If Hot Firefighter Husband had called from work the other day and asked, “What’re you up to?” I would have said, “Well, I’m rewashing the dishes you stacked in the dishwasher without rinsing last night and which are subsequently caked with very clean rock-hard particles of food.”
But he didn’t call, probably because he was out washing the fire truck or taking somebody’s pulse, and I’m glad, because I hate being snarky so early in the morning, though frankly it’s just one of my many unattractive personality traits.
When I finished scraping, I picked up all the canned goods that the Tyrant had scattered around the kitchen in order to play some version of “food pantry.” By that time she was busy drawing a picture of a skeleton while singing her new favorite song, which goes like this: McDonald’s is your kind of place, one nation, under God, liberty, jussis frall. French fry store.
The Pterodactyl, meanwhile, was using Scotch tape to piece together four straws. It was an experiment. There was spillage of orange juice.
Later that day I tackled the Diva’s room. She had artfully arranged her comforter to resemble a made bed. When I lifted the comforter, the illusion shattered and I remembered that my daughter lives like a refugee. She stores things in her bed like it’s a cave: iPod, pretzels, dolls, diary, markers, pens, Starburst wrappers, school work, a piece of string, one of my tank tops she says is “very special to me.” She would make an excellent hobo, as long as she could watch American Idol every week.
I work very hard at this domestic goddess thing. I’m not particularly good at it. I have a set of Basic Minimum Standards that includes a clean kitchen, clean clothes for the children, and always having milk, coffee and toilet paper in the house. That’s it. Oh, and making sure I’ve picked up all the dog crap in the yard so Damn Gem doesn’t snack between meals.
Even though most of my house looks like it’s been burglarized, I’m still trying to make it look like a Pottery Barn catalog. I stay up till midnight folding clothes; I load the toy chest with every errant article I find on the floor, whether it’s an empty Pringles can or last week’s New Yorker. For a while I felt like Sisyphus, rolling the rock up the mountain each day only to have it roll back down again. But now I think I’m Prometheus, having my liver pecked out by birds every day only to have it grow back every night so it can be pecked out again.
Maybe my liver feels pecked because of the wine. But actually I’ve cut way back on drinking alone because it makes me cranky and unable to tolerate my son’s insistence that I carry him to bed like a “little tiny zero baby” every night.
Anyway, if you’re a Stay At Home Mom, I want you to know that I FEEL YOUR PAIN, and even though we are – repeat it with me, c’mon – so lucky to be able to stay home with our kids (you can roll your eyes here if you want) – it’s still a job and it’s exhausting.
If you’re a Mom Who Works Outside the Home or someone with no vested interest whatsoever in this topic, just know that even though I occasionally recount iCarly scenes during adult conversation doesn’t mean I’m not using my brain. Believe me, it takes brains to remember at 9:30 pm that you forgot to buy 100 Sweet Tarts for your daughter’s 100 Days of School party the next day, or to zero in on exactly which of the five laundry baskets hides the karate uniform.
And by the way, as proof of how hard I work, before I began writing this at FIVE IN THE MORNING I googled “symptoms of walking pneumonia” partly because I’m a hypochondriac and partly because I think I’ve got symptoms of walking pneumonia, which I won’t mention to Hot Firefighter Husband because he’ll tell me to go see a doctor when what he really means is, “Stop working out, you idiot,” and that’s just not going to happen because when you have forgotten every single thing you learned in college and you spend your days trying to find the source of the insidious smell wafting out of the Motorized Landfill, you want to be able to at least look at yourself in the mirror and say, “Damn! I’ve got some nice abs.”
This would be a perfect segue into a Workout Wednesday, wouldn’t it? But I’m not going to give you one because my trainer Son of Sam has been trying to kill me lately, so I’m feeling sensitive. Yesterday we did push-ups with my feet up on a bleacher and my hands on a medicine ball followed by jump lunges across the gym, wall-sits and sprints. Several sets. It wasn’t so much pain in any given area as it was a complete breakdown of the central nervous system. So instead, I’m going to assign you to read www.sahmmy.com, an online magazine featuring me, Tricia Booker, and a few other voices of motherhood/fatherhood angst. Laugh really hard, and consider it your workout for the day.