Of almost every mother I know, I think I might be the best at saying No. NO to impulse buys at the grocery store. NO to spring soccer at the YMCA. NO to kid-friendly tablets and letting my kids play even educational games. NO more (next year) to the three o’clock carline. NO to volunteering at the school (but absolutely YES to bandwagoning on group gifts for teachers). NO to having that friend over this afternoon. NO to taking care of kids or the house before noon on Saturdays. YES to a housekeeper so NO to cleaning toilets myself. NO to just about anything that is going to make my mostly manageable life even a little bit more complicated.
You can see that I’m maybe a little bit spoiled.
So it stands to reason that I’m a little bit terrible at handling life’s dog piles.
You know like, how I put a girl’s weekend beach trip on the calendar last October, proceeded to double check with my childcare (John) for six weeks leading up to it, and then find out on Sunday night (while I’m in Hilton Head) that John has a trial scheduled for Monday morning. Not a hearing. Not a calendar call. A trial. A show up at 9:30am and start choosing jury members trial.
And every mama who has ever left kids at home for more than 24 hours knows, the amount of work it takes to not be home is singly the most compelling factor when measuring the relaxation level of the vacation itself. I mean, I can say right now, there are certain beach trips to certain locations or with certain people that would absolutely not be worth being away from my kids for more than 24 hours. And I have an above average husband running things in my absence, and an above average need to be away from my children.
This is the week of catch up.
I run my laundry on a bi-weekly (or more) schedule. With four children and towels in three bathrooms and sheets and two kids in diapers who sleep long hours, I could easily do laundry every day of the week all the time forever. But even my type-A personality has its limits.
This means one week out of the month is a little ridiculous.
Naturally, that week is this week. When I came home on Monday afternoon, there was no clean underwear, no clean towels, no PJ’s, no more bibs, and some seriously stinky sheets. We were out of bread and all fruit. The house was pretty well picked up, but not ready for the cleaning lady on Tuesday.
And John has a trial this week. (For those of you who are referencing Ally McBeal or Law and Order right now, let me assure you that TV condenses things considerably.)
His stint as a stay at home dad ended abruptly.
I can’t complain. His life is infinitely more difficult than mine right now.
We are both at the bottom of a dog pile.
This is why I drove through both the school carline and the Starbucks drive-thru barefoot and in my robe. This is why my mother has asked me to measure a window in my house about four times and I still haven’t done it. This is why all I want to do on Mother’s Day is mow the lawn, order pizza, and drink beer at 3pm.
My beach vacation was wonderful and refreshing and outstandingly empty of the daily grind and demands of motherhood, the incessant two year old questions, the non stop bickering extreme or silliness extreme, meals, and dishes, and messes.
But it was also a wonderful reminder that sometimes the most relaxing moments happen right here in my own house. Those freakish alignments of the stars when no one needs anything for thirty solid minutes. When the house smells like fresh towels, drawers are full of clean underwear, and I remember to pull something out of the freezer for dinner before noon.
Here’s a big fat sigh of gratitude for those thirty minutes of bliss.