Motherhood is heavenly, but I stink to high heaven at mom jobs.
Despite the fact that I am a full time pencil portrait artist and you would think I’d have some pride in the appearance of my home (or myself—apologies to anyone who has seen me), I just don’t. I’ve never been into decorating my house unless it’s Christmas. Hang onto your Santa hat, then! Otherwise, not so much.
A neighbor helpfully pointed out that my walls were all boring white several years after we moved in and I sort of wanted to pinch her, but she had a point. I wish I had a knack for knick-knack whatnot.
I also struggle with cleaning, shopping and dinner prep because I’m the opposite of a multi-tasker. I have a scorching case of diagnosed yet untreated Adult ADD. I’m a one-thing-at-a-time-er until I get distracted by something else, then I’m all about that thing, whether or not dinner’s forgotten in the oven. I postpone shopping until I can no longer ignore everyone standing in front of open empty cupboards, sighing sadly.
When I finally make dinner, all or most of the following occur:
1. I break something, spill something or burn myself.
a. I scream bloody murder.
b. My husband, Joe, sweetly asks if I’m okay.
c. I refuse to answer while banging pans around and power-sulking.
2. I forget to start or stop cooking something.
a. I holler-announce my mistake, such as “Damn! I forgot to turn the oven on,” or “Super, the pork chops are cremated again.”
b. Joe gently reminds me that he enjoys burnt food (he actually does) and all is not lost.
c. Nobody understands how close I came to not swearing this time.
3. I feed my husband and sons something different than what I eat.
b. Everyone finishes before I do.
c. I eat my sons’ leftovers.
d. I am disgusted with myself.
4. I feed myself the same thing as the rest of the family.
a. I give myself a somewhat more girly portion than the guys (still a generous dude portion in most households).
b. We begin a wolfing contest and I tie for first, or I am a close second.
c. Repeat 3c.
d. Repeat 3d.
Everyone around here wants dinner every day and I can’t remember to take something out of the freezer and/or buy food ahead of time that counts as healthy dinner. Plus all the mishaps…it’s stressful.
When Joe makes dinner, he follows a recipe and pre-measures all the ingredients in adorable little ceramic containers that he purchased himself. His work area is tidy. When he’s finished, it hardly ever looks like an even messier kitchen was dropped on top of ours from a great height. He happily accomplishes his culinary goals as instructed by his beloved cooking shows.
Joe’s a project manager and I am a neurotic flibbertigibbet artist, so it all sort of makes sense. And yet, it secretly feels like the mom version of emasculation.
I may be more 1950 than 2014, but it seems like this household stuff should be more in my lane. If only I could remember what to do and cry less and stop demanding pronouncements of gratitude from everyone who lives here.
My friends seem to keep their home plates spinning so beautifully. For me, it’s a nonstop hard labor of love keeping my big boys clothed, fed and safe from tripping over my shoes in every room. Why does the necessity of each household task present itself as a daily surprise?
While it’s challenging for me (as I keep reminding everyone), it’s all worth it. Especially when my three dear men refuse to complain about the crunchy rice, the mushy green beans, the burnt chops.
“It’s not my favorite,” is the most brutal criticism Joe musters.
And yet…despite my questionable household skills, I’m not afraid to look up online repair instructions and start poking around inside the furnace. When there was a massive beehive outside our second floor window, Joe said, “Dang! Look at that thing! We’ll need to call someone.” I marched upstairs with a towel around my arm, whacked it repeatedly with Max’s hockey stick and then shot it with bee killer juice after it fell to the ground.
Joe would prefer to write a check rather than risk bee stings or electrocution. I hate paying for anything.
I may stink at most of the household stuff, but I do kick ass at the raising my boys part. And I can be just a little bit of a bad ass…when I’m not sobbing somewhere because someone hurt my feelings.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editorial Assistant: Emily Bartran / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: elephant archives