Thursday, September 9, 2010


I am not having the best day today. I had bad dreams, stress dreams, about work versus parenthood. Though I can't remember the details the basic gist was that I needed to be home; to be a grounding force in the lives of my children. And that's all well and good except being home, at least at this juncture, does not pay the bills. So tonight I will dutifully change hats and go to work.

Hopefully - hopefully my children will not destroy the house. They will not watch too much television, will go to bed at a decent hour and will, possibly, peruse a book or two. Hopefully. And yes -- their father will be home. But I suspect he will be sound asleep on the couch -- exhausted from his work week. He does have the day off today. He's out thrifting (yes, alone). He wanted me to go but I felt I needed to be here. To attend to the dishes and the laundry and the bedrooms. The general care and maintenance of a family is challenging at best.

Today I'm not having the best day. I asked my 10-year-old to pack lunches for her and her sister. She lost it. Completely melted. I was treated to a litany of complaints about my parenting skills, or lack thereof, including how I, as the mother, should be packing their lunches. I responded that it was in her best interest and her duty as a member of this family to help out.

But that not so little voice in the back of my head was screaming BAD MOTHER, BAD! Because, you see, all good mothers make breakfast for their children and pack their lunches and walk them to school. Good mothers are home at night to tuck their children into bed and aren't too tired to function the next day. All too often I am none of the above.

Today did not get any better when a gorgeous pink snowflake pyrex casserole dish slid nonchalantly from the backseat of the car and shattered into a million pieces. I told myself it's just an object. Just a material thing. But truth-be-told a small piece of me was shattered as well.

This morning I did not look in the mirror. I got up, switched pj bottoms for jeans and threw on a sweater to take the girls to school. I'm still wearing the t-shirt I slept in. You don't want to see my hair.

When I finally did glance in the mirror I was startled. There, around my neck, was an orange necklace - handknit by my youngest last night as we watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I had forgotten all about it.

This necklace, this sweet orange spot of cheer, reminded me -- it's not all bad. So today I will clean the house. Tonight I will go to work. And tomorrow, in a sleepless fog, I will deal with the aftermath. And so and and so forth ad nauseum. For these are the days of my life. They're not all good but they're not all bad. I simply have to take them as they come. As my friend and Buddhist mentor Karen Maezen Miller would say; your practice is your life.



Gayle said...

Shalet, don't be hard on yourself. I'm sending hugs your way!

Shalet said...

I know, I know. But some days are tougher than others. Hormones?

Thank you for the hugs. I have a chick flick, Jane Austen Book Club, borrowed from my parents. I may just tuck myself in and watch for a few hours before the onslaught. ;o)

Tammie said...

so sorry youre having a rough go of it today.

the flip side to all this is that i feel like a bad mother for being home. i worry that im showing the kids that women cant do anything other than take care of the house, the kids, and the pets. but for me, working just isnt in the cards right now. i have a husband that works weird hours and i dont want the kids left home alone more than necessary.

also, my son WANTS to pack his own lunch. he doesnt like what i pack, says its different from what the other kids eat.
maybe we need to do some sort of Mom Swap.

Shalet said...

OMG a mom swap would be awesome! If only!

I insist my girls pack their own lunch for *that* very reason -- if I packed it they wouldn't like anything that went inside. Can't win either way. What's a mom to do?!!

Sheryl Rayner said...

What's a Mom to do indeed. I wish that all us Mom's could cut ourselves a break. I know we might not always give our kids what they want, but I bet they usually get what they need.

I'm sorry your day is sucky.

Shalet said...

Thank you Sheryl! I am feeling somewhat better. I'm all alone in the house and am indulging myself in a movie in between the dishes and laundry.

Honestly sometimes a mama just needs to vent!

Anonymous said...

I think all of us mommas can relate to this. It's so hard to balance everything, sometimes. Sending hugs your way!

Shalet said...

Thank you for the *hugs*! It's so good to commiserate!

Jen said...

I'm sorry you had a rough day the other day. I can completely relate to balancing being a mom, working to pay the bills, and having the energy to do it all. And then trying to add a creative biz into an already heavy work load. I was just wondering myself how you do it all, because I'm having a tough time with it. Don't be so hard on yourself. You're doing an amazing number of things, which includes inspiring others. Celebrate that =)

Shalet said...

Thank you so much Jen!

I most definitely don't "do it all." You should see my house right now -- a horrifying mess. I'm working all weekend and have therefore decided to let it go until Monday. If I get especially lucky perhaps some little munchkins will clean for me! *hint hint family, hint hint*