My original acrylic painting "1950 Housewife Cat"

The Housewife who can "Do It All" unfortunately doesn't exist.

I’m awake at 12:40AM. I’ve been awake for 21 hours now. Jake is still awake as well, and I’m feeding him on my lap as I type one-handed, with two fingers.  The room is dark, and every so often my hand strays off track on the keyboard and my words start to look juhe yhis… so I slowly back-space over them and begin again.

We’ve had a trying day. This blasted blizzard destined to engulf us has caused tension and stress to build in our community – just listen to some of the angry comments made by frazzled customers wanting their milk and eggs (to the frazzled associate who can’t stock the shelves fast enough to meet demand).
It makes me want to call a Time Out on everyone, reminding people to show some respect and understanding for one another.

The commandment to “love thy neighbor as thyself” is especially appropriate for this Valentine Season. I do wish, however, that a synonym of “love” would be “acceptance”… for when we truly love someone, we accept them as they are.
“Appreciation” is listed, though, and that is another excellent mode of feeling that tends to get taken for granted.

This Valentine’s Day, I join the thousands of stay-at-home parents who simply want to be appreciated for our contributions.  Forget the chocolate and flowers.
We may not commute to our jobs every morning, and receive a monetary paycheck to show for our efforts… but we still have a demanding workload which unfortunately doesn’t end at 5:00PM.

I can safely assume that quite a few eyes are rolling.  I once worked a full-time job outside the home, and listened to my co-workers’ tales of stay-at-home spouses who “sat around watching trash TV, eating cereal in their pajamas at 3:00PM” and who apparently never did a lick of housework.  Of course, I believed the stories… and I thought, “Wow, it must be nice to stay home and have all your needs provided for. Relaxing, yet incredibly boring.” 

When we made the decision last spring for me to stay home, I was under the impression my days would be filled with hours of creative freedom while the kids played peacefully or watched cartoons. hehe
I seriously did not understand the responsibilities of stay-at-home parents and how stressful their days actually are.   Once I accepted the position, I became solely in charge of all laundry, dish-washing, child-sitting, litter-box cleaning, vacuuming, mealtimes, you name it.  When the kids are up all night with fevers or bad dreams, I stay up with them… and sure, he would have helped… if he hadn’t slept soundly through their tearful sobs.  
And why should I wake a grouchy ogre, who will only complain about needing “a good night’s sleep” because he “has to work in the morning”?  Apparently we stay-at-home parents should be able to function fully on 2 hours of un-interrupted sleep.  Cause, you know, we don’t work… we sit around watching Spongebob and soaps.

When they destroy their room, I clean it  up… over and over again.  I rebuild the couch each time it’s torn apart to make mountains for climbing.  I put screaming children to sleep at nap-time,
referee their fights, discipline them, and read them stories.
There is bath-time, diaper changes, taking out the garbage, sweeping the floor, making beds, folding clothes, re-folding clothes after the kids dug everything out of their dresser…. the time I get to spend online is due to my being trapped in the living room, unable to walk away until I trust they won’t strangle each other, climb the bookshelves, or throw objects at the flat-screen TV (which I’ve been told to guard with my body, and life, if necessary).

When Dearest walks in the door, and plops on the couch to watch TV and relax… chores are still looming, kids are still hungry, he adds his favorite pants to the growing laundry pile and expects them to be immediately washed.
When do I get to relax?  I don’t… unless I mutiny and refuse to do it anymore.  I tried that once.  I took “a day off work”, and Nobody volunteered to take my place. Imagine that. 😉
  I called in sick, and the laundry sat there. And the dishes piled up… and the kids smeared chocolate ice-cream all over themselves.  When my fever subsided and I ventured out to inspect the situation, it was utter chaos… waiting for me to resume my duties.

I’m not complaining to gain sympathy, and I have no regrets in my decision to become my family’s caretaker.  Without overtime pay, holidays and weekends off, and sick leave.  A little appreciation would be nice, though. And some acceptance… 
    I’m not going to be on top of my game every day, and that’s okay.  We need to practice patience and understanding with everyone around us. 
If your store runs out of bread, thank the associate for their hard work and then grab some flour and yeast to bake your own.  If your favorite pants don’t get washed for a couple days, or God forbid, you don’t have a clean shirt to wear… Take the initiative and throw a load into the washer.
Let’s show some love, and I guarantee that the thanks you receive will be sincere and you will be appreciated in return.

Advertisements

TaraFly's original artwork, taraflyphotos.com

I’m not sure who said the famous line, “You only get one chance to make a great first impression” but that individual is solely responsible for millions of empty blogs and personal websites… people want to share themselves with the world, but after all the initial set-up is completed, they are left staring at a blank, white message block and a paralyzing fear of portraying themselves in the wrong light with their opening paragraph.

I, however, have finally conquered that fear… roughly three days after creating this account, and as you can see, am already in the midst of my SECOND paragraph. Making it to the final paragraph, though, will require a bit more effort and exploration into what makes a good introduction.

What should you know about me, then? Well, I could begin by sharing with you a few secrets from my childhood… such as, my first crush (in kindergarten) was for a rat. Many people have had crushes on rats, but mine was of the rodent variety… he was tall and suave, with melting brown eyes and a shy, sexy smile. His name was Justin; brave and adventurous, he fought well with a sword defending his lady’s honor, and held the title of Guard Captain. Obviously, he was also a fictional character from a feature-length animation.
I carried a torch for Justin for a long time, but finally had to acknowledge that my love was unrequited and in vain. For his heart was smitten by Jonathon Brisby’s lovely mouse widow; biologically and artistically, I had
to concede they were much better suited for one another.
Fortunately my broken heart was mended by my next suitor, a stuffed alley cat I named Stinkpin. Yes, I did write “stuffed”, as in sewn with batting, not overfed on garbage or taxidermied.
He actually returned my affections, and offered to marry me. I was told by my patient grandmother that I needed to get my father’s permission before the wedding, but alas, I knew he wouldn’t approve. So Stinkpin and I eloped. Hmmm, it’s a wonder the courthouse didn’t discover that hasty decision when I applied for another marriage years later. It could possibly be that all of my marriages henceforth have been invalid… although since he did abandon me some time later for parts unknown, it’s conceivable I would be granted an annulment.

As any psychiatrist could determine from reading these last paragraphs, my difficulties acquiring and maintaining a normal romantic relationship have been troubled since my earliest years. Why is it, throughout my life, I’ve always seemed drawn to the rats and the strays?
My current marriage in progress is surprisingly going well… at the two year mark, which formerly has been the death knoll of my waning commitment, I feel we are stronger than ever.
I cannot allow myself much optimism, however, because I cursed my future self in the 3rd grade….

Giving a dramatic monologue recitation for a panel of judges, one of them wrote on his sheet that I could become “the next Elizabeth Taylor”. My parents seem to take great delight at the compliment, but as an eight-year-old child with little knowledge of Ms. Taylor’s great cinematic achievements, I could only reply matter-of-factly: “He just meant that I’m going to have 8 husbands when I grow up.”
See, dear readers! I doomed myself to a life of ill-commitment and love affairs. As much as I would love to protest that I was mistaken, and that my current prince will be the last… it would be a foolish fantasy.
The silver lining to all this madness, is that he is turning 50 this year, so perhaps we can have a wonderful marriage while he lives… and once he passes, when I’m sixty or so, I’ll squeeze in the remaining 5 husbands
in rapid succession. If I continue this tradition of dating men 20 years my senior, it shouldn’t be too difficult to marry and bury five men in their late 80’s.

Although these musings wouldn’t likely be considered the most appropriate introduction into a person’s character, it has served it’s intended purpose… getting past the blank page, to a point where I can safely say… this is the final paragraph in my first blog! From this point on, impressions having been made, I can easily fill the remaining
pages with my odd thoughts and ramblings. I generally leave my shoes off; they’re under the table now, so feel free to put them on and take a walk into my world.