Meet Akalam Tnarg, My Kids’ “Other” Mother

Sometimes I wonder if my kids know how good they’ve got it.

At least four times a day, I ask one of them to pick up a toy or wipe up a spill that threatens to cripple a member of our household if it is removed from its precarious position.

“But I didn’t do it!” is almost always the answer I receive in objection to my banal request.

These objections generally end with my cleaning up the offending debris and saving my family from certain harm. Sometimes it’s just easier to clean up the mess than to argue with kindergarteners. But the other night, after hearing “I didn’t do it” and “I didn’t make that mess” more than I cared to, I finally snapped.

“You guys never want to help around here because you ‘didn’t do it’,” I raged. “Do you know what your lives would be like if I lived MY LIFE by that motto? Huh? Do you?!?! Let me tell you how different your days would be…”

***Lights fading out****

It’s Monday morning and I’ve been asleep for 12 hours. I went to bed at 7 o’clock the night before, because I didn’t have to make dinner. I wasn’t hungry, so I didn’t cook. As I stretch lazily, my bedraggled children knock meekly at my door.

“Mommy, can we come in please?”

“What do you need in my room at this hour?”

“We don’t have any toothpaste in our bathroom…can we use yours?”

I balk at this request.

“Why would you want to use MY toothpaste? Didn’t you go to store and buy your own?”

“Mom!” they wail behind my locked door. “We’re only 5 and 7 years old. We can’t drive!”

“Sounds like a personal problem to me,” I retort. I then get up to brush my teeth with MY tooth paste purchased with MY money. 10 minutes later, I see my children sitting naked at the dinner table.

“Why don’t you guys have your uniforms on?”

“Because they’re dirty. You didn’t wash them,” my 5 year old says forlornly.

“Oh? Did I wear your uniforms?”


“Did I make them dirty?” I press, pouring myself a cup of coffee.


“Then why would I wash them?”

The girls are stunned, shivering in the early morning winter chill. I advise them to go and get their uniforms out of the dirty clothes basket if they want something to wear that day. Aya is particularly alarmed at this suggestion, given her penchant for dripping spaghetti sauce on the front of all her clothes.

“But Mooommeeee! It’s not clean!”

“Well I guess you should have thought of that last night when you were busy playing with your toys,” I say simply. “Shoulda been bustin’ some suds.”

When the girls have set off for school, I settle in to spend the morning watching Maury, Jerry and Judge Anybody. A short while later, Stone approaches me.

“Mommy, I poo-poo,” he announces.

“Stone, Mommy doesn’t care.”

He looks at me quizzically. At 2 years old, his expectation is that I would immediately hop up from my perch to either shepherd him into the bathroom to prevent a nappy tragedy, or clean up the massacre that has taken place in his short already. I am willing to perform neither task. I didn’t take a dump on myself – HE did.

“Mommy!” he repeats. “I poo-poo!”

I ignore him and continue sipping my coffee.

6 hours later I leave to pick up the girls…and only because US law mandates that I do. I can’t have them walking the 3 mile distance from the bus stop to our home because it’s against federal regulations. When they get into the car, they immediately gag. They have been assaulted by the scent of compacted,  day-old feces.

“Mommy! Stone stinks!” Nadjah objects.

“Yeah, I know,” I agree. “Someone should really do something about that.”

I drive home and get out of the car. The only reason I unstrap the babies from their car seats is because society has this “thing” about leaving defenseless children locked up and unattended in a vehicle. Once they get in the house, they’re on their own.

“Mommy,” Nadjah and Aya ask timidly. “Can we have a snack?”

“Sure!” I say brightly. “If you can reach it. There should be some up in the cabinet.”

I wave in the general direction of where the food might be, and bite into a sandwich that I’ve prepared for my own lunch.

“Could we have a bite?”

I shake my head.

“No, no, no,” I say sorrowfully. “You didn’t make this sandwich. You can’t have any.”

By the time my husband gets home, the house is a wreck as the children have made several futile attempts at doing their own laundry, preparing their own snacks and wiping their young brother’s filthy bottom. There is poop everywhere.

“Babe!” he calls. “Where are you?”

“I’m in my room!” I call back. “Really busy right now. Reading a book.”

He seems stunned by my nonchalant reply.

“Well do you think you could come down here and help me clean up?”

He has some gall. Asking me to clean up a mess I didn’t create?

“No! I can’t. I didn’t do it babe. You and the kids are on your own.”

Finally, night falls and I thank my good Lord above that I’ve had yet another stress free day. Having children is incredibly easy, particularly when you play their games using their rules. I wonder if other moms have it this good. I close my eyes in anticipation of what the next day’s joys will bring.


****Lights getting brighter****


But my name is Malaka Grant…not Akalam Tnarg, and I’m not starring in the movie “Precious”. In the real world, I shuck, jive and jig for my kids.