Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Jan, The Domestic Diva
My mornings (weekday mornings) almost always start out the same. The blare of the alarm clock, the bargains I make with myself for one more press of the snooze button, the realization that I am now late getting the kids out of bed, muttering to myself as I make my way to their rooms about how stupid I was to sleep just a little bit longer. Then, waking the kids and getting yells from all three of them, sometimes I hear a plea from one of them to “please let me stay home,” while my blood pressure begins to rise. I retreat downstairs and let the dog out, feed him, give him the treat he is begging for with his incessant bark, before making my little one’s lunch and looking at the clock wondering why I don’t hear any noise coming from upstairs. I march back up the stairs and find they are all still in bed and I begin to lose it as I yell for each of them to get up, telling them they have very little time to get ready and out the door (I may have to do this more than a couple of times). The frenzy begins as they come down the stairs. Papers fly, money is requested, schedules have to be rearranged before they head out to school. It seems to never change, and when they are all out the door, husband included, all I want to do is climb back into bed, put the covers over my head and sleep the day away because I have just survived another morning in this crazy world of life with kids.
I am a “stay-at-home” mom. I loath the term “stay-at-home” because I do everything but stay home. Let’s just put up my day today as an example. Once I got the kids out the door, I got a call from my daughter. “Mom, I forgot my poster project, can you bring it to school?” Now, this probably wouldn’t be a big deal if her school was right down the street but, it’s not – it’s a thirty-minute drive away (one hour round trip). I begin to exit the house and realize my son didn’t take the trash to the curb. Rolling my eyes, I throw the poster and my purse in the car, grab the wet cans and wheel them down the long driveway, while the water drips on my running shoes. Yes, I am dressed to head to the gym once I go to my physical therapy session for a wonky neck. I get back into the car and drive to PT. Once done, I am on my way to my daughter’s school to drop off her poster (I was supposed to be going to the gym, remember?). After that, it dawns on me, like one of those V8 commercials where you smack your head with your hand, I still need to get my 10-year-old her colonial costume for her play on Thursday (yes, I am major procrastinator!). I visit two stores in completely different directions before coming up with something that “will do” before getting back into the car. I look at the clock - it’s 10:50 and I still have time to hit the gym and get in a shower before the short day is over. My phone chimes, I have an appointment. I look at my phone to see that I have a dental cleaning in 10 minutes that I didn’t even remember scheduling. I drive to the dentist and get in the chair. “Oh, are you going to work out?” the hygienist asks. “I was planning on it,” I say in defeat, knowing, after this appointment, there is no way I will get there. I finally arrive home so I can get in my shower before I have to leave and pick up my 10-year-old at school, when my husband and son come home. My son is “sick” and is convinced he has Bronchitis (which I already told him he didn’t, but he didn’t believe me. He knew I wouldn’t have picked him up, so he called his dad). I am asked to make a doctor’s appointment, so I do – it’s at 2. I hop in the shower and get ready (because I have an event to attend in the evening). I get ready just in time to hi tail it to the doctor’s only to be told it’s viral (ah-hem). From the doctor’s office, I make the trek to pick up my 10-year-old (her school is also 30 minutes away), followed by my other daughter and arrive home at 3:45 pm.
Now, how much of my time was spent “at home”? Not a whole hell of a lot. As a matter of fact, I think my ass is becoming flat from sitting in that damn car for hours on end (pun intended)! Maybe I should be called a “stay-in-the-car” mom. Parents should get special travel awards for our frequent driving just like airlines give for flying. If you drive so many miles, you should get perks like free valet parking (anywhere), free tolls, three free speeding ticket dismissals per quarter, our own fast track lane and special discounts on cars (the I-Drive-Everyone-Everywhere-Discount). Besides truck drivers and people in sales, we lead the pack when it comes to miles driven on any given day.
I don’t want to sound like a complainer (although I’m sure I do). I love my kids, and I would do anything for them. I am so, so fortunate to not have to hold down a paying job so that I can be there for my kids at a moment’s notice. I know there are many who not only have to work full-time but also have to be that parent who drives their kids everywhere while still keeping food in the house, meals on the table, etc., and I am in awe of them. I just think the days of June Cleaver are over - when kids went to school right down the street, when sports were done at school rather than miles and miles away, when working spouses came home at 5:30 and everyone was home to have a family sit-down meal. We live in a different time where stay-at-home moms no longer stay at home. While we believe life has become more convenient with cell phones and the internet at our fingertips, fast food, and grocery delivery, it has also become more complicated, more spread out, more demanding and everything clipped at a faster pace.
I don’t really know what my point is here (I think this is more of a cathartic release for me). I guess it’s just to tell you, you are not alone if you too, spend more time in your car than at home. You are not alone if your planned day never seems to go as expected and, at the end of the day, you are not the only one who thinks “what the hell did I really accomplish today besides sitting on my ass in the car for hours on end?” And that hectic morning that morphed into the hectic day I described? I’m sure it’s a typical day for many. So whether you call yourself a stay-at-home parent, domestic engineer, homemaker, family manager, home economist, mistress (or master) of the house, house goddess (or god), or my favorite, domestic diva, you are not alone my friend! So next time you see another parent on the road, give them a thumbs up – we’re all in this together! Oh and just call me Jan, the Domestic Diva – I think that’s a much better title!