Ever feel like your kids think you're a servant? I definitely get that impression. I'd be pretty thick not to, after this little exchange the other day:
Kaylee: (shouting from the other room) Mommy Servent! Mommy Servent! Mommy Servent!
Me: (Shouting back) There's nobody here by that title!
Kaylee: (continues shouting) Mommy Servent! Mommy Servent! Mommy Servent!
Me: Are you talking to me? (her sister was there, so I thought I'd ask)
Me: I'm not a servant.
Kaylee: Why not? I want you to be!
Me: No, I'm not your servant. I may do things for you, but I'm not your servant.
Kaylee: (pause) ... What's a servant?
Me: Somebody who has to do things for you because it's their job.
Kaylee: Yeah, you should be Mommy Servant!
Turns out she was "just playing for pretend" but she had herself all propped up on the sofa with feather boas and a dozen pillows like a little diva. (I blame Backyardigans for that bit) It was a caricature of the whole Mommy Servant/Diva Daughter relationship, and it was pretty funny. My mom was there and she got a good laugh. When I told my husband, he said "just don't teach her the word slave."
I may have been asking for the title of Mommy Servant, since I had recently tried to get Kaylee to help more with cleaning by paying her for her help, but requiring her to pay me if I do her share. It worked for about a week. Now we're back to the normal whining, crying drama as before. And Kaylee gets upset too.
Why is it so hard to get kids to help with the chores?? Forget about the servitude of constantly running to get them another go-gert or to re-fill their juice cup (yes, I let my kids have more than one cup of juice), I would be happy if they would just put away their toys, at least *some* of the time, without being dragged through the process.
I'm sure I was a perfect angel who always picked up her toys, and all my memories of my mom saying "I am not your servant" must have been directed at my siblings. (I think I can hear my mom laughing from 3 miles away)
But whatever happened in my own childhood, it hasn't helped me solve the mystery of getting kids to deal with their own shit. For now I'm pretty resigned to it being a daily struggle to keep the floor at least moderately clear of evil foot-killing legos and other plastic crap without turning into a full-time Mommy Servant.
But at least sometimes, when they leave their crap all over the house, it's staged in an entertaining way. Like the time I fount my PJs clipped to a cat leash and tied to the door, while the plastic horse in the hallway looked on from his dinner of nutella-covered bagel. A classic American still-life, you know.