There are many days, as a stay-at-home-mom (hereafter referred to as a SAHM for the sake of brevity!) when I feel that the only thing I have accomplished is the feeding of my children. 

Now, make no mistake:  I don’t mean simply the breakfast-lunch-dinner routine.  No, on these particular days, our daily menu looks something like this:  Breakfast.  Post-breakfast snack.  Mid-morning snack.  Pre-lunch.  Lunch.  Post-lunch snack.  Mid-afternoon snack.  Pre-dinner snack.  Dinner.  Dessert.  (Attempted) pre-bedtime snack.

Seriously.  I know I am not the only one, but…REALLY?  I swear, some days I think I should get my kids tested for tapeworms because it seems like all they do is EAT.  I frequently, and loudly, compare them to a swarm of hungry locusts:  they come flying in all together, devour everything in sight, and leave devastation in their wake.

Even though they’re back at school, I still have one hungry <strike>locust</strike>child at home, and when the others return it’s as if their hunger has grown exponentially to their absence, despite eating both a snack and a lunch at school.

I have come to accept this as a fact of life.  While I do not enjoy being a short-order cook the handmaiden to their hunger, I understand that this is part and parcel of the deal I signed on for almost 9 years ago.

What puts me over the edge, however, is when they make a dramatic entrance, clutching their stomachs, swooning and wailing “I’m STARVING,” or worse still, the somewhat less-frequently used “I’m STARVING TO DEATH.”

No statement they have yet uttered is surer to short-circuit my compassion than that one. 

Generally, those statements are met with a blank stare and a curled lip.  “Starving?  You just had a snack not (5/10/15/insert appropriate time frame here) minutes ago.  Believe me, you’re not starving.  You’re not even in the same universe!”

But they are, and that’s what bothers me.  Despite the fact that times are tight and we are watching our budgets and our bottom lines, we have SO MUCH.  We are so blessed, and so lucky.  To me, “I’m starving” feels like blasphemy of sorts.  Maybe the primitive part of my monkey brain feels like if they say it enough, it will be true.  I shudder every time they say it.

I want to teach them not to be melodramatic.  I want them to say, not, “I’m starving,” but rather “I’m hungry,” OR, as is probably often the case, “I’m bored.”  I hope that I’m not overreacting, but…it really bothers me. 

I feel like they are laughing in the face of Fate without even realizing they’re doing so.  How do I teach them the difference between having a lot and having nothing – short of having them experience the latter?  How do you make them sensitive to the suffering of others, without having them suffer themselves?  How do you teach them to appreciate what they have?  That “I’m hungry” is miles apart and worlds away from “I’m starving?”

If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them, and if I come up with anything useful, I’ll let you know.  For now, I will try to encourage them to be happy for what they have…and to say “I’m hungry” when that’s what they mean.

Advertisements