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Saturday, July 20, 2024


Coastie Life 3.29.2006

By Rick Racela

CREST HAVEN- There is a popular little story about a man who comes home from his long day at work to find the house a mess, his kids running amok, and his wife, a stay-at-home mom, in her pajamas, curled up in bed reading a book.
The man asks his wife, “What happened here today?” and she replies, “You know when you come home and ask me what in the world I do all day?  Well, today I didn’t do it.”
I love this story.  It’s not easy being a parent, and it’s not easy being a stay-at-home mom.  I find that, although I work hard at my non-paid, domestic engineering job. my house somehow always looks like I’ve spent the day in my pajamas reading a book.
Every day I find myself lacking in time.  Time to get fully dressed (no make-up, hair in a pony tail), time to clean the house enough so that guests could pop in unexpectedly and I wouldn’t have to make excuses about the clutter, time to read the newspaper beyond skimming the headlines.
It always seems there are a plethora of things that need to be done immediately, with some things bumping up to the top of the list unexpectedly.
Take dirty diapers, for instance.  Even the most urgent of chores comes to a halt when there is a dirty diaper that needs changing.  Otherwise, it seems that whether I am picking up sticky macaroni and cheese off the floor, scrubbing toilets, or scraping a mysterious substance off the carpet in my son’s room, I am still doing one job while a slew of others are waiting.
And I can’t ever do them fast enough.
I know, for example, that if I don’t throw in a load of laundry a.s.a.p., nobody will have clean underwear in a hurry.  And if I don’t get the dirty dishes into the dishwasher and wipe down the countertop, pretty soon there won’t be any plates to eat from and nowhere to prepare food.
And while I move from sink to laundry basket, I realize I desperately need to do the grocery shopping; otherwise we won’t have to worry about clean dishes because there won’t be anything to eat.
And of course I still need to vacuum the carpet, dust the furniture, mop the kitchen floor, clean fingerprints off the windows and the rest of it.  It’s all very unromantic.
Of course every day I try to set aside the domestic chores for a while and make time for my kids.  After all, that’s why I chose to be a stay-at-home mom.  But even down time with the kids isn’t so easy.
Take my four-year-old son, Jonah.  He’s a great kid, but his energy is boundless and he moves like a cyclone from one project to another, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake.
My daughter, Jamie, is just 21 months and among her favorite pastimes is dumping all her toys out of their bins and onto the floor, followed closely by pulling whatever she can reach off shelves and tables.
Jamie often yells “Mine!” when her brother is playing with anything she deems worth claiming, whether it’s actually hers or not.  But I’ll tell you a secret, I’m beginning to think she has the right idea.
I wonder, if I tried yelling, “Mine!” would I get to be more in control of my own life?  Would I get the best looking head of lettuce at the grocery store or the last chocolate croissant at the bakery?
I could just explain to the offended party that sometimes it works for my daughter and, well, my time is really limited.
Maybe some day soon I will just decide to take the day off.  I will consider it earned vacation for all those hours of overtime I have put in for a job that runs night and day, 24/7.
When my husband comes home that evening, expecting dinner and a clean house, I will tell him I am not available.  I will take a hot bubble bath and crawl into bed with a good book.
I won’t cook meals, clean messes or answer questions about why there are no clean socks and whose turn it is to bathe the children.
For one day, I won’t be a mom, wife, caretaker, housekeeper or entertainment chairman.
But I’ll tell you what.  I’ve got another secret.
I think I’d really miss it.

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