Never Work A Day In Your Life

When Goldy and Beauty were just bitsy little girls, bursting with imagination and melodrama, I was lucky enough to stay home with them and witness all the fun. I loved it then and I love it now. There isn’t anything else I’d rather do. Of course, I had kids before I had any sort of career, so I don’t have a lot to compare it to. I’ve had jobs, sometimes two at a time, but the only career I’ve ever had was teaching preschool. I think it is safe to say I’m doing what I am meant to be doing.

The unfortunate thing about loving your job is that it leads to the misunderstanding that you must not be working, especially by those that are less than happy with their own careers. I was blissfully ignorant to this fact when the girls were little. My (ex)husband would come home on lunch break from his office supply delivery job if he was in the neighborhood and ask how the morning was. “Great, we played outside.” What are you doing now? “Folding laundry, watching One Life To Live. We’re probably going to use sidewalk chalk in the afternoon.”  Then he’d come home and the house would still be torn up from Beauty and her own personal civil unrest.  She was a one baby crusade against order. Dinner might be cooking but it wasn’t anything fancy. Not only was I exhausted but we were not wealthy. I was a stay at home mom, he delivered paper. Do the math. Sometimes dinner wasn’t cooking. Sometimes my ass was planted on the couch watching Friends. In fact, just assume that was every Thursday for the run of the show. (I always fed the kids, I’m not against  macaroni for dinner every so often.)

This inevitably lead to discussions about my responsibilities and priorities. The house should be clean. Dinner should be made and edible. I should probably get dressed. Some people are so particular. I made myself a sandwich and he knew his way to the kitchen. And seriously, pants are overrated.

All the stay at home moms are nodding right now and all the working parents are raising their eyebrows. Am I right?

It took me a long time to understand the real source of our issue. My friend once told him if he wanted a housewife he probably shouldn’t have married someone who lists “sparkly” as her favorite color, but that was not the real problem. If you want to get specific, the real problem was respect, but we won’t go there today. Today we’ll explore the misunderstanding of the work that is done as a stay at home parent. He thought I was playing outside, watching my stories and doing crafts, so he couldn’t comprehend why there was no time or energy to clean. And the sad truth is, I didn’t understand, either, not when the girls were young. I did clean, but I always felt like it should be easier, like taking care of the house should be a snap for a stay at home mom, so between my own ideas and his words, I felt like a failure.

Today, sitting in the sunshine, enjoying my children and my job, I remembered that feeling all too clearly and see the error of my ways. If you asked me about my day I would tell you we played outside all morning, we ate a delicious lunch and then while the kids napped I took some time for myself to write a blog. Later we will do some crafts. Then I will make dinner, watch TV and go to bed. If you have never done my job this probably sounds like a cakewalk to you. You probably wonder why making dinner is such an ordeal if all I did was play outside and color all day. You worked all day, right? I get why you are tired. Your job is called work. It probably sounds dreadful to me. Unless you are an event coordinator or a road manager for a cool band or something. I can completely understand why you are exhausted and would rather order pizza.

The problem is in the communication, a problem I never expected I would have. When someone asks me about my day I rarely think to say, “Little S  took off his diaper and pooped all over his bed during the morning nap he had to take because he was biting me and literally crying over spilled milk. While I was downstairs cleaning it up he and his friend took everything out of the “no no drawer” and spread it all over the living room.” When I talk about our lovely time outside in the sunshine I don’t bother to mention the main reason my presence is required is to keep four kids hellbent on breaking at least one bone from accomplishing their goal. Not one grain of sand gets eaten on my watch. Okay, that’s a lie, but not much.

I rarely mention how hard it is to cook lunch while keeping those same hellbent bone breakers from jumping off the table and wrestling. The two smallest boys are all teeth and nails, lately. They’re just playing but it’s still dangerous and has to be dealt with, not ignored. On a good day Little S just shakes the gate and cries until I put him in his chair. I don’t talk about cleaning squash out of the carpet or scraping dishes while kids tumble around the toys we seriously just cleaned up. I don’t explain the level of patience it takes to do crafts with toddlers or the amount of cleaning to be done afterwards while those toddlers are once again attempting to maim themselves.

http://mommyofamonster.com/2010/08/baby-jail.html

Baby Jail from “Mommy Of A Monster”

All my Ex  ever saw of my job was naptime. Sometimes I would fold laundry or load the dishwasher but the rest of our messes from the day had to be cleaned as we went or it would be total chaos. More often than not I was watching TV or reading, a well deserved break. On the weekend I still handled most of the parenting but it is simpler with a partner and we didn’t usually complicate it with crafts and activities. Of course he did occasionally stay home alone with the kids, as well, but he never attempted to make a job of it. He didn’t do crafts or, if we’re being honest, bother to clean up after lunch.

“If you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life.” I have seen that attributed to Confucius but I’m giving my Ex all the credit for it.  I loved what I did so he assumed I never worked a day in my life. I’m not claiming I worked harder than him or trying to say, “poor me, being a stay at home mom is hard.” I’m simply explaining, I work, too.  Just because I like what I do doesn’t mean it doesn’t take energy and patience and skills beyond those of a trained monkey. Not everyone can do it. Not everyone should do it. If you think it’s easy or that I’m sitting on my ass all day this is not the job for you. It’s still a job.

The kids are stirring. I have crafts to do.

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All This Penis Talk Is Creeping Me Out

I seem to have some sort of writer’s block lately. It’s not that I can’t think of anything to write about, it’s that I have so much to say that I can’t possibly fit it all in one blog, but it doesn’t break into separate blogs very well. That, and I want to rant about politics, a lot, but I don’t want this blog to be political. So, here I sit, so much to say and yet, no new blogs.

Back to the drawing board, or the internet, as it is known to many. Read read read. A few debates and *facepalms* and “smdh”s later I have something to say.

Stop talking about your son’s penis online. Actually, let’s extend that to, “stop talking about any child’s penis online.”  If you don’t have boys, or kids at all, you may wonder why any sane adult is talking about baby penises online and not getting arrested. They are not just talking about them, but praising or critiquing their appearance and future sexual performance. You think I’m crazy? Perhaps I’ve been reading too much of The Onion?

Behold, proof of my sanity:

Grown women (and some men), discussing baby penises and their children’s future sex lives. I’m sure you’ve seen these debates and discussions a million times and maybe not thought much of it. I have participated a few times and it leaves me feeling icky. I researched this topic, weighed the pros and cons and made the decision that I feel is right for us, but, other than to help someone who is looking for facts, I am not going to discuss it. I’m not ashamed, in fact, I’m pleased with my choice. I’m just… discreet. I don’t want to talk to total strangers about my sons’ penis. I definitely don’t want to join the ranks of parents discussing which type of penis is more attractive or which one will please their future wives more. It’s creepy.

Can we all agree to start pointing this out to people? Any time someone says, “Uncircumcised penises are ugly” or “circumcised penises don’t feel as good” can we all just call bullshit. You would not tell someone to base a decision about their daughter’s body on how it will make them look or how it will make their future husband feel about them sexually, that’s just plain creepy, so why in the free world would you think it is okay to say they should base any a decision about their son’s genitals on that criteria?

Also, it’s just rude. Every time you say in public, “a un/circumcised penis is funny looking/bad in bed/weird/ugly/gross/less sensitive/etc.” you offend not only the men in that group but their wives who enjoy them the way they are and their mothers who made the choice. It’s not only creepy, it’s mean.

While we’re at it, here’s a few more things not to discuss online:

  • Any other subject that has to do with a part of your child you normally cover with a diaper. Obvious exclusions to this rule would be in groups specifically made to discuss health or diapering issues.
  • Anything that comes out of these areas. Again with the obvious exclusions.
  • Baby names you hate. This one is less of a privacy issue and more in the, “don’t be a dick” category. The internet is forever, be nice to friends’ kids, even if you don’t know them.

 

What would you include?