I am home with four kids - two girls, two boys - ages 14, 6, 5 and 3 (and when I started this blog, just a little over two years ago, I had an infant, a 2yr old, 3yr old and 12yr old - feels like a lifetime ago, but it wasn't ;-). Until about four or five years ago, I worked in marketing. I have been and done many things - dancer, magazine "multi-tasker", advertising copywriter, gymnastics coach, resort town waitress, grad student, etc. Now my areas of expertise are different and diverse. I am savvy, efficient, patient and earthy (like it or not). I am a better cook, an Ok herb gardener, an impressive artist to my kids, an active and prolific photographer, a childrens' clothing stylist (in my head), a manager of all things "household" and a news enthusiast (from politics to celebrity). I am more cynical though less of a worrier / hypochondriac than I used to be. I am increasingly proud of what I do with kids, family and home, but I do still present myself as a "freelance writer".
So - after cleaning my teen's room for her (sooo much homework, Mommy) - fighting with her on meeting these boys she's going to the homecoming dances with before they go (we kinda / sorta know one - the family of the other) - dealing with her snarky / turn her nose up at ALL my dinners, lunches, etc. (the other day, she opened the refrigerator and told me that the herbs in the freezer "like, totally needed to be thrown away" - at which time, I firmly - like really firmly - let her know that, despite her dislike of all my food, I do cook daily with fresh herbs and have used and replaced the thyme numerous times, the dill was new, the basil was freshly picked and just frozen - same with the rosemary... blah blah blah - it was all FRESH - and that just because SHE didn't notice what I do and how I do it doesn't mean that I am a total slacker, bad housekeeper, give no attention to my kitchen type person - Sorry - waaaay digressing, but I know she is around families with children who are all older, and, therefore, self-sufficient and able to make their own mac and cheese, clean their rooms, etc. I have little ones and must seem harried and behind in everything all the time to her - pathetic as I schlump around in my sweats and flip flops, changing pull-ups, organizing kids clothes, giving baths to muddy preschoolers, slapping together tunafish sandwiches when I haven't had time to make dinner, ignoring my own haircuts, dentist appointments, etc. to make it all happen for them - her included. Oh well. BUT - I do feel bad when I snap like that.).
Anyway.... after having her ignore all our hiking, fishing and biking outings with family and having to hear about those her friends do participate in with their families or she participates in with their families - after taking special care to wash her uniform components to the point of hand washing, using delicate cycle and special detergent, staying up late to make sure I retrieve them in time to lay them flat all night, I have to hear that there is nothing to eat in the house (I keep a steady supply of her very specific food likes - deli meat and cheese, the buns she likes, frozen pizzas, her fave mac and cheese, salad dressing she likes, bell peppers or carrots that she does like and should eat more of, chocolate ice cream, fresh baked cookies, sesame sticks, hummus and pita, fitness bars and bottled water) and that she'll TRY to find something to eat (ignoring my pot roast, roast chicken, lasagne, etc.) - I also have to hear that I lost her uniform shirt and that she thinks it it like totally gross that she would have to wear the same one again tomorrow because the other is like totally gone (I found it in the laundry basket with the whites I did the other day and lugged up the stairs last night after everyone was in bed - having rotated another load out late evening) - and I have to get chastised and talked down to for suggesting a dress buying outing for homecoming later in the week because like they'll be totally gone by then and I wanted to go with my friend (who then ended up not going on Sat so my snarky teen lost interest - God forbid she should go with me alone - after all, I was the loser that no one EVER asked to a dance - I didn't even know that the corsage, guy's outfit, etc. had to be coordinated - embarrassing and sad but true - no one ever asked me to a dance aside from back in 7th grade when I wasn't allowed to go and little did I know that would be the first and last time - I have never worn a formal gown in my life - I have never been given a corsage or flowers for special event - again, in my life. Hang head in shame, fight those 20+ year old tears that have NEVER fallen for any of these injustices and never will, and... move on - though.... I would have loved it if my Mom wanted to shop with me - and she did sometimes, but... as a daughter, I was a disappointment despite trying so hard to be otherwise). Anyway .... I love my wee little kids - I love my teen - I love my hubby. I know they all return the sentiment, but... sometimes..... I feel like I'm letting them all down (though hubby - equally as tired these days and working like a dog lately himself) - running out of pizzas for quick pre-game dinners - folding but not getting to put away the laundry on a given day or even two - leaving some of the outside toys out when it rains, letting them get dirty or leaf-covered - NOT being able to make it to Target, the grocery store, the shoe store and Steak n Shake in less than an hour - daring to mention that I want to watch one show on TV a week without being interrupted. How dare I schedule flu shots for everyone - how dare I get tired - how dare I even suggest that the sneakers I just bought two months ago are fine for another sports season?!?! In my reasonable mind, I know that I am doing my best - in that part of my brain that suspects that I might be a sub-standard housekeeper, cook, chauffeur and all-around Mom, I let it get to me.
Tonight, I will wait for hubby to get home at 5 (way early for him) - I will have the boys dressed for soccer practice (and hubby will gladly take them there) - I will have everyone fed - I will have all bath components laid out for later when I might not be here later in the evening - I will have Lil suited up and ready to go (jacket, sippy cup, extra pull-ups, etc.) - I will have all school stuff ready for tomorrow for EVERYBODY (photo order forms, uniforms, back packs, etc.) - and I will drive nearly an hour to watch Olivia play field hockey (having sent money for lunch and dinner since she would be boarding the team bus again - carefully washed and folded everything she needed for today - had hubby drive her to the bus stop with school project in hand....), and I will bring her home early if she wants me to so that she can work done - or I will stay and watch her varsity team mates if that's what she wants me to do (and a quick thank you to those who help me get all this done - carpooling or whatever). I am proud of her - I want her to be happy and successful. And .... I am doing my "job" - I am mostly enjoying it - and, like many of you, I am also fighting the lack of confidence and / or the functioning in the vacuum that - A. prompted me to start this blog a few years ago, and B. allows me to vent and get advice from my peeps (you guys). Rock on, Moms - we do what we do well. Think on that today (and ignore my rantings OR use them to gain your own perspective.... ALL GOOD, right?).
So .... like I said - apologies for the doom and gloom. To redeem myself, here is a link on how vaccines do not appear to lead to autism (increasing evidence as such has been mounting lately, as you know). Encouraging news. Little ones fighting - I just heard a crash - have been summoned for more food and drink despite just fetching the same 15 min ago - I am not dressed..... Gotta go.
Photo: Me - in Olivia's room (hey - I'm like totally in your room. Nah na na na NAH NAH).