Thursday, May 22, 2008

The reality of this job

I read a blog today written by a good friend of mine. It was such a good blog that I now feel the need to pass it on to the rest of my friends. AnnaMarie is one of the most amazing women I know. She is Superwoman! Anyway, below is her blog, and though it is long it is well worth reading. If you don't feel the need to read the whole thing, just skip down to the BOLD part. Thats the part that really brings this blog home for me!

The reality of this job

About a month ago, my husband and I were out on date night. At that point I was about 7 months pregnant. He started telling me about his friend, a guy that he works with, and a conversation they had.

This friend had recently been teasing Dan about this "unplanned" baby and going to have 4 kids.Well, soon after, he found out his wife was unexpectedly pregnant with baby 4 :)

Fast forward the the conversation he was telling me about...He said he had come home, and his wife (keep in mind she is in the middle of that first trimester, sick and crazy tired stage) had left the house a mess. Things were everywhere. The counters were sticky. His daughter was wearing his sons clothes and it looked like nothing had been done all day. As my husband is telling me this, I know in my mind there have been days like that around here, and I am feeling for his wife. Well, his friend proceeds to tell him how angry he was. He says he got the kids together and spent the next 45 minutes cleaning it all up. By then he was so mad that he left and went for a drive, and wouldn't answer his wife's calls when she tried to reach him. He went on about how he KNOWS a woman should be able to keep an impeccable house at all times, he has a friend whose wife does it. He knows it is possible. It's her job. And on and on and on.

As my husband is telling me this, my blood is literally boiling! I know that whatever he spent those 45 minutes doing with the kids, she had likely done 15 times already that day, and he just so happened to walk in the house at the wrong moment. When you have 3 little kids, your house goes from clean to messy, back to clean, about 50 times throughout a day. His wife had said those same things, and he was just sure she was making excuses, that being a mom is NOT THAT HARD!

It still makes me mad thinking about the whole thing because each day, I find myself in some situation where I think, "Didnt I just do this? Didnt I just clean this up? Didnt I just tell them not to _____?" It's part of being a mom.

I'm totally at the nesting phase, and over the last few days, I have spent hour after hour, reorganizing and cleaning. Yesterday, the tiredness finally hit me after several days in a row of hard, physical work I shouldnt have been doing. I planned to take it a bit easy. I took the kids to Subway so that I wouldnt have to cook. I put them at the table to eat and I laid down for a moment. A few minutes later, Savanah came in and said she dropped her sandwich on the carpet and some mustard got on the floor. I used every cleaner I could think of and it didnt budge. There is now a nice yellow stain on the dining room carpet.

Not 5 minutes later, Mason came in and said he accidentally spilled the entire thing of strawberry milk on the carpet. He tried to clean it up, in his best 8 year old boy way, and I went out to help him out. I was able to get most of the pink out, but still, if you look closely enough, my dining room now also has a huge pink stain, not just a small yellow one.

An hour or so later, I was walking through the living room and stepped in something wet. I asked what the spot was, and the kids said they spilled milk. So I scrubbed that as well (this spot was maybe 2 feet from the others).

And just before bed, I walked into the kitchen and stuck to the floor. What was it this time? Grape soda.

So this morning I get up and Im ready to get back to nesting. I didnt get much done yesterday (I mean, I didnt make much progress since I was treading water all day). I notice first thing that the last spot on the floor still has an off color, so I scub that one again. And the other small ones on the living room floor that I had not known were there. Then I went about my cleaning/organzing/moving furniture madness.

As I am going through some of my piano music to put it away, I pull on one piece of music that is sitting on the piano and it is stuck, melted, if you will, to the piano. Someone has spilled something on my prized piano, not told me, and let the music sit in that wetness. No big deal that the music is now missing the last few measures, but the piano, that one Im not happy about. I have to try and get it off without using a harsh enough cleaner to damage the finish.

While Im doing that, I see there is another dark, large spot on the carpet that wasn't there before, so I let that soak in some cleaner while I figure out the piano issue.

That's it right? Well, I think in the last 24 hours, those are the only real things that happened, in addition to the usual cleaning, picking up, cleaning again, picking up again, washing dishes, cleaning them up etc, that is part of our every day.

I love being a mom and truth be told, I dont even mind the cleaning. Sometimes I enjoy it. It's a great stress reliever for me. I absolutely think that part of my job as a stay at home mom is to keep a clean, organized house for my children and my husband.

But let's be realistic here. It's not as easy it appears. If you come home and it looks exactly the same as it did when you left, it's not because nothing was done, it's because your wife worked hard enough to get it back to where it was in the first place :) The dishes didnt stay clean. Breakfast and lunch didnt clean up themselves. Your children did not maintain themselves all day long, getting themselves dressed, doing their chores without supervision, not getting into any trouble. What you see is not necessarily any reflection of what has actually gotten accomplished that day. While I clean, it's not what I am. What I am is a mother and that entails so much more than being just a housekeeper. The way my children turn out comes down to more than how things looked at 5:30 pm, and those things are not only time consuming, but absolutely imperative in the lives of my children.

Today I hugged.

Today I gave and got kisses.

Today I did someone's hair and painted someone's nails.

Today I read a book.

Today I held a child on my lap.

Today I tickled a giggly toddler.

Today I taught someone how to do something new.

Today I kept my cool when I wanted to scream.

Today I told them "it was okay" when inside I was frustrated.

Today I am taking them somewhere they have never been, to learn about something new.

Today, my children will know that nothing is more important to me than they are. They will know that my favorite hobby in life is being mommy. And they will know I love them when they are good, when they are bad, and when they dont listen to anything I say.

Today I will be a mother and I will be proud of that.

And that's the reality of this job.

And how do YOU feel about this?


Ben and Heidi said...

This is all so true and it makes me want to be even more of a good mom to my girls. And leave the not so important things for later. Thanks for this post