It occurred to me recently that being a mom—particularly a stay-at-home, work-from-home mom—often makes me feel like that rascally rodent from Laura Joffe Numeroff’s “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”.
I take a break from writing to get myself a cup of coffee and use the bathroom, but before I can even attempt to empty my bladder I notice the cat litter is in need of some attention. So, of course, I scoop it, and then realize I’ve made a mess on the floor.
I open the closet to get the broom, and fume over the fact that whoever folded the sheets last time (probably me!) simply balled up all the fitted ones and stuffed them onto the shelf. Once they’ve been properly sorted, I remember it’s been a week already and I shouldn’t have bothered folding all of them in the first place.
I race around the house, change all the beds, and return to the bathroom to throw the dirty sheets down the laundry chute—only to realize there’s still cat litter on the floor and I’m about to pee my pants. Oh, and the coffee shut off 45 minutes ago.
On these days, I realize that being a mom—whether you’re also a writer, a nurse, or a Starbucks barista—means accepting more than a few frustrations as part of our everyday lives. We do the things that our kids and our partners don’t even know we do, but would certainly notice if we didn’t.
I also realize, when things get so hectic I want to scream and hop a red-eye to somewhere with palm trees, that it’s one of the best parts of being a mom (or any variation of primary caretaker).
I could choose to beat the people in my life over the head with all the tasks I complete in a day. Or, I could keep my little secret, and know that one day I’ll get a phone call.
I’m guessing it will be from my youngest, most docile child, but in my dreams it’s my oldest–the more, shall we say, challenging–one. His wife is away, and he’s been left with the kids, and he’s finally (finally!) figured out how lucky he was to have me.
Until then, I find my own ways to de-stress. I play video games on the Xbox while nobody is home. I listen to loud music while I clean, and sing at the top of my lungs. I take a glass of wine (that’s not quite as cheap as I made it out to be) into the bathtub and settle under a cloud of essential oil with a good novel (or a trashy magazine). And I try to write books that I hope will wind up in the tubs of all my comrades out there.
Here’s hoping we all get that magical call one day.
<3 Erin Lynn