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It is probably time for me to face a couple of facts about how Ron and the boys are handling my return to the work force.

I could have faced these same facts a year ago when I actually starting working full-time (outside the home) again, but I kept hoping their attitudes … and behavior … would change.

Now, a year has passed and, more often than not, the Zich men go around hungry until I come home from work to feed them.

Ron and the older two boys are more than able to take care of themselves at mealtime. They just aren’t motivated enough to do so. Their own hunger does not provide enough incentive for them to get up and slap two pieces of bread together with some meat in the middle.

Instead, everyone would prefer to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches made with my two tired hands than to take on kitchen duty.

Making dinner was the last thing on my mind last night when I drove home from an extra-long meeting at work. Instead, I was wondering just how quickly I could slip into bed without being teased for being such an early bird.

Then I walked in the door and there was Glory, practically jumping out of her fur at the sight of me. She gave me such a hearty greeting, complete with tail-wagging and jumping up and down, that I could not resist going into the kitchen to get her a treat.

Our dog could not have done a bigger favor for the boys … Once I was in the kitchen, there was no way I could retrace my steps, pretend I hadn’t seen the stack of dishes in the sink and slip off to bed.

Those hungry boys had me right where they wanted me, in the very room where I could finally make them something for dinner.

I gave Glory her treat and opened the dishwasher; it was half-full of clean dishes. Without even thinking about it, I started to unload the rest and put them away.

“Hey, could you fix me a sandwich while you’re in there?” Jimmy called over his shoulder.

“Yeah, me too,” Ronnie said.

I reminded them that it was almost 9 o’clock and asked if any of them had bothered to eat dinner. Tommy was the only one who had been clever enough to heat up a bowl of noodle soup.

“What would you do if I had to go somewhere overnight?” I asked them, exasperated. “Would you just starve until I came home?”

“Guess so,” Jimmy said. “And could you make that two sandwiches? I’m really hungry now that I think about it!”

At first, I wanted to get mad over the fact that no one was pitching in to do their fair share around the house. But then, I decided to just be thankful it was still standing and there had been no trips to the emergency room in my absence.

Nobody ever said going back to work was going to be easy, did they?

Even before I opened up a second loaf of bread, I had talked myself into viewing their inability to feed themselves as just another way to show me how much they need me at home.

It made a lot more sense than getting all worked up about it because either way, I was still going to be making those sandwiches until all the Zich tummies were full. I might as well do it with a smile on my face.

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has been married to a Marine for 19 years and currently lives in Springfield, Va. You may e-mail her at or visit her Web site at


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