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Dear Working Mothers- you are the shiz

Please know SAHM, I am not dissing you. I am a SAHM myself. I think we’ve got one of, THE HARDEST, thankless, jobs on the planet.

But last week kicked my arse. My lilly white, dimpled, jiggly, arse. I don’t know how women leave the house, looking decent, and then proceed to come home and take care of all the chillin’s and house work and such.

Ever since my lovely brood has come into this world, I have not worked outside the home. I am so, so, so grateful for being able to stay home. My husband has been blessed enough in a job to provide for us. We have worked it out financially so that I can stay home. Would he want another income? Heck yeah! But I think sometimes what I’ve given up in income has supported him in so many ways that he wouldn’t know where to begin to count. The fact that I’m always available to take the children, drop them off at activities, care for them when they are sick- let’s him do his work thing without many limitations.

In the early years when the children are young, when you have to wipe bottoms, wipe faces, sticky hands, change your clothes 3 times a day from puke and errant oatmeal, bathe, clothe, entertain them constantly- working outside the home sounds kind of like a relief! A break! You can get dressed in nicer clothes, wear a bra, put on make up, wear jewelry that little chubby hands won’t rip out of your ears. Wear a blouse that a wandering fist from a two year old boy won’t reach into and hold on for comfort.

Ahh- to shake off those little ankle biters for some adult conversation, stimuli and a paycheck! AND maybe a coffee break or lunch you can eat uninterrupted! (of course, I ate at my desk almost every flippin’ day for my boss to holler from his office for some mundane question like, how to send an email, which would have me up and down and eating between hollers.)

So now my children are older. I have long stretches of time when we are at home together, they are doing their thing, I’m doing my thing. Like right now- I hear Adventure Time on the Cartoon Network in the other room. I’m sitting here typing in a different room. So far, no one has said, “mo–ooommmmmmm! can you get me some juice” even the dog hasn’t bothered me. This is kind of weird actually…

In fact, I do get some moments of peace. And when they go to school, I have the freedom of the time from 8:30 until 3 to get my day going in the way I choose. Does this always happen? No. I seem to always have an appointment, errand, chore or duty that will inevitably distract me from staying on course and actually getting a project done, like cleaning out my closet. Allison over at  Motherhood WTF describes this to a T! She nails it when it comes to what we actually get done.

I’m a volunteer queen. I have done PTA since Emma was in Kindergarten. Before that, I was chairperson to her preschool board for several years. Once Owen came along and was old enough for preschool, I stepped down, and that’s when I went right into PTA.

I loved the idea of PTA. I have memories of when my mom would come to school to help with something. Just seeing her in the building made my heart swell with comfort. Knowing mom was near. I felt special. I figured I would do the same for my kids. Giving them that feeling that I was connected to their education, letting their teachers know I supported all they did. Staying abreast of the administration and what goes on inside the building. All good things.

So I started with small committees, help in the classroom, fundraisers. Then boom- I helped chair the Talent Show. Well, the rest is history. I chaired 5 talent shows, served as President for 2 years, continued to chair events, tutoring in the school, and now I’m back to being President at the middle school level AND Vice President at the district level, or council, is what we call it. Look at me, I’m such an over achiever.

I feel the need, get asked, and continue to fulfill. It’s my duty. I’m a sucker, I know. I’m always reluctant. I’m not volunteering to volunteer. I am asked and then feel kinda guilty. Or feel, well, yeah, heck- might as well. Hey- it keeps me out of the mall spending all my time playing at Sephora like a crack head.

The family seems to always grumble when they know something is coming up for me to do, whether it’s a big auction or back to school event. Owen hates when I leave for my weeknight meetings. But I think it’s because they are used to me being around 24/7 .  Going out for an evening meeting a few times a month is a good thing for them to realize that, mommy is a person who can do things out of the house. Is he at a friend’s house playing or on XBOX while I’m gone? Usually. So he’s just being a stinker.

Last week, I left the house in the morning three days in a row to be at the PTA table for the middle school’s registration days. Emma was in charge at home babysitting herself and Owen. They had play dates and friends to entertain them as well. Some of the time they were just home hanging out. I would come home for lunch or a mid day break. I went back to the school. I got home around 2:30. That’s pretty early in the day, right?

But I was SPENT! I had nothing left in me after talking, smiling, gesturing, thinking, being charming, articulate…. you get the idea. It worked muscles and neurons in me that get to snooze most of the day. Being ON is hard work! I recruited parents, answered questions, engaged with staff. My face hurt from smiling.

Then on Saturday, it was our region’s Fall training. A whole day of classes and once again, I was there to help check people in, answer questions, facilitate sessions. I needed to look like a smart, edumacated person. Not just a mom who lounges around in yoga pants, blogging all day with Real Housewives in the back ground.

I made a trip to the grocery store on the way home and was home just before 5:30. I had left that morning at 7:15. I didn’t have nearly  enough to eat or caffeine consumption I would’ve preferred throughout the day. So I came home sleepy and famished. It took forever to restart my buttons. I was exhausted, but restless. I wanted to walk the dog outside, but curl up on the couch.

I was left thinking, is this what it would be like if I worked all day? Would I be a complete pile of useless flesh and bones on the couch every night? Would we be forced to eat mac n cheese and take-out for the rest of our lives?

Nothing got done last week. No laundry, no cleaning, no straightening.

I suppose getting in a routine of this, I would figure out a way.

Hearing from some other blogger mom’s that worked out of the home helped me see the beauty in some of their achievements. Younger kids off to day care, sometimes getting home a little before the husband picks up the kids to get some straightening done, or errands. Nobody home during the day to mess up the house. Having cleaners come in to clean while you aren’t home and the kids are in day care, seems like heaven to me!

Then there’s the group working FROM home and being in charge of little kids.  Dear God,  now THAT seems like a challenge. Holy shit! How would you get ANYTHING done? That’s like brushing your teeth with a mouthful of Oreos. Unproductive.

OR the husband that works from home while you are trying to do all the household stuff and he’s just another mouth to feed and body to clean around. BLERG! Drives me crazy.

I have to say that whatever your schedule is, working out of the home mom, working from the home mom, stay at home mom, I hope that you have found balance. This isn’t a mommy wars piece. I am not arguing the merits of one versus the other. Or trying to ‘out do’ other moms. Like birth stories trying to one-up each other over who had it worse- ‘well, my perineum split in two and had to be stapled together during the birth of my son.’  ‘oh yeah, well, when my milk came in my daughter latched incorrectly and chewed off my nipple and then I got double mastitis’. Yeah- that’s not what I’m going for here.

A frickin MEN!

I love my SAHM existence and really don’t want anything to rock that boat. Those days that I’m off for volunteer duties will just require a lot of pre-planning and organizing.

And seriously, why HAVEN’T the kids bothered me by now? They are too old to shave the dog or play with Sharpies…. oh wait. YouTube. I gotta go- I think someone just googled inverted nipples instead of invertebrates.

RTLF #12

There are many things to be thankful for. Like, clean water, coffee and feminine hygiene products that I don’t have to take to the river to wash for the next month. I know, I know.

But today’s RTLF (Reason to Live Friday) list is going to be sense of humor and forgiveness. It goes like this folks.

Forgiveness in a family is key. Not like, oh, “I’m sorry to my mother in law for stealing her lefse recipe” (my mother in law doesn’t really make lefse.) Okay, OR- I’m sorry I forgot my nephew’s birthday and didn’t send a gift. Those types of things are all forgivable. Yes. Especially if EVENTUALLY you send your newphew a birthday gift. OR double up on his Christmas gift. Either one is good.

BUT- what I’m talking about is family’s forgiveness because their mom (that would be me) is losing her shit and you need to talk her off the ledge. Or, say, maybe the daughter doesn’t have clean underwear and the husband doesn’t have clean socks. When it’s YOUR job to you know, take care of the house keeping and shit, it’s kinda lame when you don’t actually get to the house keeping part.

This is because my super human skills as a volunteer have been activated. I am PTA on two boards. Yes, count them. Two. Boards.

My family thinks I’m crazy. I think I’m crazy. Don’t hate me with your PTA stereotypes. I’ve got this. I’m the cool chick who brings a flask to meetings and shows up in pajama pants. JUST KIDDING! First, I’m too much of a square to actually bring the flask I have. (It has a honey badger on it and it reads, “Honey Badger don’t give a shit”. Thanks Molly!) I would die if someone got the wrong idea and thought I was some lush of a mom and called CPS. Second, I don’t leave the house in pajama pants. Yoga pants. Of course. But I did go without make up these last three days to our registration/orientation. I figure that I will lower their expectations. If I show up all fancy dancy, sporting false eyelashes and contoured features, they aren’t going to know what hit them when I have a bad morning and show up all naked faced to drop off flyers some random day of the school year. You follow?

Next PTA event, I’ll just throw on some concealer and gloss. By the end of the year, I’ll be full faced in make up and it won’t be such a big deal.  I’ll look like a Before and After makeover photo from Ladies’ Home Journal. Whatever, I’m rambling.

The point is, I left the house early three mornings in a row this week. I came back mid afternoon and I was exhausted. My mind was numb from all the chatting, smiling and making-nice. I didn’t have anything left for the basic house stuff. How do you working mom’s do it? (future post <=== right there)

Okay- Sense of Humor– Remember two weeks ago when we were in the plush accommodations of the Grand Wailea resort in Maui? When we did all kinds of wonderful umbrella drinks, dinners, luaus…. ah yeah. This week, we are practically dirt poor. Not to make fun of poor people. Emma says, ‘mom- we are not poor. The man that wears that same coat all year and goes up and down the street talking to himself, he’s poor’. She has a point.

What I mean is, we pretty much spent any extra dollars on vacation, and then little ol’ me- the mastermind of this house (Remember, I’m the ‘house KEEPER’?) paid too many bills this pay period. Yeah. You heard me. Paid too much. Last year, about this time- I paid our mortgage twice in one month. How? Hmm, not sure. Was I drinking while on bill payer? Sure, maybe my 3rd cup of tea. But maybe it’s just the end of summer mush brain. Like the kids are needing flash cards and reading assignments to exercise their brain- maybe I need routine, like getting up early to make lunches, drive to the bus stop, wash soccer gear and PE uniforms to sharpen my mom brain. It seems late August brings out the ditz in me. Paying the mortgage TWICE is dumb people. It doesn’t leave a whole lot of extra money for the other bills. Kinda like what I did again this month.

So the reason my family needs a sense of humor, is because we kinda, sorta have no money for the next 8 days. No biggy. We’ll be fine. There’s bread and peanut butter in the pantry. The kids have their school supplies. I think we have enough toilet paper and pet food. See? Ha ha!! Isn’t that funny everyone? Hey family- don’t you just LOVE mama’s sense of humor? Too bad I’m not Snooki, and can’t just book a red carpet appearance for $50,000 when I’m short on cash.

Glass half full people. Glass half full.

Okay- well, I’m off to do laundry and collect cans on the side of the road if you need me.