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Privacy and 5 Other Inalienable Rights Moms Should Have

Photograph by Twenty20

Dear Kids,

Recently, it occurred to me that everyone in the world has rights. Well everyone it seems, except moms. See it may seem strange to you, but moms need things like food, rest and shelter—just like everyone else.

This probably comes as a shock to you because we moms don’t actually get basic necessities like food, rest and shelter. And just in case you’ve noticed that and thought to yourself, "I’ve never actually seen my mom eat or sleep. She probably just doesn’t need to,” think again. We moms need everything else that other humans need. We just don’t always get the opportunity.

So to clear up any confusion, I figured I’d lay out a Bill of Rights for moms. Because contrary to popular belief, moms have rights, too.

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From this day forward, every mom in the universe shall have the right to:

1. A Meal!

I’m a mom, not a member of the staff. I deserve a chair, too.

Guys, you know the thing you eat at least three times a day, more than that if you count those elaborate snacks you’re always hungry for? Well, I’d like to have one, too. Yup that’s right kids, moms get hungry! We even like to sit down in a chair while we eat. And we don’t really want to get up so many times from the table that mealtime starts to feel like a lower body gym workout.

So going forward, I’m going to sit down to eat. I’m not going to get up to get you the various things you remembered you wanted only after I sat down until after I’ve eaten. And if we’re in a restaurant, I’m going to take you to the bathroom one time. That way I don’t have to eat after the family as if I’m an employee on a meal break. I’m a mom, not a member of the staff. I deserve a chair, too.

2. Sleep

Kiddos, I love you I really do. But I won’t lie, I love you a little bit less when you wake me up at 4 a.m. to tell me you can’t find your lovie or when you turn bedtime into Mardi Gras.

See, like you and most human beings, I get tired. I even like to put myself in a horizontal position and sleep for extended periods of time so I don’t feel like a prisoner of war who’s been given sleep deprivation as a punishment. And while I’m always here to help you at all hours of the day or night, I’m not a night shift worker. I need some sleep. So if you’ve just remembered your homework and it’s midnight, or if your blanket isn’t perfect and it’s 5 a.m., tell me about after I’ve woken up. Because before that, I’ll be busy catching some Z’s.

3. Kindness

The next time I make a meal you don’t like, go ahead and keep that information to yourself. Motherhood is not an endless Yelp! review.

Sure it was cute when you were 3 and said, “You have a big tummy!” (there was a human being in it at the time, but OK.) And I ignored all the times you said things like, “You hair is weird” or “Why don’t you have a penis?” but as kids get older they have the ability to think before they speak. So the next time I make a meal you don’t like, go ahead and keep that information to yourself. Motherhood is not an endless Yelp! review. I don’t always have to hear your opinion.

4. Privacy

There isn’t a mom in the world who doesn’t love every moment with her kids, but this moment doesn't have to be when she’s trying to get dressed, has to use the restroom or needs to change a tampon. Sometimes, and I know this will be shocking information, but sometimes moms just need a few moments to themselves. So kids, when you see a door closed, knock on it before entering. And when that lady on the other side of the door says something like, “I’ll be there in a minute,” or “I’m busy,” don’t enter unless it’s an emergency. Mom’s allowed to pee in private, too.

5. Positive Feedback

OK we’ve established that mom has a right to not hear complaints all the damned day, but she also has a right to hear compliments on her hard work. So don’t just say, “I love you,” when you’re trying to squeeze some extra TV time out of her, say it because you just saw her spend an hour making you a meal. Tell her how much you appreciate her because you noticed that those dirty clothes that were in your hamper magically were cleaned, folded and put back in your room. Or just say thank you on occasion to that lady driving the Mom-SUV every day to school and back. She’s happy to do it, but wouldn’t mind hearing you appreciate her efforts.

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6. Personal Space

Kids, this news may blow your mind, but when the doctor cut your umbilical cord, mom and child stopped being one. I know, mind blown! That means mom and child don’t have to be in the same room every second of the day. Like when mom says she’s going upstairs just to get something quickly, you don’t have to follow. She will come back. She’ll probably even come back in 30 seconds.

Likewise, when you sit next to mom you don’t have to sit on mom. You don’t have to step on her toes every time you’re within mom-proximity. And if you’re in the same house as mom, but can’t physically see her for two seconds, you don’t have to scream her name throughout the house as if she’s disappeared into thin air. She’s just getting some personal space.

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