the borax/liquid starch/food coloring utilized in your latest DIY project)?
And, of course, my family’s response to my loss of shit is predictable:
Why is mom so triggered all the time??
Then I try to explain about all the times I’ve picked up after them without being triggered, and how my tantrum is not exactly about trash. How when they don’t respond to my asks to be responsible citizens of the household, I feel I’m not being listened to or heard. Which leads to me feeling like my voice carries no weight. Which makes me ragey.
Even when dealing with something as humdrum as garbage, it really, really sucks to feel like your voice doesn’t matter.
As much as it sucks for me, though, at least I don’t have to contend with anyone telling me to shut my mouth, put on my helmet, go out and get concussed for the entertainment of the American people. To just do my fucking job and have no opinions. To protest my filthy kitchen on my own time (whatever the hell that means for an unemployed wife and mom).
And, of course, the stakes are far lower when my voice isn’t heard. Frustration and a dirty kitchen are sonsabitches, but I don’t have to worry about my kid being shot dead if he goes to buy skittles or taking four bullets when pulled over for a broken taillight.
Refusing to acknowledge a person’s voice is mean. Refusing to acknowledge it systematically for hundreds of years is persecution. If a person is trying to be heard in a fashion you don’t care for, being it taking a knee, or protesting in the streets, or throwing a hissy fit over taking out the trash; it’s possible you are complicit in letting the situation escalate to such a point. Remember what happens when you point a finger. We all do it. I’m doing it now. It’s time for some soul searching, America. Enough with the finger pointing. Just listen.