This evening, I made dinner. Yes, just like every other night in between driving kids all over the place or making arrangements to get them where they needed to be, I made dinner. This specific dinner started being prepared in the afternoon. Let me stress, this is not the norm, usually, the faster it can be prepared the better! I’m all about efficiency in this job.
I was making a family favorite though, brinner. Breakfast for dinner! Frying a pound of bacon is a slow process. I started doing that at 3. The older boys were still at school but would be piling into the house in the coming minutes. The 3-year-old was napping. While the bacon fried and I kept up with flipping it because nothing is worse than burnt bacon, I straightened up the living room. I vacuumed and dusted. I swept the kitchen floor and even mopped. I wiped down all the kitchen counters and the table. All the while knowing it would need to be wiped down thoroughly after I’m done with dinner because bacon grease gets everywhere. I cooked sausage after the bacon and scrambled eggs as I went over vocabulary words with the middle two kids. Finally, the food was placed on plates and I told the crew to wash their hands.
The first child stormed into the kitchen as if he hasn’t eaten in over a week and his first words were, “Oh, you made patties instead of links.” Unfortunately, it wasn’t stated in a way of giving thanks. Instead, it was stated in pure disgust. I told him that a thank you would have sufficed. He gave me an eye roll but immediately apologized. The other three piled in, they said a quick prayer and gobbled their food up clearly afraid it would run away. No thanks from them either. My husband wasn’t home from work yet, so I had our plates set aside. I was happy to wait on him, but I wasn’t going to force the kids to.
I cleaned up the mess from dinner and loaded the dishwasher for the second time today. Again, no thanks when they came in from playing outside to a clean kitchen. I do not expect thanks for that, but it would be nice. Then, I remembered to go and switch the laundry to the dryer! It was a miracle. I checked the lunch schedule and was relieved to see it was something all the kids would eat. I wouldn’t have to go through the torture of reminding the boys to pack their lunches. I was trying to teach them some responsibility for themselves, but honestly, it was just easier for me to do it.
Much like everything, I want them to know how to do laundry, but I do it more efficiently. I want them to clean their own bathrooms, but I don’t forget the mirror or behind the door. I want them to unload the dishwasher, but I always put things where they belong. Now, they still do all these things and I gently remind them how to do them correctly. These are all a part of my job, but just as much a part of my job is teaching them these skills. I love my job, but it’s thankless work. Not always, I truly have very polite children, it just seems like they don’t always display that to me, but they always do to others. I’ll take what I can get.
Most of what I do every single day is met with a battle or a disagreement. When I have “alone time,” I may turn on Netflix, but you better believe I’m folding laundry while I watch or making a grocery list. There is no way to advance in this career. There are no accolades or pay raises. I do not get a pat on the back for a job well done. I do not have vacation days. I can’t collect PTO. It’s full of long days and longer nights.
It’s monotonous. It. Is. So. Monotonous. It’s also unpredictable and pure chaos. How is that possible? I’m not quite sure, but I’m certain it is all those things.
It’s not just physically demanding, but mentally. Sometimes the mental work is more than the physical. All the schedules are kept by me and I do my darnedest not to mess them up, all the while being the taxi driver for every single event in their lives. That all being said, I love this job. I mean I really love this work I do. I was made for it.
This job is so all-encompassing that I’m not even sure how to function when I have free time. My youngest started preschool this year and I have three solid hours without any children and I have been experiencing horrible anxiety the whole time I’m alone. I don’t know who or what I am when I’m not mothering. I don’t know how to enjoy the quiet. I don’t know how to be still. It’s three brief hours that have been going on for a couple of weeks and I have yet to figure out how to enjoy it.
I have been filling the first couple of weeks alone by visiting friends or inviting someone out to breakfast. One day, my husband took off work and I hung out with him. The truth is, I have done nothing more than mother for over 13 years and I’m not sure of how to do anything else. I can deal with making meals they don’t eat or them forgetting to say thanks. I’ll take all the eye rolls and breaking up the fights. I’ll embrace the mess that I have to clean up over and over again. I’ll wash, dry and fold until my arms hurt. I’ll read that story a second, third and, sometimes, fourth time. I’ll do it all and I’ll keep doing it until the day comes I don’t need to anymore. I love this work and was made for this work. Here’s to waking up tomorrow to the best job in the world!