I like my kids, really I do. I was actually kind of sad to see them go back to school. You would think, then, that I would be super excited for them to come home every day, but this is not quite the case. For one thing, they get home at 3:00. I barely have any down-time after the babies go to sleep for naps. It’s barely long enough to eat some lunch (I love to have lunch in peace and quiet. I never eat with the babies), do some perusing on the internet, and get a couple of things done around the house.
That deep cleaning that I’m always saying will happen “later” never quite occurs because “later” is just about when the kids walk in the door. At least they get home in phases now. Elementary gets home first, followed by middle school an hour later. It’s less overwhelming that way.
Still, my peace suddenly disappears. Massive quantities of snacks are consumed, notes and flyers are littered everywhere, and everybody talks at once to tell me all the little facts abut their day. Not that I don’t want to hear them. I do. I totally do. It’s just that I feel like sometimes it’s more like a swarm of insects than a family of children. Frankly, it’s exhausting. At least during the summer I could pace myself with them. It was more like a mothering marathon, but now it’s a full-speed sprint.
Lasting several hours.
Then they’re off to trash the house. It’s amazing how quickly things can deteriorate. Don’t even start with, “just have everyone clean up after themselves.” Really, I feel like throwing up when I hear that. Or strangling someone. It’s my second most hated phrase (after, “just eat less and exercise more”) I don’t want to be the rolled-up-and-thrown-on-the-floor sock police. Or the who-was-playing-with-the-Leap-Pad police (because the answer is always “not me”. It’s the ghost children who live in my house and are always playing with toys while the human children sit innocently on the sofa, hands folded in their laps.)
They have a chore chart, which they have had for a couple of years now. But it’s like some sort of revelation each day when I ask them if they’ve finished what’s on the chore chart. “Chore chart??? Whaaat? I don’t understand those words.” Gaaah! Give me a break!
India broke her foot last week, so everything is messed up on the chart. She can’t unload the dishwasher or walk the dog with crutches. So now everyone has to take on extra chores. You can imagine how well that’s going over. But every day I have to repeat the phrase, “She can’t. Why not? Because her foot is broken. I don’t know how much longer. Just do it.” If they complain I usually give them an extra chore. But some of them are denser about this than others. Bella gets an extra chore just about every day. It’s really hard to think up those extra chores on the spur of the moment. Cleaning out the microwave is a good one, but I can’t use it every day. Vacuuming the family room is also good, especially since it needs to be done about every ten minutes. For some reason they are all scared of turning on the vacuum. They just sit there, waiting to get up the guts to turn it on. Like I just asked them to jump off the high dive. I want to scream, but I don’t.
Actually, I think that pretty much sums up motherhood. I want to scream, but I don’t.