Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chaos Personified (aka: "Mommy").

Holy shit, Internet (and by "Internet" I obviously mean "Eight friends who read my blather and kindly pretend to find it interesting"... Hi Guys!!!).  Why can I not get it together?  Why can I not leave my house in under 40 minutes?  Why can I not unload the dishwasher (which was run 24 hours ago) before 10pm?  Why can I not clean up the toys scattered hither and yon throughout the house?  Why can't I do/fold the laundry fast enough for it to NOT resemble Mt. Vesuvius every 2 days?  Why can I not pull a decent meal together while both kids are awake without one beating the other one up?  Why, why, why?  (And, p.s., why can't I stop WHINING?  OR E-YELLING?)

This shit is getting out of control.  I would like to blame this often unfathomable craziness on my kids (because I'm an awesome mother like that), but it's not their fault.  I would also like to blame it on my husband (Hi Honey!!), but it's not his fault either.  All these boys in my life do their fair share o' dirtying, certainly, but I do my part, too.  And it's supposed to be my job to clean it all up.  I am the stay-at-home parent.

This is where I feel like somehow feminism has backfired on me.  What began as, "You can have it all!" turned into, "If you don't have it all, you are an utter failure."  And p.s. look awesome and keep the house clean and cook nutritious, delicious food while reading Tolstoy and writing that brief for your client in Norway.  I am a failure (at life and at properly encapsulating feminism.... damn it!).  I realize this is not technically true (if what my peeps tell me is actually correct) nor a logical thought to have.  Nonetheless,  I feel like a failure a shockingly large portion of the time.

I know this is reality a lot of stay-at-home parents struggle with.  There's no way to actually do it all and maintain your sanity or stamina.  One can certainly keep the house clean, the laundry done, and make breakfast, lunch and dinner daily... but that requires plopping one's children in front of the T.V. and/or ignoring them for the majority of the day.  One can also take the children out on exciting playdates, spend quality time playing on the floor with each child, and maintain a healthy nap schedule... but that means that one's house quickly begins to look like an episode of Hoarders.  Toys are spread in an even foot-severing layer across the entire floor, dishes accumulate on the counters and in the sink, and laundry piles begin to resemble the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  So we have to choose: parenting, or housekeeping.

You'd think this would be an easy choice.  Kids should always trump dishes, yes?  DUH.  But eventually, I start to look around and the messiness in the house starts to make me insane.  And then I start to feel like I'm not doing my job, because my job is to take care of the entire homefront, right?  No, actually.  This is where we get it wrong, peeps.  My job is to take care of the children and do what's best for them.  I am not a housewife or homemaker- I actively reject that title for a reason.  I am a stay-at-home-PARENT.  My priority is my children.  If I were working a paying job outside the home, I would expect my partner to pull his weight and help with household duties.  Though my job is unpaid and happens to occur inside the home, I don't really feel like this should change things.  Perhaps I am delusional, but thankfully I have a partner who is willing to pitch in.

When he's here, that is.  When he's not here... well, therein lies the rub.  Try as I might, I still cannot find a way to do it all.  I'd like to (especially as I prepare to- hopefully- take on a little side job), but I just can't figure it out.  Maybe it's just me.  There are people out there who appear to have it all: their houses are always clean, the TV is never on, their kids are always happy and well dressed with healthy snacks filling their go-bags, and inexplicably, they look put together and seem to thoroughly enjoy life.  I don't know how those people do it.  It seems impossible to me.

So... I like to think that those people have a big ole Monica Gellar-style closet.  A closet full of the mess that would otherwise occupy their homes and minds.  It's filled to the brim with dirty dishes, blocks, broken crayons and half-used Swiffers.  It smells of two weeks worth of dirty diapers and sour milk and sweat stained clothes.  There are Cheerios plastering the floor.  Attached to the inside of the door is a giant hidden flat screen with Finding Nemo playing on a 24 hour loop.  And the reason she can keep that smile plastered to her face despite her three children under 4?  She keeps several flasks of vodka strapped to her body at all times.  SEVERAL.


  1. I feel your pain. I abandoned cloth diapers. I guiltily let Linus watch Spiderman cartoons in the morning while I drink coffee and read the newspaper online instead of engaging him in meaningful educational activities. I swear I don't know how those homeschooling moms do it.

  2. You may be describing the feelings of a stay-at-home parent but, as a working mom, I've got to say this sounds pretty familiar.

    In addition to all that craziness you mentioned, we also get to feel crappy because (a) we put our kid in daycare for X hours a day and (b) we aren't giving 110% at work anymore.

  3. Girls, we are asking too much of ourselves. A little TV here and there so we can finish our coffee is okay. Being unable to give 110% at work (because we are now giving 642% to our children) is also just fine. I think if you can give it 85% at work at this point, you're doing pretty damn well.

    We all feel like bad mothers because of what we do or don't do, but if you're loving your babes and they can get a hug from you every day, you're doing a great job. Laundry be damned.

    By the way, there's even a manifesto written on the subject. Perhaps you'll enjoy it as much as I did: