So today I was cleaning, moaning and groaning and whining about it the whole time, as per usual honestly. My oldest son, Thane, happened to be my unfortunate audience, attempting to catch some quality Wile E. and Roadrunner action in between mommy's bellyaching. As I'm consolidating clothes into a hamper from the hallway floor (cursing in my head as to why the clothes don't make it into the hamper before I come to collect them for laundry) I catch Thane drop his pear core to the floor, not moving from his horizontal position on the couch.
"Are you serious?!!", I screech, which I'm sure is my families favorite tone of voice, otherwise why would they make me use it so much? Then I launch into 'mini-lecture' mode. If you're a fan of Barbara Coloroso you'll know what this is; slamming your kid with redundant info they are already well-aware of. Unfortunately I haven't finished the book yet, so while familiar with the definition of the mini-lecture, I haven't yet been acquainted with the cure. This particular mini-lecture went something like this:
"At least put your garbage in your bowl! The floor of this house is not your garbage can."
Then I got really spectacular, "Do you know this is NOT mommy's dream job?" Seriously? I just said that?
Then, since I apparently felt the need to explain this statement to my 6 year-old, I went on.
"I did not grow up dreaming of becoming a maid to two little boys someday!! I am your MOTHER, I am for teaching you and loving you, I AM NOT YOUR MAID!!!" Oh yes, I went there.
Then Thane, without budging from his vegetative couch-post, with all the care of an old man who would like this raging lunatic to be quiet so he could please hear his show, looks slowly sideways at me (I'm pretty sure one eye was still on the show), and says, "Then you better figure out how to make it your dream job mommy".
I was floored to the point of not saying anything at all.
If he had been a grown man, he would have been lynched for such a comment. As it was though, coming from a 6 year old, all of his laziness and sauciness of the moment aside, he seemed quite ... right.
I bitch and moan every day about cleaning. Ask me what I miss the most about working full-time? My cleaning lady. Hands-down. Unfortunately for me, the financial transition from 9-5 to stay-at-home mom involved that sacrifice. But the truth of my reality is that I do want to be home with these messy little people, and often feel quite lucky for the chance to do so.
I can't remember the details of who, but at one point while listening to me rant my sister told me about a people (I'm thinking Buddhist monks or a sect of nuns?) who revel in the everyday. The repetitive tasks that drive me crazy because they are just going to get dirty again, be it the dishes, the clothes, the floors, are the very tasks these people practice appreciating. They appreciate these tasks because they are just going to get dirty again. The theory is that the repetition means we go on, we get to continue being part of this cycle.
On the prompting of my mother-in-law that I should have seen it, I was looking up Oprah's Secret Lives of Moms episode, hoping to be able to just YouTube it. It's too new apparently, but I was able to read the brief synopsis on Oprah's site. While perusing there, I came across the bit on the book I'd Trade My Husband for a Housekeeper by Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile. A more apt title I've never seen! Their excerpt was discussing how we are at this point in life that we can deeply identify with a title like that? When did we get so tired and so stressed that trading our husbands (who we do love very much when we remind ourselves to) for a housekeeper seems like a good idea? After discussing how women and feminism have reached this precipice where "Dammit we are successful!" meets "But omigod I'm so tired...", one thing they list is this:
"Another item crimping our happiness in married life is fear—fear of not being the same people we were before we had kids."
You mean fear of becoming 'only' a maid? Fear of losing that part of me who used to be an artist? Fear of wondering how I'm ever going to continue my career after the baby break? The article wrote that to overcome this fear you have to accept that you can't go back to become your former lovely, young and single self (who I might add was not a maid) but that you have to re-invent that self to include your lovely 'now' life. I can do that, I'm sure I can.
Right after I finish the laundry.