Continued Confessions of a Slacker Mom (from Nov 2010)
I'm not really all that much of a Type A, really. I used to be. When I was a student, and an outside of the home worker, I was the best of the best. Overachiever. Totally detail oriented. I worked my ass off and tried my damndest to get it just right. But my stay-at-home mama personae seems to more like, I don't know, is there a type Q? (It's somewhere pretty far down the alphabet chain, at any rate). I don't have a just-so house, I'm usually running behind or forgetting something, or both, the kids are almost never stain-free and/or clean-faced (nor am I), and I'm totally okay with coming in second place (or, like tenth). Or maybe forgoing the race altogether. I'm more than okay with the fact that the Jones' do it better. Good on the Jones'!
I do wonder though, how my working personality has changed so much with my roles? Is it the monotony of doing the same repetitive tasks over and over again, resulting in a bit of, you know, soul suckage? Is it the lack of external value (and hence validation) attached to the work I do? Is it the fact that over time I've come to realize that the housework is essentially useless because it last -2 seconds, so my energy is better spent ensuring the children make it through the day a but stimulated and well, unmaimed? (Or all of these things in combination?) Whatever the reasons, it's clear that I'm a slacker mom. There is no overachieving going on behind these walls, other than the attempts to provide stimulating, fun activities for the childrens once in awhile. (Again - I emphasize once in awhile, because 1. I think children are generally way over-activitied, and 2. this provides me with a nice excuse to let them do their own thing/let them watch too much tv when I need to).
Here are some examples of my slackage:
1. The house is a mess. Again. Still. There are dirty dishes on the counter. And baby food all over the kitchen floor which sticks to my slippers as I walk. The children are napping at the same time. A reasonably achieving mom would take the time to deal with the mess so she can, you know, interact with the kids when they wake from their naps. Me - I make tea. And then I blog. Or check my facebook. Or both. This is my unpaid break in my unpaid day. And there ain't enough sticky in the world to make that floor worth washing on my break. (If cleanliness is next to godliness, it's actually possible that I might be Satan, or at least a close devotee.)
2. I don't make beds. Ever. Not ever. Nope. Never. (What's the point, I ask you?)
3. Sometimes, I fill the sink with dirty dishes and sudsy water and let Boy-o wash them. Who says child labour can't be fun?
4. I cannot recall the last time I picked up a vacuum cleaner.
5. We may soon have a contest to name the dust-bunnies.
6. I don't mind cooking, but I HATE meal-planning. Hate. Hate. Hate it.
7. I let the kids watch TV when I want an extra break or want to finish a blog. As I've previously mentioned, unlike many granola parents I know, I don't think TV is the enemy. In fact, I kinda think of it as an comforting friend.
8. I don't like to play. I'm not a player. There - I've said it. The cardinal sin of parenting. I don't like to get down on the floor and play. I'm a bad, bad mother and a bad bad person. Don't get me wrong - I like spending time with my kiddos. I'll set up art projects for them, or fieldtrips, or watch them play dress-up, or engage in a game of tag or building blocks now and again. And I love to have a kitchen dance party or a nice long chat or story read with my smalls. But I'm not, you know, in love with hunkering down to play all day long. (Which is but one of the reasons I want to clobber people who tell me that I'm so lucky to be able to stay home and play with my kids all day. Seriously, people!) I'm not even sure, pseudo-grown-up, serious child that I was, that I even liked playing when I was a child. That's just me. (That's why I'm rocksteady and my wife is the rockstar. She plays, I kiss boo-boos, it all comes out in the wash).
9. Potty mouth. Potty mouth. Potty mouth. "Mama! Did you just say "JEA-ZUZ?!" or alternatively, "MAMA! Did you just say "FACK?"
10. KD. Yum. And it's got cauliflower in the noodles now. So whatever.
Now - though I shouldn't have to say it, I will (because some Pollyanna somewhere will be reading this going, "Doesn't she even like kids?" or "Why doesn't she just go back to work then," or something equally annoyingly, cloyingly, Pollyanna, I'm-A-Better-Housewife-Than-You. I love my kids. I love my life with my kids at home (except for the days where it starts to suck out my soul, but work outside the home jobs tend to do that too, if memory serves). No job is consistantly fulfilling, and all jobs get complained about. (Blah blah broken record blah blah). Most stay-at-homers probably are a better housewife than me. And I'm all kinds of okay with that. The mechanics of household maintenance are not skills that have ever felt natural to me, and that's not likely to change any time soon.
I'm just not a Type A anymore. And I don't think that being a proudly slacker (potty-mouthed, dirty-housed, non-playing) mama makes me a bad mama. I like to think that what I lack in on-the-ground-household-maintenance-skills, I make up for in thoughtfulness about the social, cognitive and emotional growth of my smalls. And - my slackness makes me a happier and saner mama (which my kiddos really benefit from).
And, as an added bonus, it gives me a little something extra to be smart-ass-y about. And you all now how much I loves me some smart-ass-y-ness now and again.