I now know why I decided not to return to the world of work once my children were old enough to enter kindergarten—and now, the first grade. It’s so that I would be afforded ample resources (read: voluminous amounts of wine) and time (read: the entire school day) to recharge my batteries, drained as a consequence of Mom Duty. Translation: To reclaim (at least in part) my sanity amidst the swirl of chaos and the din of despair that together govern my household from the moment my wily charges step off the school bus until they return to their educational Mecca via the same yellow beast-of-a-thing, sixteen hours and 13 minutes later.
But who’s counting?
Had I chosen to reenter the private sector back at that critical juncture in time, I doubt said recharging would have ever been possible. Not in the space of a typical workday. Not without Club Med. I’d have been suitably compensated for my vast array of skills and services, however; a notion almost completely foreign to me now. What’s more, I’d have been able to wear something besides slacker sweatpants from morning till night, I’d have been appreciated for my efforts (ostensibly anyway) and I’d have been surrounded by individuals who could very likely tie their own shoes and flush a toilet without prompting. Nevertheless, I made what I believed to be an informed decision, hid all my marbles and moved forward into the next phase of motherhood—never once looking back.
And yet sometimes, I do look back. Moreover, I question the wisdom of that decision. Such was the case a few weeks ago when the afternoon from hell unfolded thusly (with items 2-6 occurring simultaneously):
1) Thing 1 (i.e. inconsolable child) got off the school bus—sporting a monstrous blob of chocolate on her coat (the PASTEL PINK one I had laundered not 24 hours earlier). “Mommy! Mommy! Sadie did it! She squished my Hershey’s Kiss ALL OVER MY GLOVES AND COAT AND DON’T YOU KNOW CHOCOLATE DOESN’T EVER EVER COME OUT?!!” she sobbed into my chest. Thing 2 (i.e. blithesome child) frolicked about the place, seemingly unaffected by the accusations against her. To add to my immeasurable joy, I later learned that her coat was festooned as well with unsightly gobs of chocolate.
2) Despite having spent the previous hour outside (with every possible opportunity to relieve himself!) the dang dog peed a veritable deluge inside, missed a good portion of his puppy pad and the resulting puddle of whiz-a-ma-call-it proceeded to trickle (okay, flow rapidly) underneath said pad where IT COULD NOT BE ABSORBED. It could only be sopped and smeared and sloshed the world over with great masses of paper towels—which were NOT on sale, mind you.
3) After consuming an outrageous portion of fresh grass, our gluttonous cat decided it was time to hurl. Profusely. In the middle of the kitchen floor (not to be confused with the neat little pile of dung he left for me in the corner of the living room earlier in the day). Who knows—maybe he was still somewhat annoyed with me for having ignored his incessant pleas for treats.
4) Thing 2 planted herself at the kitchen table (totally oblivious to the cloud of mayhem that surrounded us) and felt the compelling desire to blow bubbles the size of kumquats in her milk—in abject defiance of my vehement shrieks of protest.
5) Thing 1 demanded something to eat—immediately, or sooner. So I grabbed a hotdog roll and shoved it in the microwave, mindful not to employ the hand with which I had sopped up dog urine and scrubbed the remnants of cat vomit. Heaven forbid I actually take time to clean my hands. The child would surely starve in the interim.
6) The telephone rang. On the line was the (supposedly less needy) teenaged daughter, requesting a crucial bit of advice that only a completely composed parent could deliver. I did not qualify for the job. But I was handy.
I later came to my senses and kicked anyone and everyone under the age of seven outside to play. Unfortunately, the drama refused to dissipate and instead, intensified.
Thing 2’s hair apparently got somewhat twisted (translation: became hopelessly entwined) around “…the scary swing, Mommy!” (So named for its whirling properties). Thing 1 reported the catastrophic event, scoring a 10 for theatrical performance and believability—which led to my donning a coat (the red cape was at the cleaner’s) so that I could trek across the lawn to the place where my screaming child stood, imprisoned by a bit of braided rope. “Mommy! Help! The swing’s got me! I’m stuck! I’m really stuuuuuck!” In sum, it was a 15-minute adventure-in-parenting I’d rather not revisit. Ever.
But tomorrow’s a new day. And with any luck, I’ll be ready for whatever delights the afternoon may hold. Or not.
Planet Mom: It’s where I live (clutching my last marble).
Copyright 2008 Melinda L. Wentzel