Apr 9, 2008

My little angel!

People seldom are able to grasp the enormity of work that a work at home mom performs everyday. It is emotionally taxing and physically draining with little reward. I am sure that many people would gasp at that statement, after all isn't being with your kids rewarding, doesn't their love make it all worth while, and isn't being at home with kids an amazing thing that I should relish and feel privileged to achieve? That is true on some level, but on the largest level it is only a sacrifice that I make for my children. Developmentally having one primary caregiver, preferably the mother, is what is best for a child. Children will grow up just fine regardless, but often there is a potential that is missed (similar to not breastfeeding). My point being that I do not stay at home for personal benefit. It has been a difficult choice that we made for the benefit of our children.

Today has been an example of the difficulty in trying to express how much I do in a day. I often say to people that all I do is follow Landis around and clean up his messes. Meanwhile the messes of Teilee, myself, and Nick often miss any attention at all. This is why when a person visits they will find our house ashamedly in constant disarray. Often people will wonder why I can't keep my house in order, after all I AM at home all day. I have been guilty of that judgment before, particularly before I had two kids! I wonder what irresponsible people would leave keys in the door, or a credit card laying in the grass out front, or 7 loads of clean laundry unfolded on the dirty floor in the living room (which by the way I folded and put away despite the random hair and pieces of food attached to them). These are all sins I witnessed another mom commit and I wondered what was wrong with her. Now every one of them has been an offense I have been guilty of! I considered listing all of the messes I cleaned up today, all of the fires I extinguished while simultaneously entertaining and caring for two small children. I decided to show you instead. This picture is from two days ago, however it is only 3 days worth of laundry. I do about 2 loads a day (despite wearing the same pants for a week). If I don't keep up than this is what I end up with:

Today the Landis bell rang at 5:30 am I rose and nursed him and proceeded to start our day. Feeding the kids is always priority number one. This morning we were a little short of acceptable food to salve their empty bellies. That was the first challenge which turned into a problem as it was difficult to maneuver in the kitchen. Both sides of the sink, the counter, and the dishwasher were full of dirty dishes. We had run out of detergent and so I removed everything piled it ten dishes deep on the counter and went to work. When an acceptable amount had been washed and set to dry in the dishwasher I was able to access food and water from the sink (previously made impossible by the towering mess).

This picture was taken after I had washed the acceptable amount of dishes that made it possible to function in the kitchen. Yes, counters are still full to brimming with dishes.

While washing dishes, feeding kids, and starting a load of laundry I changed a diaper that unfortunately couldn't be cleaned by wiping. This sort of diaper combined with a sensitive bum requires that the crying child be placed in the bathtub so that the area can be showered off.

In the middle of this Teilee proceeds to tell me that there was cat hair in the living room. "Of course there is we have three cats", was my thought but I went to check (with Landis in towel). Yep cat hair alright, expelled from a stomach of a cat. Thanks to cat number 3 there are hair balls on the floor and on my comforter slung over the couch. (Yeah! More Laundry)! I cleaned and went back to work in the kitchen. Meanwhile I had suggested to Teilee that she could help out by going and getting dressed (with Landis in tow). Eventually Teilee came out dressed and ready to play, awesome! After about 10 min. I was thinking to myself how quiet Landis was when he popped his head around the corner saying "Gum, Gum" and showing his hands to me. All over them and his clothes was a substance that I immediately thought was poop. I thought, "Oh, no he must have gone diaper digging" and then I got a closer look and realized that it was fish food.

Teilee's fish had ran out of food and Nick had purchased a brand new container yesterday. Now the entire contents of that new bottle were mixed with a little water (enough to make it a goopy mess) and flung all over her dresser, books, floor, and Landis. This picture I took after I had cleaned it slightly. In order to vacuum this up Teilee quickly helped me to pick up. While we were picking up Landis took all of her colored pencils and threw them all over the dinning room. Teilee attended to that new mess while Landis 'assisted' me with vacuuming.

Once that was done I went back to the living room only to discover that Landis had pulled all of their toys out of their play kitchen and cat number 3 had deposited another wet hairy gift on the couch. Now it is 10:00 and I still haven't eaten or gotten dressed or taken a breath.

I go out and lay on the couch. My 'bruised' rib is so painful today I am doubting the accuracy of the diagnosis. Surely there is a handle bar protruding from my breast or maybe a bone peeking from beneath my skin. While I am laying down for all of two minutes Teilee informs me that a straggler of the colored pencil clan has milk on it. Well I find this:

In order to clean up the milk spill I have to run to the bathroom to fetch more rags as the kitchen now needs to be restocked. Pushing open the door to the bathroom I find Landis perched in the sink in the middle of this mess of q-tips, drawer contents, hairbands, and cotton balls on the floor.

After tossing a rag on the milk I took a deep breath (and some pictures), made myself some breakfast, got dressed and decided that there wasn't a possible snowballs chance in hell that anyone could possibly grasped what I had gone through this morning unless I typed it on my blog and included pictures. I am exhausted having worked my butt off and haven't even been able to keep up with the holy terror of a toddler Landis. Thank goodness Teilee has been somewhat helpful today. Although she did leave me a mess of magazines strewn about the living room, that will be much simpler to clean. Despite the messes I still have managed to cuddle with Teilee, nurse Landis several times, read books to both kids, and serve food. I work hard at my job and many days I just can't keep up. I don't achieve much of anything, but I am here and that is what matters. My kids are great kids, they pitch in on cleaning, play well together, share toys and books, and generally are well behaved. However, if I can't keep up with them, my house doesn't stand a chance! Oh yeah...while my attention was diverted with blogging this was my gift from Landis:

Thanks for the raisins Landis!

Oh yeah I have two tests and two papers to turn in within 4 days. I am a little stressed!


Eats Shoots and Leaves said...

I think it's good for nonparents like me to see this kind of thing. Fortunately, I don't mind messes much.

kinetic said...

Hilarious and SOOO frustrating! You are doing a fantastic job. I mean, I know you know that, but seriously...what a lucky coupl'a kids you've got! And charming as all get-out. It's clear there's a hard-workin' mom on the scene when the mess is a bunch of raisins...from a bag, not even the little snack boxes...and DEFINITELY not some chocolate cereal.

Aside: Nate's in a never-ending battle with his school, whose students ALL qualify for free breakfast and lunch, about the quality of the nutrition they are getting (especially as it's about the only meal they're likely to get that fulfills any credible food pyramid suggestions).

Is it funny that with every new photo I'd go, "Oh no!" and then immediately, "Wow, that is such an awesome color, cool set-up, ingenious arrangement, etc."?

Love you! Also, I know I've mentioned it here before, but seriously moms in school completely baffle the living whatever out of me. I am completely awestruck. I seriously do not understand how this is possible. At all.

KBH said...

So glad to know that not every 'stay-at-home' mom constantly has it all together, especially after this week. It sounds like we've both had our fill of a no-pay, crappy hours, thankless kind of job and yet we'll continue to dive head first into it everyday. I think that choosing to work outside the home is the obvious easier choice.

I laugh and cry at the same time reading this blog because I think "oh thank god, it's not just me" and then I think "oh shit! I have another one on the way." I'm going to constantly remind myself that kids function/thrive better in messiness!! RIGHT!?!?! It's way more condusive to growing minds and creative wills.

kansasoutback said...

Oh Andi. You made it through another day. You are amazing. Love, ma and pa.

Spokey dokey said...

Just wanted to drop in and say hi ... and this is my favorite blog of yours yet.

My new umberella!