Before I had kids, what did I do with all my free time? Seriously. What did I do? Because I can’t remember. It’s all a blur. My brain has rotted. They did this to me.
Seven years and four months ago I became a mom for the first time when Jack was born. He was perfect with one minor exception: he was a horrible baby. I’m not kidding. My husband wanted to bring him back to the hospital the first night because this just couldn’t be right. Holy crap. People were serious when they said life would never be the same. To add insult to injury, just as I was starting to venture out of the house, find my niche in awkward baby music groups and meet like-minded (wine-drinking) mamas, I found out I was pregnant. Who does that???
So 11 months after Jack arrived, our second boy arrived. Our first hadn’t even learned to walk yet. Listen closely, if you like having friends, leaving the house, sleeping, showering, or even smiling, I highly recommend you reconsider this life choice.
It was a dark year after Ben was born. We frequently referred to the boys as the Menendez brothers. People thought it was funny. We didn’t. We honestly thought they had been sent here to destroy us. Morale was very low. But we lived to tell.
I got out of the house. I showered. I made friends. Not only did I smile, sometimes I even laughed. I can’t be sure if it was because things got easier or I was just numb, not unlike a Stockholm syndrome victim. So three years later we had our third kid. Masochists. That’s what we are. And because God could clearly recognize my fragile state, he gave us a girl, Phoebe.
The hours, days, months and years keep marching on. The kids are now 7,6, and 3. Phoebe will start school full time next year. So, naturally, people keep asking what I’m going to do next. Ummmmm…..hold up. Next?
I have been wiping asses, making boo-boos better, tackling a bottomless pit of laundry and trying to raise decent human beings who say, “excuse me” when they fart and burp for over seven years. And, honestly, they only say “excuse me” a fraction of the time, so clearly I need some more time. If you’ve ever seen me in the grocery store with all three children, I think you would agree that I am literally not qualified for anything.
Depressing, isn’t it? At least I used my Masters degree for a little while. I had many wonderful years as a teacher. I was told that I was so lucky because I could apply all my skills to being a great mom. I call bullshit on that one. My kids are not interested in my morning meeting or guided reading skills. They would have been more impressed if I had been a waitress or owned a toy store. That way I would be better qualified to fetch them their snacks and would give them easy access to toys 24/7. I could easily control my 22 students. On a daily basis I got them to line up, walk quietly and we would get to our destination without incident 85% of the time. Sometimes they even learned stuff.
Come to my house around 8:00 am. The seven year old is walking around with a coat on but no shoes. Because putting them in the same spot EVERY SINGLE DAY hasn’t helped my enabled eldest locate them. My six year old is trying to hoard something school-illegal in his backpack with neither shoes NOR a coat on. (I know his shoes aren’t on yet because I can smell his feet from across the room on account of his repulsion for changing his socks on a daily basis.) Lest I forget the three-year-old who is negotiating sandals and a cardigan versus appropriate footwear and outerwear on a 10 degree day, all while stuffing a purse full of pacifiers, lip gloss, and smuggled pinecones.
I’m so blessed to have the background as a teacher so I am aware that yelling doesn’t work. Probably causes more harm than good, right? I know this. That said, remember Linda Blair in The Exorcist? Ya know, the head spin? That’s me….an experienced educator and loving mother. Ape. Shit. And they have the nerve to look surprised EVERY SINGLE DAY. I seriously question their intelligence.
So we all typically shuffle to the car in angry/fearful silence. Then the kids wait to see if normal, only semi-mean mommy as returned from the dark side. And it’s in those brief moments of silence that I realize that this is my reality. This is no fantasy. I’m caught in a landslide with no escape from reality.
Here’s the funny thing. I actually love my new reality. Even when those daily landslides turn into avalanches, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. It’s so twisted.
Ok, that’s not entirely true. Around 5:00 every day I’d rather be on a beach, alone (maybe with my husband, depending on the day) and sipping on a cocktail. Instead, I turn on my music in the kitchen, pour something (ANYTHING!), and get cracking on making the finest mac and cheese Annie’s manufactures with a protein-filled side of Costco (GASP!) chicken nuggets, and some fruit for good measure. If I’m feeling froggy, maybe I’ll even toss a cucumber slice their way.
Same old song and dance, different day.
This is my suburban rhapsody.