No More Oatmeal Kisses

I have several Erma Bombeck books and frequently reread them for a good chuckle. You can get them used on Amazon for a few dollars. She wrote this in her column on January 29, 1969.

A young mother writes: “I know you’ve written before about the empty-nest syndrome, that lonely period after the children are grown and gone. Right now I’m up to my eyeballs in laundry and muddy boots. The baby is teething; the boys are fighting. My husband just called and said to eat without him, and I fell off my diet. Lay it on me again, will you?”

OK. One of these days, you’ll shout, “Why don’t you kids grow up and act your age!” And they will. Or, “You guys get outside and find yourselves something to do . . . and don’t slam the door!” And they won’t.

You’ll straighten up the boys’ bedroom neat and tidy: bumper stickers discarded, bedspread tucked and smooth, toys displayed on the shelves. Hangers in the closet. Animals caged. And you’ll say out loud, “Now I want it to stay this way.” And it will.

You’ll prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasn’t been picked to death and a cake with no finger traces in the icing, and you’ll say, “Now, there’s a meal for company.” And you’ll eat it alone.

A Mother´s Kiss  [123/365]You’ll say, “I want complete privacy on the phone. No dancing around. No demolition crews. Silence! Do you hear?” And you’ll have it.

No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti. No more bedspreads to protect the sofa from damp bottoms. No more gates to stumble over at the top of the basement steps. No more clothespins under the sofa. No more playpens to arrange a room around.

No more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent. No more sand on the sheets or Popeye movies in the bathroom. No more iron-on patches, rubber bands for ponytails, tight boots or wet knotted shoestrings.

Imagine. A lipstick with a point on it. No baby-sitter for New Year’s Eve. Washing only once a week. Seeing a steak that isn’t ground. Having your teeth cleaned without a baby on your lap.
No PTA meetings. No car pools. No blaring radios. No one washing her hair at 11 o’clock at night. Having your own roll of Scotch tape.

Think about it. No more Christmas presents out of toothpicks and library paste. No more sloppy oatmeal kisses. No more tooth fairy. No giggles in the dark. No knees to heal, no responsibility.

Only a voice crying, “Why don’t you grow up?” and the silence echoing, “I did.”

Oh my God I look Cute!!

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About the Author

Homeschool mom to 11, Marmee to 14 and author.

Comments (23)

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  1. [...] This brought tears to my eyes because today has been  “one of those days” and it isn’t even 11:30 yet.  And instead of a 2 year old  dressing up in her daddy’s t-shirt it is a nearly 11 year old dressing up to go to the store and unable to find exactly what she is looking for, and instead of a 4 year old with peanut butter and honey in her hair it is a 9 year old refusing to shower and comb her very long hair but insisting she wants it long and then coming down with her freshly washed hair in jeans and a t-shirt and boots and looking way too old, and instead of my baby boy climbing into the dishwasher in order to “help” it is a very grown up 7 year old, 9 year old, and 11 year old doing their chores without a word from me.  And here I am angry because they have been begging for a “day at the library” and are fussing because I have to include a trip to the store and to the bank with it and they don’t want to go.  Once upon a time  I HAD to take them with me and bundle them all up against the snow, put them in and out of car seats, and chase them around the stores (unless I buckled them all in the buggy some how), and now this.  It made me realize that a lot of my upset at how things were going today was not so much what they were doing but how grown up they are being. [...]

  2. Heather says:

    Ah, well timed and much needed. It prompted a very long comment which I then posted on my site instead.

  3. Gosh, I needed this today – I remember reading this letter from Erma in my own mother’s scrap book – I’m printing it out and posting it on my fridge. It’s still relevant today. :)

  4. smmrtym says:

    Wow, this is profound! I’m reading this as my three little boys are running through my bedroom and bathroom playing Star Wars as loud as they can. I can hardly concentrate for their “noise” is overshadowing my own voice trying to read silently. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thank you for this. I needed it too.

  5. [...] you have or haven’t, you must go here and read Robin’s post on No More Oatmeal Kisses.  It will quicken you to redeem the time.  [...]

  6. [...] Heart at Home: No More Oatmeal Kisses [...]

  7. No More Oatmeal Kisses ~ Erma Bombeck A super mommy pick-me-up. http://budurl.com/Okisses

  8. Laura Y. says:

    You’re NOT supposed 2 CRY when watching hockey. Oops! Read this on commercial RT @heartofwisdom From Erma Bombeck http://budurl.com/Okisses

  9. I miss Erma Bombeck’s wisdom– A super mommy pick-me-up. http://budurl.com/Okisses (per @heartofwisdom)

  10. wandasanchez says:

    RT@heartofwisdomNo More Oatmeal Kisses ~ Erma Bombeck A super mommy pick-me-up. http://budurl.com/Okisses

  11. Laura Y. says:

    @faithfullmom You’re welcome. Given Erma Bombeck’s humor I was expecting funny, but it was really touching | #moms http://budurl.com/Okisses

  12. No More Oatmeal Kisses ~ Erma Bombeck A super mom pick me up. http://budurl.com/Okisses

  13. vaporizers says:

    yeah, what she wrote were all true. Its really hard for us mother to think of that. Soon our children will have their own family too and we would be left alone. If you have to think and realize about it you will find out that its painful, sad being live alone when your kids come up on that stage ofhaving their own family.

  14. Chelsea says:

    Thank you for such a beautiful reminder to truly enjoy the blessing that is my 5 wonderful kids. Sometimes we get so caught up in the chaos, that we lose sight of the awesome blessings. I loved reading this! I shared it with my friends on FB! Thank you, thank you! ;)

  15. Grab Kleenex first! RT @heartofwisdom: No More Oatmeal Kisses ~ Erma Bombeck A super mom pick me up. http://budurl.com/Okisses

  16. No More Oatmeal Kisses ~ Erma Bombeck A super mom pick me up. http://budurl.com/Okisses (RT@heartofwisdom)

  17. Mary says:

    I have just finished reading “Forever Erma” and this column “No More Oatmeal Cookies Kisses” was referred to in the book. I am so glad that you have made this available to me. Erma Bombeck was a remarkable woman and helped many mothers cope through great and small issues in their lives. This book also includes tributes to Erma after her untimely death which will definitely bring tears to your eyes, especially the tribute written by Erma’s husband, Bill.

    Again, thanks for providing me with an opportunity to read this column again.


  18. greasytators says:

    No More Oatmeal Kisses http://bit.ly/1tbdd via @AddToAny brought a tear to my eye.

  19. Good one from archive for young moms. "No More Oatmeal Kisses" Erma Bombeck http://ow.ly/Ra5w

  20. RT @heartofwisdom: Good one from archive for young moms. "No More Oatmeal Kisses" Erma Bombeck http://ow.ly/Ra5w

  21. El LaGrew says:

    RT @heartofwisdom: Good one from archive for young moms. "No More Oatmeal Kisses" Erma Bombeck http://ow.ly/Ra5w

  22. Cariann says:

    Thanks for sharing that… I think we can all use the gentle reminder to savor even the crazy days…

  23. Bonita says:

    I am so happy to hear of a mom having children into there late 40′s or even 50′s
    God is good:))

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