Today at work, a software consultant was in our office, schmoozing with my boss. She brought him around to introduce to everyone, and when she got to me, she repeated the same introduction I've heard time and time again.
"This is Misti! She's the baby around here. She takes care of all of us. She's going to come visit us in the nursing home in a few years to pluck our chin hairs and make sure we aren't drooling on ourselves. And she's Super Mom! She has three boys, and she cooks every night! She is just amazing because this entire health system wouldn't run without her, and then she goes home and takes care of her kids and her husband..."
Don't let the rest of this paragraph fool you. I have a fantastic boss and great co-workers.
However....when she starts this intro, I usually quit listening after "baby"...I don't particularly care to be labeled as the youngest person in the office...being the youngest carries the stigma that I'm inexperienced and incapable, when it really should be saying that I am actually in possession of a sharp mind and the ability to complete my tasks in a timely and efficient manner.
And secondly, I don't particularly enjoy being singled out...Its embarrassing!!! And its a lie!!! Lord knows I don't feel like Super Mom. My exceedingly essential (though dejectedly unacknowledged) role in the administration of the health system keeps me there later than I would like some days, and it requires my attention when I am at home as well. It works out fine with my husband's schedule, because he gets off in time to pick the kids up after school every day. And for the most part, he is fairly helpful around the house, doing the dishes and starting some laundry. He's hoping for a SAHD gig someday soon. However, his version of a "clean house" isn't necessarily the same as mine. He can look at a room with stacked piles and think its tidy, whereas I would prefer the stacked piles be dispersed to their correct locations.
When I finally get home from work, its time to make dinner, which I actually enjoy doing, and it gives me something mindless to do after a stressful day. However, once dinner is finished and I take inventory of what needs to be done around the house, I often find myself overwhelmed with the mounting tasks that are looming, and, more often than not, I feel so inundated that some nights I sit on the couch and do nothing, drowning my sorrows in a bowl of Cap'N Crunch and watching Rock of Love Bus, all the while accepting defeat and saying to myself, "If only I were a stay at home mom..."
But then I think to myself, even if I was a SAHM, there's no guarantee any of this stuff around the house would get done. I would probably acquire a whole new set of to-do's, ones that I can't do because I work, like homeroom mom, or Cub Scout leader, or perhaps I would be able to get a PTA set up for Cutie Pie and Pot Pie's school since my past attempts at starting one have failed. And without my job, we wouldn't have access to the fantastic child care center where Pumpkin Pie attends, and I would most definitely end up home-schooling him every day to get him ready for pre-k and Kindergarten. Would I absolutely love to do all of these things? You betcha! But I'd probably still have a messy home. Laundry and dishes and general organization always take a backseat to everything else that I have going on. I do my best to get things done around the house, but I am very aware of the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day. Do I wish my house was more organized? Of course. But I'm more concerned with helping my kids with their homework and spending time with them having fun, as well as quality time with my Sweetie Pie. Sure, most of the time I feel somewhat like an undisciplined failure in the homemaker department, but I'm coping. One of my goals for 2009 is to get more control over my house. I'm hoping for some direction and helpful hints from the handful of people who read my blog. So, feel free to leave me your comments with ideas that can help me...I need all of the help I can get!