Happy Mother’s Day?

The sun isn’t very bright yet when she wakes to the sound of loud whispering, to the sight of a homemade paper card a few millimeters from her face. The smell is that of unsorted laundry; bedsheets a tad late for their cleaning, with an infusion of overdue diaper. She doesn’t seem able to lift her legs, or one arm. Even her lower extremities are penned as the sleepy man to her side wakes enough to stretch and embrace what he can reach affectionately.

Using her free hand, she grasps at the paper and pulls it to the range at which she can make out its contents. It’s too early, her brain complains, to decipher Cyrillic. She blinks and refocuses. Ah, she realizes, those were flowers -and probably people. Maybe letters.

Taking a guess, she attempts speech. “How nice, Sweetheart!” The artist frowns at the unusually croaky sounds. She clears her throat some, and tries again. “I see you drew me and you and flowers…” She relaxes as his scowl turns to smiles. Satisfied, he turns and falls off the bed, relieving one pinned leg.

The next boy thrusts his offering at equal facial distance to the first, then turns and frowns disinterestedly at the wall. This one is definitely English; it’s even partially typed. She sees he is clearly the most talkative child on paper, too, with so many one-word responses to this standard form his class was given. Age: 33, Hair: brown, Favorite food: food. She smiles, then looks more strained at the next two answers he’d supplied: She likes to … do dishes, She’s really good at … doing dishes. She tries to look grateful as he’s pretending not to watch but really is. “Thanks, Honey,” she smiles and is not surprised as he shrugs and dodges her attempts to hug him. He, too, leaves the bed and another leg free.

She looks to her other arm and her other half. Both smile up at her with similar expressions. Genetics will do that. “I love you, Mommy,” the wet diaper owner says sweetly. He cringes adorably as she kisses a plump cheek.

Dad sighs again and sits up. “Let’s go make Mommy breakfast,” he tells his youngest. He scoops her remaining impediment into the air playfully. He looks down at the bedheaded beauty who birthed them all.

“Happy Mother’s Day,” he says, and leaves.

Finally alone, she looks over her offspring’s offerings, and cries.

kevin-liang-683790-unsplash

(I originally wrote this and posted it on Facebook on May 14, 2017.)

—————

Sunday, May 5: “Parenting is Hard, so Why Still Do It?,” a fantastic piece that came after a really long week.

Monday, May 6: Wrote a ‘poem’ titled, “Short Mom Rap.”

Tuesday, May 7: Shared a quote on patience by Paulo Coehlo.

Wednesday, May 8: Recommended against Sour Patch Kids cereal and others of its milk.

Thursday, May 9: “Those Little Shutterbugs,” a snippet hoping that all those phone pics will lead my kids to a productive life as a photographer.

Friday, May 10: “Take Time for You. Ish.” Advised parents, everywhere, to eschew the guilt and get out.

Saturday, May 11: Shared Heather is a Hot Mess‘s tweet about Magic Socks (or Magic Couches).

Sunday, May 12: Happy Mother’s Day!

Photo Credit:
kevin liang

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

What Do You Do All Day?

What do you do all day?

When I was a young mom, a childhood friend asked me this. I understand that the question is among the Top Ten mothers hear, but it was the first time someone had literally asked me.

My friend had been working and going to school. She was genuinely curious about what filled my time each day since I did not have a job outside the home.

At the time, I really didn’t do much. I say that now because I …just barely sat down to eat lunch and it’s 2:30 p.m. I feel lucky that I showered this morning before everyone awoke.

alexander-dummer-150646-unsplash

So… what do I do all day?

Just for kicks, let’s break today’s schedule down so far:

Night before: stayed up late to do my online homework after staying up late helping my second son start work on complete his science fair project.

3:00 a.m. Woke the five-year-old up to go potty because he’s had two nighttime accidents.

5:00 a.m. Woke to tell my alarm that was way too early. Went back to sleep without recalling this conversation.

6:00 a.m. Got up and showered.

6:30 a.m. – 8:10 a.m. A haze of getting four children and a husband up, going, breakfasted, clothed, up again, going again, thanking the wonderful husband for making lunches, breakfasting again, reminding boys to brush teeth, finding shoes, thanking the wonderful husband for gluing pictures and a header onto a trifold board, getting them all out to the car, and finding my coat and keys.

8:30ish a.m. Arrived at school and helped two boys carry their extras into said school.

9:00 a.m. Left school to run errands.

12:30 p.m. Came back home from errands to post office, grocery store, pharmacy, library, and pharmacy again.

12:30 p.m. – 1:20 p.m. Fed Five whilst putting away groceries and distracting him with “Curious George” cartoons.

1:40 p.m. Ignored loud ‘napping’ noises upstairs as I finally made my lunch.

2:00 p.m. Updated monthly calendar on wall with appointments and dinner plans (for three days so far! Woot!).

2:15 p.m. Sat to eat my lunch and type a blog post.

In addition: told my oldest son who called that I am not going to pick him up early from school because he’s bored.

The rest of the day is just as busy; with karate lessons, cub scouts (for the boys and for me because I’m a den leader), dinner, computer time, homework, baths or showers, bedtime, and bed.

adult-angry-beautiful-366063

If you are still with me, then you can see that being a mother is busy. You probably also saw that it is mind-numbingly dull. I mean, I lived this schedule and my brain skipped as many lines as it could in reading over it.

Another, later time that I was asked The Question:

What do you do all day?

I came up with a metaphorIt’s like you’ve been assigned to keep a pot of water almost-boiling on the stove all day. You need to make sure the pot doesn’t actually boil, so you have to watch it and can’t really do anything else diverting.

I think raising a toddler is a lot like this, especially if he or she has dropped The Nap. You have to watch the toddler all the time to be certain he or she doesn’t start a fire, but any attempts to do other things lead to fires.

Now that I am older and have older (and more) children, the scenario of the pot is still true. On top of that, though; I also need to mop the floor around the stove, allow others to maintain their own pots without interfering too much, snap at them for fighting over shared space around the stove, and squeeze another pan on there for making dinner.

Having been a stay at home mother for the duration of these child-rearing years, I have a question for the parents who work on top of all that:

What do you do all day, and how the heck do you do it??

rawpixel-660721-unsplash

Morning Routines

daiga-ellaby-354484-unsplash

The boys’ carpool ride arrives at 8:10 a.m.

Right on cue; our three handsome children who attend elementary school line up at the door Sound of Music style. They’re dressed smartly. They’re clean, their clothes are clean and pressed, and their socks and shoes match each other. What’s more, they’ve packed their own healthy lunch and eaten their own balanced breakfast. As I kiss each on the top of his head, I am treated to three radiant, teeth-brushed smiles. They skip out the door holding hands and singing of brotherly love and making the world a better place. “Goodbye, Mother, Dear,” they chorus as they skip.

Yep, in a parallel universe.

In this universe, my neighbor often shows up around 8:15ish. All right: 8:20. Ish. We’re near the end of the school year, after all.

As if they cannot possibly hear a knock that has sounded on the front door since last August, my elementary-aged children continue to do what they were doing. Boy #1 scrolls down his Amazon wish list to see if he’s already added that particular Lego set. Boy #2 enters the room to demand to know where his mother put his item that he absolutely must have RIGHT NOW. Boy #3 is casually eating cereal while reading a book.

According to an advanced mathematical formula I’ve developed, only 1/3 of the boys will be dressed. 1/2 of that third will not be fully dressed. Further; 0% will have completely clean garments, matching socks, or even matching shoes. The only thing my offspring know about ironing is that the iron gets really hot and they will be burned alive by parents yelling at them if they get within 5 feet of it.

The next five minutes are a complete chaos of sorting shirts to backs, shoes to correct feet and owners, food to lunchbags, backpacks to backs, and a few parental hands to figurative backsides. After passing a last-minute toothbrush swipe and underwear check, my little darlings grumble out the door to the sound of impatient honking.

I love my neighbor. She drives in the morning because she’s doing that whole work-outside-the-home thing, and I’m not usually dressed before 10 because I’m not.

She and I love our children. We love them getting ready on time, dressed in a manner that upholds the family name, and sitting quietly and seat buckledly during carpool. We especially love when they do all of these things without prompting.

It’s a good thing we love them in the real world, too.