I planned on coming on tonight and writing about my worst parenting day since becoming a stay at home mom. A day that actually made me want to get a job, leave my children with sitters, and work 12 hours a day for a boss who is no more mature than my kids. A day that started with temper tantrums and hitting and ended with poop in the panties and my search for rusty nails to gouge my eyes out with. Extreme, I know. But when the highlight of my day is my 1 year old falling off a step stool and smacking her cheek on the side, I feel it has been a stellar day.
It started out rough, got kinda fun and then ended with my begging off date night with my husband just so I did not have to get the kids bathed, or dressed, or packed, or be around them at all. Sad, I know. But the level of chaos that resonated today was so incredibly exhausting I just wanted to take a bath in beer while shooting vodka from a Dora sippy cup.
My husband knows I would never, ever turn down free babysitting and a dinner out with him so he cleverly sensed that I needed something other than my nightly routine. He told me to get a shower, get my purse and get out. I happily obliged! I don’t even think I remember leaving as I was in such dazed oblivion!
I had no plans and about 3 hours to do as I pleased before the predictable “where are you” phone call came! With no money, I was limited but I didn’t care. I.WAS.OUT! Like an escaped convict, I was drunk on my freedom and began to call some friends… or drunk dial them! They were properly envious but all busy.
I called my friend who is watching my future manager of Kentucky Fried Chicken and told her I would bring her a tag for the little pup. She was good with that and even better with meeting me out for dinner! I was thrilled! I love this girl! I have known her about 8 years and she knew me before my husband, kids and myriad of dogs. She keeps it real and I love that!
I am thrilled to go meet her for some good old Texas Bar-B-Q. After stuffing myself happy and topping it off with German Chocolate cake, we headed to her house so I could see how my little Bud was doing. As I pass the familiar landmarks that used to pave my way home – we were neighbors – I can’t help but think how simple life used to be.
Before the husband, before the additional dogs, before the kids. When I got up in the morning, never sleeping past my alarm – well… unless I hit happy hour the night before but that was rare… kinda rare… not rare at all but who can remember all the details?
I would go to work, complain about my boss, my clients and my co- workers, and then head home. Sure, it was a long, difficult day, but it ended. I could leave most nights and head to the bar and not have to give it another thought. I could focus on me and my needs. And how I never had a boyfriend and had awful dates and was never going to find the “one”.
As we pull into my old neighborhood and I park my car in the driveway that used to be next to mine, I look over at my landscaping that the new owner’s have let overgrow, notice that they are not as concerned with yearly trimming of the large oak tree in front and wonder if they still have my beautiful yellow guest room that I loved so much. I doubt it. They have kids. It is probably a Toy Story or Princess bedroom by now.
I stand for just a second and wonder what it would have been like if my husband and I had never moved from that house. I wonder if our lives would have taken a different path. A more logical path. Before I can get too imaginative, I remember my poultry expert is waiting on his mom of 7 years to come scratch his ears and make him feel less abandoned.
I will say, he properly greets me but even I can tell he likes it here better. He is truly the center of attention and is as spoiled as all dogs dream of being. In just two days, he has learned that this foster mommy gives hugs on demand, belly rubs for fun and treats for being cute. After getting his rub down from me, he grabs his new bone and heads to the clean, warm doggy bed to relax.
It made me a sad to see him so content. He doesn’t have any kids tugging on his ears, another dog jumping on him and stealing his bone and a parent telling him to get off the couch and go outside. I feel emotionally happy for him because I know when and if he comes back, he won’t have it as good.
I look around my friends house and note how incredibly clean and beautifully decorated it is. Nothing is out of place and there is the smell of freshness and constant care permeating the air. When I open the trash can, there are no odors of dirty diapers and uneaten food, no need to take it out for the 3rd time that day. There are no piled clothes to be folded on her couch, no milk spill stains on her tile and no popcorn remnants stuck to her carpet.
As I watch her cut up remnants of her sliced beef sandwich for Bud, I tell her that I want to come back as her dog in my next life. I wonder when the last time I even had time to think to bring leftovers to my dogs was.
I tell her I miss when things were simple in my life. She tells me she misses when her son was little. I guess it is all relative.
But I do tell her that I feel like my life is a chaotic mess with no end in sight. That I can’t seem to get it under control. Give it some sort of reason and purpose. That I envy her calm, quiet, organized life. She tells me it wasn’t always this way. I tell her I know. But I don’t. I feel like I am handing everyone a short stick because I can’t find time to look for longer ones among the mess.
I realized that this may be the root of my problem today. That my husband and I have created such a mass chaotic circus by having the children so close together, taking on 3 dogs and moving into a house that needs renovating all at the same time. We have too much going on. And not enough of us to go around.
As I say my good bye’s to my wonderful friend and my dog who is secretly plotting to be cuter than he has ever been in order to stay with super puppy mom – who can blame him, really – I feel tears well up. It is not that I don’t want to go home. I do. But I yearn for a life that includes time to love each of my family. Time to hold them until they don’t want to be held anymore. Time to listen to their stories the whole way through. Time to cement memories of pretend play and silly outfits in my brain so that when I look back on pictures, I can see the moment and not just the date on the back.
But I have to be honest with myself… that reality is probably a dream all in itself. Because the truth of the matter is, we do have a crazy household. An unorganized, messy, stressful, high- maintenance, difficult household. One that exhausts and thrills us, demands and entertains us. One that, given the choice, we would not change a detail of.
So as I drive home, knowing that at least one child will be up, I think of the day I have had. I allow my overtired tears to cleanse my doubts. Somehow, after my acceptance of those things I can’t change – and don’t really want to – the stress and pressure of dealing with the demands of Motherhood have dissapated and left only the smiles, laughter and voices of those I love. Because even though I may never have a clean house, a calm hour, much less a day, or a clue in the world of how to deal with it all, I have a family.
And on my three hour tour through a plethera of emotions, I have landed where I started.