Sometimes I wish I knew how to do a root canal. Because if I did, it would allow me to spend a few hours in my husband’s shoes, seeing exactly what he’s up against each day as a dentist.
Right now, I picture Logan’s days playing out like a scene from “The Devil Wears Prada” where Meryl Streep blusters into the building and everyone scurries to fall in line, handing her the exact thing she wants at any given moment and never daring to do something that might upset the efficiency of the well-oiled machine that is her office.
I know this isn’t 100 percent accurate, but there is some truth to it because there have been times where Logan has been completing some task at home, and without looking up or saying a word, has held out his hand, waiting for me to divine the exact thing he might need and place it directly into his outstretched palm.
I am not terribly amused in those moments. They bring into sharp focus how very differently my days play out, basically being swarmed by a pack of humans whose sole desire is to undo everything that I’ve managed to accomplish. I was once holding a baby on my lap while writing a reminder note to myself, and before I could even stand up to get to work, the baby had eaten it.
This is fairly representative of my “work at home” experience.
On any given day, I might walk into a room and the 4-year-old immediately asks for a sippy cup of milk at the same time as dinner is juuuust about to burn in the oven, and the first-grader is crying because his brother told him that he’s NOT a good sport when he really IS a good sport (clearly). And the third-grader is going on minute five of his blow-by-blow description of how the Pokemon card he traded for on the bus beats the powers of the one he USED to have, but only because one of them had 500 damage and guess how many damage THIS one has???? Guess how much mom? Do you think a thousand? Mom! Mom!!! Do you think a thousand?! No, FIVE THOUSAND!!!!
My head spins. I am pulled in six different directions. Needless to say, no one is standing at the ready, anxious to hand me a No. 15 rotary tooth file at the exact moment I need it.
And while my husband acknowledges how hard I work, he also seems to think there’s a certain amount of luxury involved in my day. I mean, he’s not wrong. I sleep in till 6:05 some mornings, and I’ve been known to splurge on the name brand lice shampoo when I’m feeling extra fancy.
I once attempted to explain to him the unique brand of exhaustion I feel as a stay-at-home mom: “Imagine you’ve been doing root canals all day, and you’re finally done and just sitting down to eat, and then someone asks you to do another one. And then a few more before you go to bed, and then they wake you up to do another one at 2 in the morning – every day for 18 years.”
But that’s kind of the gig, right? This is what I signed up for when I decided to become a mother: a job that does not stop unless someone is literally unconscious or I have taken an airplane to a foreign location (and even then, I get texts about someone missing the bus).
It’s exhausting, relentless and frustrating. It’s delightful, hilarious and fun. It works every emotional, spiritual, mental and physical muscle I have. And it’s the most fulfilling thing I have ever done.
To my children who are reading this, probably after having fought over who got to choose the cartoons this morning: I love you more than life itself. And if you’re about to ask me to make you pancakes, go find your father; this is his day off.
Julia Ditto shares her life with her husband, six children and random menagerie of farm animals. Her view of family life is firmly rooted in the Spokane Valley. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.