“I want to keep playing in the pool!”
She was standing in her wet bathing suit in the laundry room dripping all over the floor and I was digging in the unfolded laundry wishing I was organized. I needed underwear. Why was there never any clean underwear for me? Piles of clean underwear for my husband my son and even my 3-year old daughter but none for me.
“I just wanted to swim more!” She was working her tearful voice up to a wail and it was grating on my already frayed nerves. Also, she wasn’t swimming, anyhow. It was a plastic kids pool and she could really only splash in it.
“You need a nap,” I told her.
“I don’t need a nap!” she was almost at full wail pitch.
I gave up on the underwear and grabbed a pair of stretchy pants, my normal outfit. I was still sitting with her during naps which meant for almost four years I had been immobile for at least an hour every single day of the week. This was both a blessing and a curse: a blessing because I had an excuse to sit and write blog posts, read a book, or (almost never) take a nap myself. A curse because it often meant dinner was late and laundry was left unfolded and afternoon appointments couldn’t be made or kept.
“I don’t want those!” She yelled and threw the pants I held out to her on the floor.
I handed her a pair of underwear and in five minutes she was sitting on my lap wearing only them and listening to the only thing she’ll listen to when it’s time to sleep, Frank Sinatra’s In The Wee Hours of the Morning, one of the most depressing albums I have ever heard. Based on this album alone the man needed a therapist and one less mistress. I started playing it at nap time over a year ago because I found it soothing and relaxing. I didn’t listen closely to the lyrics until my 11-year old son said one night, “This album is severely depressing and I’m going to need therapy just listening to it. I don’t care if she left him. He can scratch his own back. Suck it up, dude.”
Now after listening to it at least twice a day for seven days a week for over a year I’m concerned my daughter might end up telling her future therapist how I emotionally abused her by repeatedly allowing her to listen to an album where a man crooned : “What good is the scheming, the planning and dreaming that comes with each new love affair. The dreams that we cherish, so often might perish and leaves you with castles in air. When you’re alone, who cares for starlit skies. When you’re alone, the magic moonlight dies. At break of dawn, there is no sunrise. When your lover has gone”
In my defense, I’ve offered her a variety of alternatives, including Dean Martin’s “Sleep Warm” and anything by Diana Krall, who could sing a list of names and still knock me out. She’s rejected them all, stating firmly “I want Frank.” So she gets Frank because I’ll do almost anything for a little break to be able to think about something other than what food might be asked for next that we don’t have or what activity can be attended happening in five minutes more than an hour from our house.
It isn’t that I don’t adore being a stay-at-home mom but after awhile being the personal chef and travel planner for the human beings I birthed from my body grates on me like Cyndi Lauper’s voice. I would add personal maid to that list but I’m a horrible housekeeper. My husband is the housekeeper and he sees a puppy pee puddle from six feet away while I could walk right by it and never know it was there because my mind is contemplating dinner, the curriculum for my son’s upcoming year of homeschooling, my next blog post, that rash on my daughter’s arm, my parents health, the state of politics in our nation today and the meaning of life – all at the same time.
I don’t do simple and I don’t think simple either. I wish I didn’t have the brain the speed of The Flash chasing down The Reverse Flash in the Speed Force but I do and I may need the Black Flash to slow me down up there a little. If you aren’t grasping these comic book laced references, I apologize. I live in a house that runs on the creative power of Marvel and DC (though mainly Marvel). If the reference to Marvel and DC threw you for a loop too then you’ll have to make Google your friend.
Working from home with a husband that works two jobs and two fairly dependent children is almost impossible but not completely impossible. Blog posts are written in small blocks of time carved out while someone is sleeping or watching a cartoon or when the bathroom door is locked with a tiny little creature on the other side insisting she HAS TO PEE RIGHT NOW!!! even though there is another bathroom upstairs.
Photos are edited in between getting up and down to start or finish dinner or get someone (who is old enough to feed themselves already! Good grief! ) a drink, a snack, or a towel to wipe off the water their sister just spilled on them again. Pitches for stories are sent on a whim the moment the kids wake up and stagger down the stairs to look for daddy and ask to be fed while eyes are still trying to come unglued and brains woke up.
When I worked full time at the newspaper and then came home to take care of our son I thought that was tough and longed for the relaxing days where I could stay-at-home and set my own schedule. Then I got there, or here, just where I wanted to be and I realized that being a parent is difficult whether you’re working outside the home or in it.
When you are a parent, more days than not you are going to find yourself without any clean underwear.
You’re going to be asked questions you don’t have the answer to. You’re going to wonder why you know so much about Comic Books and so little about make-up. You’re going to wonder why your daily outfit usually consists of some sort of soft pants a t-shirt with a juice stain in the middle of it. You’re going to wonder why your 3-year old loves a depressing Frank Sinatra album so much.
And if you are very lucky, you’re also going to wonder how your mind hasn’t completely melted within your head from the overload of love you have for your life, even when it isn’t as glamorous as you once imagined it would be.
If you’re very, very lucky you’ll also find a pair of clean underwear.