In the Interest of Full Disclosure
I’ve been told that sometimes it seems like everything is sunshine and rainbows in my life, by what I post here on ye ole blog. I think I’ve posted some pretty big downers from time to time, but I suppose I do try to avoid the real nitty gritty in an effort not to run everyone off with my whining. And of course there is plenty that I can’t share because it would compromise the privacy of my personal relationships. But I can assure you, if you were ever in doubt, that it is NOT always sunshine and rainbows around my house. In fact, there is often a big, dark, grumpy cloud hanging over our roof — namely me.
Yesterday, for instance, motherhood kicked my butt. I looked about like this at the end of the day, except without the makeup and the perfectly tousled hair.
It should have been a good day. I had all three of my chilluns in school for over two hours. I had an exciting opportunity come thru my email (more about that in a few weeks). I had a productive day in terms of design work. And yet…
I couldn’t get my act together. The outstanding amount of laundry and housework that glared at me on all sides seemed insurmountable, so I holed up in my office, climbing over an assortment of toys and clothes to get to my computer, and worked until it was time to get the kids from school.
The minute I had both girls in the car, the bickering ensued. My kindergartner proudly showed me a piece of artwork she had begun in school, but it wasn’t complete so I informed her that she could finish it at home. That thoughtless declaration resulted in a trip to Staples in my unshowered, sweatpants-clad state because of course we didn’t have the necessary supplies, and believe it or not I was TRYING to be a “good mom.” So I skulked through the store, hoping I wouldn’t see anyone I knew, as we collected a year’s worth of art supplies in our basket.
When we arrived home, the housework, surprisingly, hadn’t disappeared. To make matters worse, the girls alternated between squabbling with each other and making their lunch requests as they broke into the art supplies and proceeded to create their masterpieces. Of course, this required me to unscrew, unplug, and unearth all manner of glue and glitter and ink devices. Soon the clutter and dirty dishes that beckoned were compounded by remnants of abandoned art projects.
Yes, I know I should have made them clean up. I know I should have started plugging away at the chores that had my name on them. I realize that I could have made my life a lot easier by simply diving in and doing the next thing. But that’s not what I do when I’m overwhelmed. No, that would be far too productive. I prefer the more inefficient procrastination method.
I didn’t get a shower until 5PM, and then it was only the trip to the dentist that inspired me. Otherwise my husband would have returned home to a wife with a bare face and day-old hair (or was it two-day-old hair?) Which really, would be nothing new to him, the poor guy. Because in all honesty, days like yesterday are not that unusual around here. Oh I’m a prize, yes I am.
In fact, after one such day a few weeks ago, I said to my husband in a fit of frustration, “I don’t want to be a stay at home mom anymore!”
He looked at my quizzically and said as only a guy could, “You mean you want to go back to teaching?”
I had to laugh. Hasn’t he learned by now that there is rarely such a rational progression of thoughts in my head?
“No!” I exclaimed in exasperation. “I want to sit at my computer and design blogs and put the kids in daycare!”
“Mmmm,” I believe was his response as light dawned and he realized I was just making one of those crazy statements women make when they need to vent and have no plans to follow through on their declarations.
And at that point, he probably did what he did yesterday when he arrived home and found his kids bickering and his house turned inside out and his frazzled wife at the stove, elbow-deep in salmon marinade. It’s what guys do best, after all — fix things.
When we were engaged, we read the book called Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus (a good read, by the way) and there was a part of the book that explained that men will always handle a stressful situation by trying to fix it, while women will handle a stressful situation by venting about it. His point was that sometimes a woman just wants her husband to listen to her vent without offering a solution to fix things. And while that is a good piece of information to keep tucked away for future use, in this instance, the male inclination to fix things is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Soon the kids were picking up their toys, the bickering turned to cheerful banter, and the next thing I knew the phone rang with the welcome news about my dental appointment being cancelled. And the rest, as they say, is history.
I wish I could say that today was better, and it was — by a smidgen. Let’s put it this way, I am counting down the minutes until I can put the kids to bed, pour a glass of wine, and fire up my laptop for another American Idol recap.
I’m not writing this because I want sympathy. There are people who have REAL problems, and I’m not one of them. But if you’re sitting out there, and you’ve had a bad day or a bad week for no specific reason other than life is kicking your butt, well, you’re not alone.