In a surprising twist of fate, I got a much needed boost to my self-worth the other day. Unfortunately, I became completely unglued in the presence of my family before realizing it, but that’s neither here nor there, and for the record, they completely deserved it.
We are eyeball deep into summertime chaos here. I don’t know what’s more or less enjoyable for everyone involved, a jam packed activity filled day, or a day at home with nothing on the agenda. The jury is still out on that. As I see it, my job as a mother is to, at the bare minimum, feed my children and protect them from killing each other on a daily basis. On a good day, I plan things. Things to keep us busy, entertained, focused, and more importantly, sane.
Because I love my children, I want them to be happy. My definition of a happy child is a child who doesn’t know and/or care that his/her mother is even in the house because they are having so much age appropriate fun that he/she has no use for me. No intervention is required. Just innocent children having innocent fun with the occasional naked Ken doll laying around. It never happens under my roof. Not the naked Ken doll…that always happens, and sadly, there is more than one. Ugh.
The truth is, my children and I are unable to keep the peace amongst ourselves over large chunks of time. As a result, on days that we have nothing on the schedule, I will often schedule play dates. “Come on over and entertain my kids because I clearly suck at it. The basement is yours. I’ll be upstairs redressing the Ken dolls before I bring them back down.” I’ll be damned if I’m going to set myself up for a phone call from “that mom” suggesting that my children are perverts. Besides, I know that already. It’s called being proactive.
I honestly love play dates. My kids turn into happy-go-lucky children skipping around the house with their BFF’s, while I pretend we’re a perfect family, squeezing fresh lemonade for the kiddos, speaking in my more than annoying sing song voice, and whistling my way around the house like I have something to whistle about. The truth is, we are all better behaved when we have guests. Less fighting, less screaming, and less crying all across the board (myself included).
Last week, I invited two friends over on the same day (one for each of my daughters). I know the drill. I have done it several times. My husband however, has not. He was home from work. A vacation day that I’m pretty sure he would give back in a heartbeat if given the choice. What can I say, he’s a rookie. More specifically, he has no fucking clue what it takes to get through my life on a daily basis. “Welcome to the shit show honey! He couldn’t see my grin, but it was there.
Midway through my husband’s exact definition of play date hell (I thought things were going quite well), I offer to run and grab take-out for the girls. My husband was less than enthused with the idea.
“I’ll go,” he begs.
“Nope, I got this. Be right back.”
I was gone 38 minutes. I went to get food for the kids, made a quick stop at the wine shop (for obvious reasons), and decided on my way home when my new favorite song came on the radio that my already clean car could benefit from one more run through the car wash. What can I say, life was good. Iggy was on max volume and I had 3 less problems for about ten more minutes. It seemed like a lifetime to me, but apparently even more so to the ones I left behind.
Evidently, I was missed. Not a sweet and innocent “I miss my mom because she is so awesome miss,” but more like an annoying and desperate “I miss my dominant right arm that was brutally cut off with a butter knife and now I am incapable of performing any or all activities of daily living miss.” I was gone for 38 minutes.
I drove home that day with a rejuvenated spirit and some real memories from my time spent away. However, things quickly took a sour turn when I pulled into the driveway only to be met by my franticly disgusted daughter and her friend. “Where have you been Mom? You were gone SO long! Seriously, WHERE WERE YOU?” Eye roll, eye roll, eye roll, etc., etc.
All I can say is thank God she had a friend over that day or I am quite certain that I would’ve responded by strategically placing her Subway sandwich directly under my back tire and backing over it 77 times.
“Here’s your lunch girls. Enjoy.”
“By the way, where’s your Dad?”
“He’s in the house.”
Before I even managed to get one shoe off, Daddy rounds the corner in an absolute panic, takes one look at me and says, “Where the hell were you?”
His face was pale and his stance was weak. There was clearly something very wrong with him, but I refused to be distracted by it. I was pissed. My defense mechanism kicked in and I started to go on an absolute rampage. “Seriously? I was gone for 38 fucking minutes! You ARE an adult, right? Have I missed something here?!”
“You were just gone SO long. I had 2 girls over here, 2 girls over there, and Buddy who conveniently decided to shit his pants in the midst of it all! Where were you?!”
I wanted to say so much. I wanted to hit the roof and start throwing sharp kitchen utensils across the room in an effort to prove an obvious point. As I reached for the pizza cutter, I was stopped in my tracks by a tiny little voice inside my head that suggested I consider dropping the life threatening object from my hand and take a step back to further examine the situation.
And then it hit me. My husband has not been desensitized to extreme chaos over large portions of time. Furthermore, he is not capable of multi-tasking in the manner that this particular situation required. It’s not his fault. It’s not something you’re born with. It’s a learned skill that requires intense training and exposure over several years.
The poor guy was delirious, eyes rolled back into his head, sweat dripping from his brow, and crying invisible tears…after 38 minutes!
And then it hit me again. I am awesome. More importantly, he is not awesome at what I do.
“It’s okay honey. They are monsters. You tried your best. I am just better than you. Not that it’s a contest or anything, but if it was…I’d be winning. Why don’t you go take a bath? I’ll draw your water.”
BOOM. Self worth.
It was far from pretty, but I took it to the bank and called it a day.