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The Sanitation Mom

Can someone explain to me why I am the human trash can in my family? It's not like I've volunteered for the job but somehow, when my kids are finished with their gum, their drinks or their tissues, they don't hold onto their refuse. Oh no. Why do that when you have the Sanitation Mom sitting right in front of you chauffering them around from one activity to another?
Picture the scene. We're running late, as usual and I've given the kids a quick snack so they won't complain that they're famished the minute we hit the open road. Within one minute and forty five seconds one of them has finished their juice box and granola bar and I can feel little fingers tapping me on my shoulder as I'm trying to make a right turn.
"Mommy, here's my garbage, take it."
I don't know when I became the wastebasket but even when my husband is around, they instantly hand me their half eaten snacks so that I can magically make the garbage disappear. And when we're outside of the car, my role as Sanitation Mom kicks in at movie theaters, festivals, museums, the zoo - there is not a place in the tri-state area that I haven't traversed where my kids have used me to get rid of their trash.
Now I know I should just tell them, it's your garbage, you find a place to dispose of it, but frankly it's just easier to take care of the mess rather than let something smelly fester in the back seat of my minivan. And besides, at least I know I'm not alone in my garbage duties. There are other parents who have become voluntary sanitation workers too.
Just yesterday, I was in the supermarket on the check out line while a sweet looking three year old was savoring a piece of mozzarella cheese on a toothpick. As his dad was busy packing up their groceries and paying the cashier, the tyke held out the toothpick motioning to his dad. When his father didn't pay attention to his directive to relieve him of the toothpick, the whining began to commence.
"Daddy....take this away!" he whined. And within one second, the dad grabbed the toothpick and proceeded to drop it on the same conveyer belt where my groceries were about to be deposited. Now that is just plain offensive. If you have accepted the role of Sanitation Mom or Dad it is your obligation to dispose of all waste in a trash receptacle. If you can't live up to the demands of the job, then you must instruct your child that they must hold onto said toothpick until they can find a trash can themselves and drop it where it belongs.
I never realized that there is a code of Sanitation Mom ethics, but there is. Just like the tell-tale phrase, you break it, you pay, the same holds true for garbage. They give you their trash - you throw it out. And if you break the rules, then maybe your kid can take on garbage duty themselves. Dare to dream. Dare to dream.
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Posted in: Blog, Undercover Mom on 12/09/2007

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