Today I was told that I needed to get a job and not expect the money due me for child support and alimony. Never mind, that I’d pay more in daycare than I’d bring home. I was also told that the times when I get stressed out means I’m not taking care of my children and I’m a bad mother, that someone else would do a better job and that I should send the boys there to be cared for. Now I’m the first to admit I’m far from perfect. I fell apart when my world was shattered and there were days when I didn’t get out of bed. Heck, I still cry pretty regularly. I know I got by with the bare minimum sometimes as long as the kids were fed, clothed, had clean diapers, and went to school, then I considered the day a success.
I’m in no way healed, but the house is kept cleaner than I ever remember my home being and my kids eat better than they ever have. We keep processed food to a minimum and family time to a maximum. Yet, I look at myself in the mirror and run through the list of ifs. A thousand or more ways in which if I had been better our life would still be the way it was before. If I had quit my job the way he wanted, if I had sucked up so his mom liked me more, if we had moved, if I were thinner, if I spent more time cleaning if if if. Deep down I know none of it’s my fault, but you can’t always rationalize that void inside you. So I browbeat myself up enough I don’t really need someone calling and reminding me of my shortcomings.
But it happens and after several hours of self loathing and the encouragement of some good friends I remembered that really even he can’t do what I do everyday. So I thought I’d list it out just to see.
Wake up by 630 only now I don’t get woken by a kiss it’s the shriek of the alarm or the toddler banging on his bedroom door.
Make breakfast, ordinarily there would be pancakes or something on hand to warm up, but we had to make them from scratch. Some mornings I’d like for the boys to just have cold cereal, but we can’t really afford it. And I don’t believe in mixes. They topped their pancakes with homemade syrup with homemade applesauce on the side. Then they downed their homemade kefir smoothies.
The bigs went to school and the littles settled in for stories and play. I think I read a dozen books not including the ones for nap or bedtime. Built and crashed a ton of block towers and raced cars over and over again. I changed over a dozen diapers (over the day) at least 4 of which were pooey.
Nursed the baby at least 8 times today. While he had his first nap I’ll admit I let toddler child watch an episode of the Backyardigans, so I could wind yarn for some longies I’m being commissioned to knit. Oh maybe that could count as the job I’ve been advised to get.
Received nasty phone call.
Prepared lunch, yes it was leftovers, but in my defense the chicken soup and pumpkin dinner rolls had been made from scratch in the few days before. The baby’s lunch was pureed carrots that didn’t come from a jar.
I had washed 2 loads of laundry and we went outside to hang them on the line. Toddler child got to play. Before taking his nap. We made at least 10 different trips to the potty. Training is a joy!
Planned meals for the next week and made a short list of things to pick up at the store. Swept from lunch and cleaned up the dishes and ran the dishwasher. Picked up toys and books in living room.
After nap walked to pick up kidlets from school and stopped at library to exchange books. Supervised after school tasks, homework, etc.
Made dinner, wasn’t feeling particularly motivated and whipped up the standby spaghetti. I will note the sauce was not from a jar. After dinner I get some help. Eldest child does help clean up the dishes though I still wash the pots & pans and midkid will sweep from dinner and wipe the table. The kids got to color while I folded laundry and wrote this blog. In less than an hour I will start the bed time routine. The littles will get baths, teeth brushing and stories and be down by 7:30. The older boys get a little longer and on a day like Friday probably won’t sleep until 9. I will have been ready for bed long before them, but won’t retire till another hour or two later because there are things that just can’t be done with everyone running amok and I still need a little time to myself. I’d love to curl into bed and put my cold feet against his legs and share our day the way we used to. But now a days I guess what I did today is of little import and not at all significant, so I shouldn’t be sad that there’s no one to discuss it with.
On the other hand I bet there are thousands of women a lot like me; who feel belittled over the “simple” task of running a home and caring for their children. And maybe if you write it all out and really think about it it’s really not nothing after all.