Saturday, March 22, 2014

Cook. Clean. Repeat.

Motherhood makes me do things that I would never, in a million years, ever imagined I would do.

Like who in their right mind would drive hundreds of miles to watch their son sit on the bench? Yet I do it. I've also spent an entire blistering August weekend dehydrated but enthusiastically supporting the baseball team, picking up dog poo, and darning socks. Really? Darning socks? A. Who does that anymore and B. does it even look any better sewn that it did holey? Hard to tell.

And yet these, and a gazillion other random responsibilities, fall in my lap simply because I've reproduced. Now that’s not to say all mothers would feel the same way I do. I mean perhaps you love to sew or knit or would rather go to a ball game than anything else. Maybe you even love animals so much you would care for them regardless if you had kids or not.

Great! But I bet there’s other things you wouldn’t be caught dead doing if it weren’t for your kids.

I don’t know what those things are of course, I only know my own life but certainly we can all agree this parenthood thing is stretching us in ways we could have never imagined.

For starters, an animal lives inside my house. An animal! Our 1,600 square foot house is filled to the brim with little people and their things and I allow a dog to be brought into the mix? Did it not dawn on me that things were chaotic enough without adding a shedding, barking, stinky 25 pound mutt? Did I want more filth? (Sidenote: Everything you’ve ever heard about dogs cleaning crumbs up off the floor is true. Conversely, you should never, under any circumstances, leave the lid off the trash.)  

Obviously I’m not an animal lover. I grew up within the city limits and my parents insisted animals were meant to live where they can roam. That’s why when I was accosted by my children’s pleas, “Please mom can we have a dog? I promise to walk her every day!” I was unprepared to refuse their demands. 

Secondly, there's the cooking. Who knew I would collectively spend more time on my feet working from a singular location in my home? I think I've literally worn a spot in the linoleum where I stand, cook, clean, wash, dry and repeat every single day.  It never ends. 

My friends will be surprised to read this but the truth is I didn’t always enjoy cooking. I was forced to learn since I could not stand to eat one more blue box of mac and cheese. To keep my sanity I taught myself how to follow a recipe now my chocolate chip cookies can kick your chocolate chip cookie's crumbs.

Then there's the laundry. I have a distinct memory from my childhood of my mother teaching me how to iron my father’s shirts. She disguised it as fun but I am certain she was exploiting some child labor laws. Also, I bet she hated ironing.

She also charged me with sewing buttons on father's shirts which was a problem because she never actually taught me how to do it. Something about her being left handed and all. Fast forward and I'm a mom and my kids wear holes through everything and I actually have a button jar but no clue as to how to actually mend anything. Yet I do it. I patch and sew, and thanks to Google, attempted darning.

This is my life.

Animal. Cooking. Sewing. None of these things fit in my life's dreams but I do them, and deal with them, because I’m a mom. We need to eat, clothes inevitably wear out and I got suckered into taking in a stray. These things happen.

Yesterday I found five minutes to sit on the couch with a cup of tea. As I cradled the mug I looked out over the landscape of my home and marveled. The kids were fighting, the dog was barking, the laundry was piled up next to me, and I wondered how I got here.

Just then I caught my kid's eye, he grinned at me and I felt my heart swell a little bit. I remembered that while I may not have chosen this life, it is a journey that has brought me much joy.

Even as I think this very thought it dawns on me the dog is barking to be let out and simultaneously each and every kid who was completely underfoot two seconds ago has managed to disappear. For all the trouble they cause, those kids have impeccable timing. I'll just give it a few minutes though because someone will eventually reappear to ask me, "What's for dinner?" at which point I will be forced to resume my post in the kitchen. I just hope the dog can hold it till then. Why? Because I'm the mom and I said so. That's why.

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