Published February 26, 2008 by
It’s hard to think about writing a free-flowing letter when my life seems so programmed. Don’t misunderstand. It’s a good life, full of kids, work, husband, endless house renovations, dogs, cat, after-school activities, friends when they can fit in, and a whole lot of family with a whole lot of issues.
So I write this on a Wednesday eve, the oldest finally in bed and asleep after many minutes of wailing because she felt I’d yelled at her. “That’s how I feel,” she said when I commented that I had not yelled. How can you argue with someone’s feelings? The husband has retired to the bedroom to watch the baseball division playoffs, wondering but not counting on a little “nookie nookie” when I come to bed. That’s a constant and amusing subject-my sex drive. “Is it that you’re not interested?” my husband asks. “Is there anything that really turns you on,” he queries on a fairly regular basis?
It’s not that difficult to figure out why my sex drive isn’t at its height on a usual weeknight. It’s up at 6: 10 A.M.-press the snooze button two times for an additional ten minutes before going into overdrive for the next sixteen hours. Then it’s into the shower-let the hot, hot water run on my back, which is in constant ache mode since exercise was the first thing to hit the road when work and kids and everything else took over. Soon my husband and I share our constitutional morning bathroom dialogue-what’s on your agenda, can you pick up the kids, any meetings tonight? Then it’s what do I wear…
Child no. 1 arrives with a hole in his pajamas Superman pajamas-which he’s decided to wear to preschool today. Sorry, honey, I say, but the hole is right where your penis is and it really wouldn’t be good for you to go to school like that. “I’m gonna wear them anyway,” he replies. Before the final chapter of this story, there are plenty of negotiations. Child no. 2 has arisen. She’s in the other bathroom and says “go away” when I ask if she needs any help. Fine with me, I’m gone.
Found an outfit, don’t feel like making the bed, and just want to see if my husband will do more than simply pull up the sheets. Sheets pulled up-no complaints here. Not a good hair day. Oh, well. Breakfast, make lunches, and out the door by 7:30. One child to preschool, one to before-school care, and parents off to work. Work, work, work. Yes, we like it. It’s exhilarating, gives us mental stimulation, anxiety, satisfaction, and money.
At 5:00 P.M., pick up Child no. 1; 5:20 P.M., pick up Child no. 2; 5:45 P.M., home. Backyard dug up–drainage problem. Walk around the mud and hope the yard is seeded before winter. The dogs are ecstatic to see me and the kids. Jump on the kids and make them yell and cry. Into the house, change my clothes so the silk blouse can make it through one more workday before it hits the dry cleaner, and the kids settle in for a video. Dinner-what tonight? The homemade bean and beef soup was a hit for my hubby, a bomb for the kids. How about canned soup? Yes, canned soup it is. At 7:10, upstairs and bath time. The younger one wants to be dirty for the rest of his life dirty hair, long fingernails and toenails, the works. A minor struggle, but then into the tub. The older one is in heaven, hot water, ultimate relaxation and feeling good for a six-year-old. Bedtime around the corner after teeth brushing and pee time. Books for both kids and then…
It’s my time. Yes, there are the dishes, the bills, the phone calls I should make to my grandmother, mother, father, brother in Detroit, mother-in-law who’s making an effort to keep the barbs off the phone lines, and then a friend. God, how I love to go out with a friend and have some beers, or even better, champagne and cigarettes, and get one of those nice glows.
Full is my life. And it’s my choice. I’m not sure I thought the treadmill would be this fast, though there are days when the pace slows a bit. I know I’m not a stay-at-home mom. I’d be a loony tune. I love my managerial position, my hands in a pot that makes a difference in many people’s lives. Someday I’ll make the time to lie in the sun, plant a small garden and weed it often enough to differentiate the plants from the weeds, ride my bike to nowhere with my husband, and find a rolling hill to lie on and just stare at the clouds rolling by.Would I trade my life for another? No. Do I check myself at least once a week to make sure the stress level remains manageable? Yes. And so, as I feel like Superwoman and enjoy the comments others make acknowledging that I juggle a lot, I do have that inner peace of happiness.