Part-Time Referee

I've never been much of an athlete or sports fan, but I'm finding that as a full-time mom to boys, my job description includes "part-time referee." The games are many and varied, ranging from the expected sword fights, splash wars, and wrestling matches to imaginative games of David and Goliath, Lion and Lion Tamer, and Moses in the Basket, to downright bizarre games like Eat Your Brother, Bite the Baby, and Pee on Each Other (the latter in the bathtub, thankfully). As referee, it is my task to define fair play and enforce it. I make it pretty simple. Regardless of the game, there are only two rules: 1) be kind, and 2) don't hurt your brother. I suppose I could add: 3) don't hurl dense objects, 4) don't use the pictures on the wall for target practice, and 5) don't pretend that the bookshelves are Annapurna and you are mountaineers, but that's pretty complicated for a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, don't you think?

I loathe yelling and make it a goal not to shout at my children, but often they make so much noise that they can't hear me unless I raise my voice at least nineteen times above its normal level. To avoid sharing my motherly admonitions with the rest of the apartment block, sometimes I'll wade into the fray to get the boys' attention without shouting. However, this strategy isn't practical when I'm cooking something whose recipe includes the words "stir constantly," or when I'm nursing the baby, or (and this is my favorite) when I'm holding the baby over the toilet because he needs to go poop! So in those instances I have two choices. I can temporarily abandon my referee responsibilities (which usually means abandoning my second child to the mercy of his older brother), or I can yell at the boys until they realize that Mommy is saying something and they'd better stop to listen. **sigh** I feel like I've been doing too much yelling lately.

The other day it occurred to me that a referee's whistle might come in handy.

I think I'll ask for one for Mother's Day.

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What about you? What are you hoping for (or planning to give) on Mother's Day?


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4 thoughts on “Part-Time Referee

  1. Wow, the reason you wonder how I get so much done is becuase having one little girl is nothing like what you just described! Kyrstin’s favorite activities include styling Mommy’s hair (while this is often a painful procedure that usually ends after she hits me over the head with the brush it combines well with working at the computer), sitting with her picture Bible and telling herself the stories, pretending to take her baby doll for walks and drives to Costco (around the living room table), changing her clothes multiple times, watching rolly pollies crawl across the ground, picking berries, and singing to her stuffed animals. I certainly don’t need a whistle for Mother’s day, just some time to sit and smell the roses with my sweet little girl. =o)

    • That’s adorable! (And so very, very different from the world in which I spend all my days!) As you once said, the genius who came up with the theory that there really are no differences between the sexes obviously didn’t have children of his or her own!

  2. “Fight quietly” was one of our 3 rules as the two of you grew up. I don’t think such a rule is possible with boys. Perhaps “Do no harm”

    • I remember those three rules well! I tried to enforce them with our boys, but I soon gave up on teaching them to fight quietly. However, the first two rules are alive and well in our home. I expect them to do things the first time they’re told, and I do not tolerate back talk. I like your idea of replacing Rule 3 with “Do no harm.” Now I’ll just have to teach them what that means!

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