Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

A Real Desperate Housewife

When you're a housewife, most days start the same. You're up early, often before everyone else. Perhaps you take a few precious moments for coffee but most likely, you buzz around filling backpacks and lunchbags, doling out cash for lunch and refereeing random fights. Then, if your children are old enough, they and your husband leave. Perhaps you drive them to school or work, but essentially you're left with you, the pets and the house.

For me, this is the best and the worst time of day. It's when I get my domain back. My office, so to speak. It's the time that I can think about the day ahead and enjoy the peace and quiet. On the downside, it's also when I survey the collateral damage. I go room to room, picking up things that I'm certain don't belong on the floor (soaking wet towels on carpeting) or even in the house (muddy softball cleats.) It's the time when I see clearly how everyone has ignored me. It's a rather humbling experience. Day after day, it demonstrates to me the fact that I have little or no control over my surroundings. On good days, I get a warm, fuzzy feeling as I think about how the clutter is evidence of a happy, healthy family. On bad days...i.e. virtually every day, it reminds me that I'm pretty much wasting my breath barking out instructions to "pick up your room" or "push your clothes down the laundry chute." The only evidence that I'm not invisible is the fact that these messes are miraculously erased while the family is at work and school.

I have no idea if this scenario is normal or common. I only know that it happens time and time again in my house. I assign chores, nag, gently remind, suggest and nothing happens. On television, the children are always setting the table, doing homework in neat bedrooms and drinking milk at dinner. In our house, I'm setting the table, cooking the dinner and cleaning up afterwards because there's always too much homework to help out. The kids can't do homework in their rooms because you can't find two square inches of open space. And, I confess, each child is rotting their teeth away nightly with a can of soda with dinner. Shoot me now.

I ask myself how it got this way. I guess it just evolved. I let things slip and now I live with the consequences. Have I failed as a housewife? I don't think so. It's more like lowering my standards and picking my battles. I also think that turnabout is fair play. I figure this imperfect life I lead is payback for the slob I was as a child. So, it's a pretty good bet that my kids will be lamenting the same thing someday. Ah, the circle of life!


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