The reality is - I can do a better job cleaning and I love the sense of satisfaction that comes with doing housework. The problem is - I have very little time. Maybe I could go to bed later ... wake up earlier ... work less at my paying job ... sacrifice a weekend ... or use naptime more productively than updating my blog ... but I don't love housecleaning that much. Which is why it's been over a month since our shower has been scrubbed.
Now that I'm pregnant, Charlie doesn't want me near chemicals. I kind of understand his concern - but I honestly have no problem using products like "Soft Scrub" considering it isn't harmful and I'm not lathering myself in scrubbing bubbles. However, given my current condition, if I have the option of cleaning a commode or taking a nap ... I'd trade my toilet brush for a pillow any day of the week.
Which is why ... last night, Charlie called a housecleaner that was advertised in our neighborhood. He made plans that a two-woman team would be at our house this morning, at 9 AM. Today, I was up and dressed by 7 AM. I had the kids up and dressed by 7:30. While the kids sat in our bed watching cartoons and sipping orange juice, I set about putting things away to get ready for the cleaning crew.
One thing I've learned with a maid service is that their mission is to clean. They do not put all of your
Maybe I'm crazy that way.
After spending an hour and a half putting all of our
But more annoying was that I was totally off-schedule. And as any triplet mother can attest ... the key to happiness is schedule. They might also attest that it can easily happen that if your morning starts out off schedule, the rest of your day can be shot. Lunch is thrown off, nap times are thrown off, dinner and bedtime are thrown off.
That's what I feared would happen today.
And wouldn't you know - that's exactly what happened, today.
It was 9:00 AM. I didn't want the kids watching cartoons all day and I still needed to feed them breakfast. I was frustrated with myself that I didn't finish our "Pre-Clean" the night before ... or get up earlier and finish it so that our starving children wouldn't be stuck in front of the television because of their mother's inability to better manage her time.
I brought everyone out to the kitchen and loaded them in their booster chairs. Because I didn't want to have a repeat of breakfast Sunday and again, yesterday - where our children solely consumed 4 large containers of yogurt - I decided that eggs were on the menu. Pulling out the necessary ingredients and equipment, I started to cook. The kids started to fuss. They started to fight. They started to scream. I started to get flustered. Really flustered.
Right about then, I noticed my fluffy scrambled eggs had turned black and were smoking. There was also smoke billowing from the toaster oven because my english muffins had caught on fire. William, who was sitting in his booster chair whining, while flinging sippy cups and random utensils across the table at his sisters ... captured my attention.
The phone rang. The housecleaning women were totally lost, driving circles around our neighborhood. Just as I hung up with the housecleaners, and started cooking the second batch of eggs, the phone rang again. At that very moment, Charlie called and with pure innocence asked "How's your morning going?" I laid in to my husband that if he really wanted to help me, he would pick up his own
When I'm not wearing my "mother hat", I work part-time as a senior environmental engineer for a major oil company. My job includes managing multiple remediation projects with annual budgets that are in the millions of dollars. I am directly responsible for overseeing consultants, contractors, subcontractors and interfacing with various local, state and sometimes - federal - regulatory agencies. My job is challenging and downright stressful at times. But being a good role model and positive influence on three two-year olds is the most challenging thing I've ever done. It is mentally more challenging than taking advanced structural geology, calculus, physics, chemistry, philosophy, Latin-American studies and piano in one semester. It is physically more challenging than hiking all the way in to - and out of - the Grand Canyon in a single day.
Trust me, I've done both.
William continued to whine - louder - and to the point that his fussing was the only noise I heard - echoing around the inside of my head, rattling my brain. Given the circumstances, my toddler son's behavior was completely appropriate considering he was 2-hours off schedule. This was entirely my fault.
My behavior, on the other hand, was not appropriate. Also, entirely my fault. Caused by my own fault.
This is the first time I've ever thought of our children as an inconvenience - but this is the second time that I've had an out-of-body experience as a mother. I can actually look down from some spiritual vantage point and see myself losing my cool ... and although I know I should always remain in control of the situation ... I am at a complete loss. My frustration, my temper ... my humanness gets the best of me. It's a horrible feeling when it's happening and even more horrible, when you see how your negative behavior effects your children.
Our kids are amazing. They are beautiful and bright. At two-years old, for the most part, they are full of love, happiness and compassion. It brings joy to my heart when I see them comfort one another ... bring loveys to a sibling who is upset ... and insist on giving kisses to each other before bed time.
Children Learn What They Live.
When I watched the kids today, emulating my frustration from earlier in the morning by yelling "STOP!" at each other, "NO!" at the dog, and jumping clear out of their skins every time I called their names ... I wished the earth would engulf me, whole. The only good thing is that they didn't start swearing. At least not yet. If they yell "Muckin' eggs!" tomorrow ... I'll know they picked up that gem, from me.
This isn't the kind of person I want to be and this certainly isn't the kind of mother I want to be. For all the years of going through fertility treatments ... these are the children that we wanted, more than life itself.
My children are not an inconvenience and they never will be. They are my very reason for being.
It's tough being two and having limited communication skills. But it's even tougher being 35 and knowing that your actions are strongly influencing the character of your children. This job of parenting never ends. It's not a sprint and it's not a marathon because the finish line doesn't exist. This is a race of life, for life ... and you absolutely must pace yourself and take inventory of your own needs. I'm not sure why nobody ever told me - but I'll say it now: This parenting stuff is damn tough work - no matter how long you've wanted children and no matter what you've gone through to get them.
As soon as Charlie walked in the door this afternoon at 5 PM (and our kids were still napping because everything was pushed back two hours) - I walked out. When my day was not getting any better by noon - and my fury was now being taken out on the dog who was gobbling poop out of a pile I had swept up in the garage (which is still a disaster from the water heater fiasco) - I knew that I needed some me time. Big time.
I headed straight to the hair salon, a place I have not visited in at least 8-months.
I was tempted not to post this story. But I think it's important to realize that we all have off days. Sometimes, they are REALLY off. My goal in writing my experience down is to remember it ... learn from it ... and hopefully (please God) ... never repeat it.
When I came home tonight, Charlie didn't recognize me. Now I just pray that tomorrow is a better day and our children don't recognize the monster that was their mother, today. I know I can do better than this. I have to do better than this.
Our children's happiness depends upon on it ... and I'd do anything for them.