Wednesday, December 4, 2013

"Lay It On Me Again, Will You?"

I posted this column three years ago and thought it was worth another post.  This month can be an overwhelming time for moms, especially those with many children.  I love this little reminder...oh boy, I need it this week!  It always makes me cry-and gain some new much needed perspective.

An Erma Bombeck Column:

A young mother writes: "I know you've written before about the empty-nest syndrome -- that lonely period after the children are grown and gone. Right now, I'm up to my eyeballs in laundry and muddy boots. The baby is teething; the boys are fighting. My husband just called and said to eat without him, and I fell off my diet. Lay it on me again, will you?"


One of these days, you'll shout, "Why don't you kids grow up and act your age!"

And they will.

Or, "You guys get outside and find yourselves something to do ... and don't slam the door!"

And they won't.

You'll straighten up the boys' bedroom neat and tidy -- bumper stickers discarded, bedspread tucked and smooth, toys displayed on the shelves. Hangers in the closet. Animals caged. And you'll say out loud, "Now I want it to stay this way."

And it will.

You'll prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasn't been picked to death and a cake with no finger traces in the icing, and you'll say, "Now, there's a meal for company."

And you'll eat it alone.

You'll say: "I want complete privacy on the phone. No dancing around. No demolition crews. Silence! Do you hear?" And you'll have it.

No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti.

No more bedspreads to protect the sofa from damp bottoms.

No more gates to stumble over at the top of the basement steps.

No more clothespins under the sofa.

No more playpens to arrange a room around.

No more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent.

No more sand on the sheets or Popeye movies in the bathrooms.

No more iron-on patches, wet, knotted shoestrings, tight boots, or rubber bands for ponytails.

Imagine. A lipstick with a point on it. No baby sitter for New Year's Eve. Washing only once a week. Seeing a steak that isn't ground. Having your teeth cleaned without a baby on your lap.

No PTA meetings.

No car pools.

No blaring radios.

No one washing her hair at 11 o'clock at night.

Having your own roll of Scotch tape.

Think about it. No more Christmas presents out of toothpicks and library paste.

No more sloppy oatmeal kisses.

No more tooth fairy.

No giggles in the dark.

No knees to heal, no responsibility.

Only a voice crying, "Why don't you grow up?"

and the silence echoing, "I did."


  1. I normally love reading your blog....but I wished I'd seen this one coming!!!! I am suffering badly from empty nest syndrome and so envy that you still have your babies around you. Mine are busy off at uni and the eldest finished and now with a grown-up life. I can't believe after the busy-ness of the past 25 years I now sit in tears reading this. My husband at another late meeting...avoiding the empty house.

  2. This just makes me sad...but it puts it all in perspective.

  3. I think about it daily…feel like someone is behind me, pushing through this life WAY too fast. With one in high school and one in middle school I am trying desperately to savor every day….and hold on to all the messes and the car rides to and from activities. It makes me think I should have had 5 instead of 2. Thanks for reposting…I remember my Mom reading all those Erma Bombeck books…wise woman!

  4. Love, love your blog! My children are now in that "middle age stage", two in college, one in high school and one in middle school and I so miss the early years! Just yesterday as I hunted for the match for another giant black Nike sock and cursed the swoosh symbol, I mentally told myself to be quiet for all to soon there won't be any socks to sort!! Boo Hoo!

  5. My 1 year old woke last night with croup, and it was a long night taking turns sitting on the porch in the cool air and sleeping next to the humidifier. What timing that I should read this as soon as I got the bigger boys off to school this morning. Thankful tears. :)

  6. So true. I love Erma--she died too young. I confess to having purchased my daughter her OWN tape dispenser for Christmas last year to keep her from stealing mine (she still steals mine!).
    LOVE the Janey pic!!! Had a similar incident with a huge container of rice...

  7. my bedroom is a train wreck between hiding presents for 9 kids, laundry that needs to be folded and having a precious 11 wk old baby that didn't get the memo that mommy could use some more sleep. it does pass fast and this is the time to cherish. thank you for the reminder!

  8. Totally needed to read this. Especially around the holidays when everything can get busy and stressful. Some day there won't be a kid nagging about the Elf on the Shelf or pestering me as I try to get dinner ready at a reasonable time. Thank you for the reminder to chill a bit and enjoy my kiddos.

  9. I try to remind myself daily how quick this time is going to go. Sometimes these columns/stories leave me in tears because I know I can't keep my babies little forever!

  10. Thanks for this reminder today!!

  11. well dang Sarah!! Today is my older sons 18th birthday and I was trying to not be weepy or too nostalgic today!!! Great and very very true!! I have to say that like you, I can't imaging not being a stay-at-home mom…I have home schooled for 10 years now and the older one is in a private high school, and the middle one is there part time~and I still don't think I had enough time with them. I know our way of parenting is looked down upon by others most of the time~but thank the Lord at this milestone I can look back without regret!! And I am so thankful that I have people like you, that are like-minded and I can do life with!!!! Have a great day~~ and I love the look on Janeys face~!!!!

  12. You inspire me in motherhood like no other. Goodness gracious! We have 3 boys, the oldest all of the sudden will be 12 next week. I can't believe that I'll have a teenager next year! Mind blowing. Our youngest will be 6 in February and after much prayer for courage after having pregnancies like yours we have decided to add to our family. I'm so thankful that God has used you to show me that these kids are worth it. Thank you for believing that children and families are wonderful blessings!

  13. Only had 5 minutes before kindergarten pick-up time. So glad that I chose your blog to click on in that time. Thank you!

  14. Made me weepy. Thanks. Always helps to remember that.

  15. I love your blog. Great reminders. Thank you.

  16. I've always enjoyed this - even though it makes me weepy. Thank you, and have a wonderful Christmas!

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  18. I could cry over these days of four boys aged 10 and under whizzing by too fast, but why? Why shouldn't I look forward to the days of a quiet, clean house and the ability to take a nap whenever I want to? I am determined to enjoy every stage of life and not dread the next one, as it is inevitably coming. I will find joy in silence.

    1. I agree Becky! I think every stage of life has it's joys and struggles. It's just nice to be reminded of that sometimes.

    2. Becky, I was thinking the same thing! I have loved every stage of my life: being a child, a teen, a young woman and new wife, a mom of babies and toddlers, and now a wife of 20 years and a mom of a highschooler and a 4th grader. Every once in a while I look at photos of chubby knees and miss those days, but mostly I am just happy in the moment. I have never cried over the past or the thought that I will not have any more kids. I really feel like you do. Like each stage of life is a blessing if you let it be. Each stage has beauty and happiness if you let it. I don't dwell on the fact that someday my kids will be grown and happily living their own lives, but I hope when the time comes I will feel peace knowing I did a good job raising them and contentment in the life I am living...just as happy...but different. :)

  19. I love this saying. I found it a few years ago, and decided to make it a daily reminder. I superimposed the quote over a picture of my children, and framed it. It's up where I see it every day and I find that it helps to put things in perspective when I've had just about all that I can take and bedtime is still a long way off.

  20. I think you and Erma are two smart ladies!!! Thank you for the beautiful reminder!!!!

  21. can't even read it. too close. too true.

  22. So very true, however "empty nest" is just a time between being a parent and being a grandparent, which is the ultimate reward. Trust me, I know!

  23. I loved reading this. Erma helped my mother keep her sanity when she was raising the four of us kids. I can still hear her laughing over Erma's column in the newspaper, and calling her friend so they could laugh together. I am in the empty nest stage and while I'm loving it, I DO miss those handmade Christmas ornaments and the sand in the sheets after a day at the beach. And I miss having the kids at home, safe under our roof. It's a tough world out there.