What’s not to love about working and being a mom? There are lots of perks like overgrown shapeless hair from non-appointments at the salon, kitchen floors that look fine until you cross them barefoot at 2 a.m. to visit a wailing child and return to your bed with enough crumbs on your feet to build a piece of toast, and footstools that are covered in such intricate Lego formations that no one is welcome to relax in your house again.
If your home doesn’t look like this and you work and have children and aren’t lying, we hate you. You are not real, you came with batteries, the rest of us came with short tempers.
So here are things we’d like to say are PERFECTLY OK for mothers everywhere:
YOU Think about giving away your pets once a week. Let’s face it, in the chaos of motherhood and office gossip, the litter box is the last thing you need to change.
Fantasies of a pet-free household come over you about 3 days into the cat flat-out ignoring you but still finding time to eat the kids’ Nerf gun bullets and re-gift them to you on your bedspread.
Worse, the thoughts come when the cat has disappeared for an inordinate amount of time outdoors and you think, “Will we get another one if this cat doesn’t show up?” And a little, tiny, tired part of you says, No way.
Of course, all these terrible thoughts go out the door the moment the cat decides you exist, and she’s on your lap, you’re on the couch, and your ice cream is the perfect temperature between hard and melty.
The purring cat is so excruciatingly adorable you fill with gratitude for this little happy being in your life. You think, we have it all. Kids, cats, soccer practice, a regular Schwan’s delivery and an all-American Wii.
Then, the cat will hear an imaginary noise and transform into a she-devil without notice. You will have a split second to lift the cat straight up and out and toss her swiftly, without mercy, to the floor. Most of us will miss this opening.
Instead, the cat will dig her claws into your legs a quarter-inch deep and make a leap to safety. The threat, it will turn out, was you turning the page of your all-American book.
You will think about never getting a cat again the rest of the night.
YOU Do nothing as planned.
Do we know when or where our day will really take us? If you plan to work straight through lunch and go out with friends after work, don’t get too excited because one or all of your children will puke today.
If you plan to bike with a group of like-minded athletic types, bring your bike, shoes and energy drink. And, of course, something non-spandexy in case you end up at Peegeo’s before, during or after your scheduled ride.
If you get too serious about training, it’s guaranteed to set off the radar of one of your friends who will instantly declare the night Pizza Night, leaving his bike at home altogether and forcing you to come to your senses about how much time you really have between work, your children and that damn cat. You order a triple cheese pizza to acknowledge that your life is stringy and messy, but also quite delicious.
YOU DUMP THE ARTWORK.
One day you will walk into your house and realize there isn’t an inch of surface space not covered by paper.
The worst is the little desk area by the phone. What seemed an ingenious last-minute addition to your kitchen renovation has now become the headquarters for a paper factory.
Every type of paper known to mankind is on that 2-foot-square countertop, every ink, adhesive and clear plastic window ever invented for paper is there, towering and spilling and waiting to be sorted, paid, recycled or magnetized to the fridge.
You’ve waited too long. The paper is now older than some of your children. You are tempted, very tempted, to shove it all into a bin.
And so you do. With one hang-up. The kids’ school art projects. They are the one impossible thing to toss without looking away.
But here’s the upside: Your children are indeed masters of the pen, the brush, the gluestick. And, like all the greats, they are creating more every day, today as a matter of fact.
They must be freed of their past creations, because who among us hasn’t tossed our past work, only to create more and better? Of course, this “freeing of the past” must occur without them knowing or seeing. Consider saving one or two things, but if nothing jumps out at you, never fear. Like the smell of spring in the air, the best things are yet to come!