I get up. Progressively snuggle, cajole, yell the children out the door (and rejoice on the days where the progression ends at cajole). Load and unload the laundry, the dishwasher. Make beds, put away clothes, pick up forgotten socks, stack and purge scattered papers. I shop for groceries (or clothes, or housewares) making sure to get a little something they each love. I write checks, balance accounts, lick and stamp envelopes to make sure the bills go out on time.
I wipe breakfast off faces. I make sure soccer, baseball, piano, library miscellany and people are where they need to be when they need to be. Dentist, doctors, birthdays, school holidays.
I pack nourishing snacks, lunches. Unpack lunch bags, wipe them down. Vacuum, dust, swish toilets, wipe counters. Make lists of home projects, tackle what I can. Try to keep the car free from the detritus of back and forth and here and there.
I provide and clean up dinner, check that the homework is done and the permission slips are signed, sign assignment notebooks, nag about piano and spelling word practice. I make sure teeth are brushed, retainers are worn, minutes are spent reading. I tuck in and snuggle and kiss and listen to stories about the day.
I go to bed with a whirling list of things that went well, things that did not, things I need to accomplish tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. I try to make my brain shut up.
My day is not unique. It’s the day of parents (mostly moms) all over the western world.
It’s exhausting, frustrating, and absolute magic.
We are magic.
And I needed to hear that today and thought maybe you did too.
*I did once tell Abram I was magic and he very quickly reminded me that if I was magic, I’d find a way so the toilets would clean themselves…smart kid, that boy.
This is a lovely post, Kate 🙂 . I do kinda wish though, that there was less “smoke and mirrors” (to continue the analogy) for things that are done by parents when no one (the other spouse/partner or kids) is around to see them happen. For example, I was telling my husband the other day that I had made our “usual” vegetable broth concentrate the day before, and that it had taken me at least two hours of hands-on work. He was baffled. He said, “but don’t you just take that powder that we used to use, and mix it up with water, and then freeze it in the portions?”. “Um, no!” I replied, and then proceeded to explain how many things needed to be cleaned, chopped, weighed, food processed, cooked, further food processed, then doled out TEASPOONFULS at a time onto a cookie sheet and frozen. He had been using these drops of veg broth for his weekend cooking for MONTHS without having a clue about the work it had taken to produce them. To him, they had just “somehow” appeared in the freezer!
The “easy answer” (in quotation marks because I think it’s far from easy sometimes) to whatever frustrations we may be feeling about all this is to get our kids and spouses acquainted with some of tasks themselves 😉 .
Jess and I were just talking about how all the work I do is really invisible…until I can’t do it for some reason. It’s easy to take clean counters for granted when they are always clean (or broth when it’s always in the freezer).
This post is making me look forward to summer, when this is what my days will look like. When I can enjoy more than resent all the chores that go into making a home/life for my family.
Just a few more weeks…
Your family is lucky to have you. And I agree there is magic in all of this somewhere, even if I can’t name it exactly.
I’m the exact opposite now that both of mine are in school – there’s less time in the summer, though life is less hurried. I DO tend to enjoy my time more though. Looking forward to art projects and lazy pool days and bus trips to the library. I don’t know how many more summers I’m going to have when they still like me this much. 🙂