For me, one of the bonuses about being pregnant was getting to wrangle out of a household chore that I really despise: cleaning the catbox.
As everyone knows, pregnant women aren’t supposed to clean the litterbox. And since I always followed the pregnancy letter of the law to a “T”, I made this tidbit known to my husband pretty much the moment we found out we were expecting. “It’s just not safe for the baby,” I explained, while munching on a cold cut sandwich.
So he obliged. And, to my delight, he continued cleaning it weekly, even after the babies were born.
I admit, I also didn’t offer to take it back. I figure I cleaned up enough human poop to make up for it. But that meant that for the past six years, I’ve been lucky enough to stay far, far away from the litter box.
Until this morning.
Today is Booyah’s routine pet exam. And apparently, since she’s getting up there in cat years, we get to take something extra to her annual exams.
A fecal sample. More specifically, a fresh fecal sample.
Now, if you’re a dog owner, this might not seem like a big deal to you. If you’re like all-but-one-of-my-neighbors, you’re probably used to scooping up the little gems in tidy little plastic bags and depositing the warm little presents in the garbage.
But for a cat owner, and more specifically, for a cat owner who has grown accustomed to not handling animal turds, it is a big deal.
So here I am, typing away at the computer. Waiting for Booyah to drop a deuce so that I can go hunting through the litter box for nuggets. It’s like waiting for the grass to grow. Only stinkier.
After which I get to wrestle my angry, scratching pet into a cat carrier that she loathes more than anything. And then I’ll drive said cat, moaning and hissing to the vet and back.
It almost makes me wish I were pregnant again, so I could delegate that task to my wonderful husband.
But on the plus side, I figure my day can only go up from here.
Mother’s Day. If your Mother’s Day was anything like mine, you might have been lucky enough to have been spoiled.
Perhaps you got a bouquet of flowers from your husband-who-normally-does-not-give-flowers-no-matter-how-much-you-hint-that-chicks-dig-that-stuff. Maybe someone made you breakfast, and cleaned up the kitchen afterwards. Or let you take a 3 hour nap in the middle of the afternoon (and, let me tell you, it was heavenly).
Maybe you were showered with handmade cards signed with awkward, undecipherable little signatures. Or a paper plate flower holder with the word “MOM” scrawled upside-down. And you might have oohed and aahed like it was the most brilliant piece of artwork ever created. Because, of course, it was.
Yesterday was pretty much a perfect day. And I’m so grateful for that. I’m still basking in the glow of the warmth and love my family showered upon me yesterday.
But, as I sit here reflecting on my Mother’s Day, I realize what today is.
Today is the day after. Today is Un-Mother’s Day. And, in reality, Un-Mother’s Day is a day not unlike any of the other 364 days of the year:
A day without the Hallmark sentimentality that surrounds a specific holiday. There are no flowers, cards, or public acknowledgment of the job that we do.
A day where we roll up our sleeves, delve elbow-deep into poop and other bodily excrements, and get the job done.
A day where we try to be a wife, mother, cook, chauffeur, domestic goddess, and everything else in between. And we try to do it all well. With mixed results.
A day where we balance the million things we have on our plates. Children. Wifehood. Finances. Household items. Maybe even a career.
A day where we often put other peoples’ wants and needs ahead of our own.
“It’s the job,” we say. “Isn’t this what we signed up for?” And we’re happy to do it. We need to do it, and, most of the time, we want to do it. Because this is the job.
This is Un-Mother’s Day.
But as I sit here, still reveling in the near-perfection of my own Mother’s Day experience, I can’t help but wonder…
What if we redefined Un-Mother’s Day, even a little? What if, somehow, the other days of the year were a little more like Mother’s Day?
What if I accepted more of the offers for help… from my husband, family members and friends? What about if I asked for help more often? Would I have less control over how things are done? Yes. Would this be a bad thing? Not necessarily.
What if I realize that I cannot be everything to everyone? At least, not all of the time.
What if I put aside the minutia of the daily grind, even for just one day? What would happen if I let the housework slide, the laundry accumulate, and the dishes pile up in the sink? Would the world end? Probably not. Would I focus more on what’s truly important? Probably so.
What if I spent less time obsessing about the fact that my children are not bathed every day, consume entirely too many processed and sugary foods, and are probably not disciplined as well, or as often, as they should be? What if I just rejoiced in the fact that they are happy, healthy, and loved?
What if I spent less time worrying, and more time just simply being?
What if I acknowledged that in order to be a better wife, mother and caretaker, I must first be the best person I can be? That, first and foremost, I need to be personally and professionally satisfied, and that everything after that will fall into place?
What if I took more time to be selfish? If I took a little bit of time each day, or as often as I could, to do something purely for myself? Without worry. Or a sense of obligation. Or guilt.
What if I had the same outlook about motherhood the other 364 days of the year, as I do on Mother’s Day? The days that I feel like I’m failing as a parent are the days when I probably need to hear it from myself the most: I am a good mother.
What if I celebrated Un-Mother’s Day just a little more often?
I wouldn’t need greeting cards or commercialism to celebrate Un-Mother’s Day. Just hugs, kisses, and “I love you’s.” You know, the good stuff.
And, occasionally, flowers. Because chicks really do dig that stuff.
Happy Un-Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there. Do something nice for yourself today. You deserve it.
And, no, I’m not referring to her 17″ waist. I have two kids, a fondness for jelly donuts, and a love of beer that will never make that possible.
But right now, I’m really buying into her famous quote: “I’ll think about that tomorrow.” Genius, that lady.
I have stinky piles of laundry overflowing from the hamper. But I’ll think about that tomorrow.
I have a toddler that has developed recurring vampire tendencies, who, more often than not, has been getting sent home from preschool with discipline notes. Each day I pick him up, I wonder which victim he has chosen to sink his little teeth into. But I’ll think about that tomorrow.
I have a day job that is currently causing me more stress than I’ve ever experienced in my 14-year stint at the company. Some days, I feel like it may give me an ulcer. Or drive me to drink more beer. The latter might not be a bad thing, but my poor liver might beg to differ. But, still, I’ll think about the day job tomorrow.
I have bills that need to be paid. But I’ll think about that tomorrow.
I should probably open my Google Reader. Or get back to the comments that people left me from posts I wrote a couple of weeks ago. But I’ll think about that tomorrow.
Booyah blew chunks in the hallway downstairs. I noticed it when we got home, and just didn’t want to deal with it. So I’ll think about that tomorrow.
I need to buy cat food. And toilet paper. And Cocoa Puffs. But I’ll think about that tomorrow.
Frankly, I’m just too wiped out right now to give a damn.
So, tonight, instead of doing all of the things I should be doing, I’m going to relax. And think about the stuff that does mean something.
I will camp out at my vast plantation humble abode, and be thankful that we have a roof over our heads. And that the roof is currently not leaking. At least that I know of.
I shall be thankful that I’ve hooked up with a great group of bloggers… who don’t seem to be bothered by how sporadically I visit, or respond back to their comments. They understand that I have a life outside of this blog.
I shall be thankful for Jay. I love him, and in the midst of all of the chaos, I don’t tell him that often enough.
I will think about slobbery goodnight kisses and “I love you, mommy’s.”
And all of that other peripheral crap? I can’t think about it tonight. So I will think about that tomorrow.
It’s been a trying week in our household. I’m sorry to say that, over the past week, our family has been a victim of a terrible, heinous crime.
I know. It looks harmless enough. But don’t be deceived by the appearance. Most recently, it’s been committing the most audacious of acts known to our family.
It’s been burning the bacon.
Point of clarification: the perpetrator I’m referring to is the microwave. The poor little attached oven unit gets very little use. Unless you count cooking tater tots as “baking.” But the microwave gets a lot of use. Especially when it comes to cooking up our breakfast every morning.
You know those boxes of Oscar Meyer microwaveable bacon that you pass by in the grocery store aisle? Well, they are a staple in my house. We go through maybe 3 to 4 boxes of that artificial, sodium-laden goodness every week. Which may account for why our cholesterol levels top the richter scales. But, that is a tale for a later date.
Anyway, this past week, “The Perp” suddenly and without warning started overcooking the bacon. As in, goodbye, sizzling, perfectly brown slices of goodiness. Hello, smoky, burnt pig aroma wafting throughout the house. I can think of no greater crime for an appliance to commit in our house.
Getting rid of the microwave was a mixed blessing, actually. In general, our kitchen has been a personal eyesore for me since we’ve moved in. However, being the tightwad I am, I simply couldn’t justify replacing the outdated, yellowed appliances until they had run their course. And in the age where everything breaks down immediately after their one-year-warranty expires, these suckers were 15 years old, and were still ticking.
So we waited. For the day when they finally met their long-overdue doom, and we could finally replace them with something we liked. When that day came last week, we gleefully and immediately removed the offending appliance, and set into motion a plan to replace it.
The only problem?
The new unit will not be delivered until Wednesday. Which means we will be looking at this for the next three days:
And it also means I have approximately 72 hours to ponder some truly important thoughts. Stuff like:
Which is the lesser of two evils: burnt bacon, or no bacon?
Will my kids go through pork withdrawals in the next few days? Will I?
Can you cook microwave bacon on the stove top? Where IS that frying pan, anyways?
It really is a good thing that I have this whole situation in perspective. And that I am not at all dramatic.
How good is that bacon going to taste come Thursday morning?
Do you ever have those days when you feel like you’re juggling multiple personalities? Figuratively speaking, that is?
I do. And it feels like my multiple personalities have had a serious conflict of interest lately.
Working Me. Mommy Me. Housekeeper Me. Chauffeur Me. Wife Me. Me Me.
They’re all there, fighting amongst themselves for a chunk of my time. And, simply put, there are just not enough hours in the day to accommodate them all. So my multiple personalities bicker. And they engage in a perpetual rock-paper-scissors act to see which parts of me take precedence.
But at last my internal struggle is over. Because, as I was channel surfing the other night, I found the long lost solution.
As in the movie, Multiplicity. You remember it? That ’90s comedy film where the husband stumbled upon the good Dr. Leeds, who created various clones of said husband so that he could balance his spouse, career and family? That’s the one.
Anyway, as I was watching the movie the other night, I had this crazy epiphany that multiplicity just might be the answer to all of my problems. If I had just a few more of Me around, I could really motor. I started thinking about the possibilities.
Like what Career Woman Me would be like. I’m guessing she would always show up to the office on time, sporting an immaculate business suit that did not have a single trace of spit up, playdough or Cocoa Puff residue on it. She would never have to leave the office early to pick up the kids, or guiltily call in sick because one of her kids was oozing green boogers. On days she worked from home, she wouldn’t have to worry about children cackling maniacally in the background during a conference call.
Or Mommy Me. She would always have time for playing cars, giving horsie rides, or just stopping to really listen to what her kidlets were saying. She would never rush them out of the house or beg them to stop dawdling. She would stop and smell the roses. Mommy Me would always let her kids play with Moon Dough, slurp spaghetti with their hands, and stomp in mud puddles… because she didn’t care about the mess it made.
And what I wouldn’t give for a Domestic Diva Me. My domestic goddess clone would never leave four laundry baskets full of clean clothes sitting by the bedside, unfolded, for weeks. There would not be scary things growing in her refrigerator. She would not have Pizza Hut on speed dial. And she would happily clean up the Moon Dough, spilled spaghetti, and mud stains from her kids’ clothes; she wouldn’t mind the messes that Mommy Me made.
Bloggy Me would not be caught dead with 256 new items in her reader. She would respond promptly to her comments with witty, funny little snippets of goodness. She would remember to check her Twitter account more than once every couple of weeks.
Wifey Me would encourage her husband to play golf, go out for a beer, or just hang out with the guys more often. Because, deep down, she knows he doesn’t do that nearly enough as he should. She would not scoff at the way he attempts to put away the dishes, even if she can never find anything he puts away. (Because she would have time to re-put-away the dishes that didn’t find their proper home.) And she would always remember that her husband is a person, a man, and the one she fell in love with 15 years ago.
And Me Me would make time. Time to get a pedicure, or a haircut. Time to go on a date night with the ball and chain husband. Time to relax. Or just veg out and do nothing at all. Me Me would take more time to do things that she really wanted to do, as opposed to the things that she felt like she needed to do. And she would not feel guilty about it. Not one bit.
Yep. I think multiplicity is the way to go, indeed. Personally, I’m thinking the whole strategy is pretty brilliant. And as soon as I figure out a way to contact Dr. Leeds, I’m so cloning myself.
Now, does anyone have the phone number of Dr. Leeds?