Moms get a lot of play in the media. From Tiger moms to slacker moms. French moms to moms who breastfeed until the kid is old enough to ask for the car keys. Moms get play in the media because Moms do a lot. We work, we volunteer, we help sell Girl Scout cookies. We cook, we clean, we do laundry, we drive drive drive. We remember doctor appointments, dentist appointments, meetings, field trips, and when library books are due. We cut fingernails and toenails before they reach Wolverine status (or TRY to, anyway), bandage boo-boos, remind to brush brush brush and floss floss floss. We grit our teeth at homework time, science fair time, and while brushing out tangles roughly the size of a womprat. Everyone sings the praises of Mother for all this and more. But you know what I never see? Moms getting kudos for bed-making. I did some math, and figured I have made approximately 2000 beds in the past 11 years. And this doesn’t include the daily bed-making when the kids were little. This is weekly tearing-the-bed-apart-and-putting-on-clean-sheets bed-making. I got to thinking about this a few months
ago, as I scraped my knuckles YET AGAIN on Type A’s headboard. I remember my mom making all our beds. I remember sliding into those cool, clean sheets, blankets heavy on my body. That fresh smell of recently washed laundry that never lasted long enough, but was so soothing. I remember feeling loved and safe. I also remember never thanking my mom for doing it. Why would I? In my childhood mind, it was what moms did. Like making dinner, and teaching me how to tie my shoes. Mom-work. But now, as a Mom myself, I realize how much WORK goes into making beds, and I have to say I HATE clean sheet day. I very rarely escape without a scraped knuckle, broken nail, bruised shin or sore back. And word to the wise: think twice before getting a bunk bed. Then think twice more. Sure, kids love them, and they ARE space-savers, but you have to know it will be YOU who has to climb your fat, scared ass up that ladder to change the sheets, clean up vomit, or spray the mattress down because of a pee accident. You will
madly try to remember what the max weight limit is as you lay yourself flat across that top bunk to distribute your weight more evenly (like with snow or quicksand). Have you ever tried to put clean sheets on a bed while laying flat on your stomach? Yeah. It’s terrifying. Trying not to move too much because the bed sways and makes alarming creaking noises. Imagining a catastrophic collapse turning you into a bunk bed sandwich, like Will Ferrell in Step-Brothers. Yeah, I did that for a few years until I begged hubby to separate the bunks, because it really was just a question of WHEN the bed would collapse, not IF. Speaking of hubby, I don’t know why sheet-changing became exclusively “Mom work”. Looking back, I don’t know of any Dads who changed sheets when I was a kid. Maybe it’s because most men don’t mind wallowing in the same dirty sheets for a month or more. Ugh. Just the THOUGHT of that makes me all skeevy. I don’t know how they do it. I think most men believe there is a Clean Sheet Fairy who flies in while they are at work, and puts clean sheets on the beds. Kind of like the Clean Underwear Fairy, and the Clean Sock Fairy.
So I guess my point here is this: Call your Mom (or whoever was your chief bed-maker back when you were a kid) and say “Thank you.” Thank her/him for the scraped knuckles/sore backs/broken nails they had to endure. Thank her/him for those middle-of-the-night sheet changes when you puked, peed, or pooped all over the bed. Thank her/him for changing your sweaty sheets when you were sick, and your fever broke. Thank her/him for enduring the nightmare of folding clean sheets to put away in the linen closet (folding fitted sheets makes me want to punch myself in the face). And make sure your kids understand the sacrifice YOU make every week changing out those nasty dirty sheets by complaining loudly and sighing a lot. Muttering the f-word under your breath gets your point across nicely as well. Also, if you have a bunk bed to take care of, make sure you hand your cell phone to one of the kids with strict instructions on how to call 9-1-1 if the bed collapses under you. That gets the point across to the kids that every time you make that bunk bed, you take your life into your own hands. I’m not above guilting a “thank you” out of them. But to be honest, I DO get a weird satisfaction of watching them snuggle down into a bed of clean sheets because I know they are experiencing that same intangible sense of well-being I did when I was a kid. And sometimes, that is thanks enough.