Trading Places

So in moments of sheer career frustration or when I have the nerve to complain about my day the Hubs likes to say “I will happily trade places with you for a day.” Oh yeah? Come at me bro!

Before I start, let me lay the groundwork for what the Hubs does. He is a manager at a gaming facility, having worked in the industry his entire adult life. And sadly, he works under someone with no industry experience so he is constantly faced with roadblock after roadblock. He takes great pride in his job and does the best he can, often going above and beyond, with little to no gratitude. He more often than not works ridiculous hours, usually ending too exhausted to enjoy his days off, so I can absolutely understand where his frustration comes from. However…….

From the day Bean was born, I have been a working mom. I worked as a bartender, working double shifts and often getting home at 2 or 3 in the morning, just to be woken up by my sweetling at 7 am. I did this full time, as well all of my motherly and wifely duties. So Hubs thinks he can take this on? Alright Hubs, here’s what I do on any given day:

6:30/7:00am: Wake up. Now our lovely little munchkin bounces out of bed with all the energy she claims not to have when it’s time to clean her room. And she hits the ground running. Breakfast, getting ready for school or play, brushing teeth(this can take anywhere from 2 minutes to 15 if she decides to give herself a pep talk in the mirror). Now if this fateful day happens to be a school day, you must get her out the door fully dressed (in matching socks), hair done, with her homework, backpack and lunch by 8:05. This is not optional or flexible as she gets anxious if she even thinks shes going to be late.

If this is a weekend or vacation day then you may have an opportunity to “mom-sleep”. This is a condition that allows a mother to turn off parts of her brain while still being able to listen her child play or watch cartoons. Mom-sleep will only buy you 30 minutes at the most, because then she wants human interaction or wants permission to go to her friends houses or God forbid she wants food she can’t reach. But for the sake of argument lets stick with a school day.

8:45: Congratulations! you have just successfully dropped her off at school. You now have 6 hours to complete all the menial chores you have to do to keep the house from spontaneously combusting at random. Now mind you, the completion of these chores will get you no recognition. Zero, 0, nada, zilch. Nothing. Big fat goose egg. Its only the absence of their completion that gets noticed. Now before you go getting all gung ho and say “This is easy, why does she think this is hard?” Let me throw some variables at you. It’s grocery day, but you forgot the list and the store we shop at is right by her school. So you now have to decide; go now and wing it, or do it right before you pick her up so they sit in the car for 35 minutes or take her with you, which is now treading into dangerous territory as it is impeding on her friend time at home. You make the sacrifice to just wing it and hope you don’t forget that you desperately need deodorant. Trust me, you will forget. sorry.

10:30 am: It took this long because you made 2 trips around the store just to make sure you didn’t forget that one thing you desperately needed. What was it again? Ah you probably grabbed it anyway, no worries.

You also just remembered that it’s $2.99 Tuesday so you have to go to The Fresh Market for meat because it’s on sale. And that’s the only place in town that sells the cactus water your wife drinks. Don’t forget that. Also you have to go to the produce stand because the produce is fresher and less expensive. So add 45 minutes to your grocery shopping.

12:00 pm You’re home and the groceries are all put away. Did you put the reusable bags back in the car? Hope so, That’s my weakness. Always forget. Every damn time. Now you have to vacuum, dust, balance the bank account, menu plan, check the budget, pay some bills,do laundry, sweep, mop, empty the dishwasher, pay some more bills, load the dishwasher, clean the kitchen, and so much more. Now at this point you’re probably thinking “but babe, you just vacuumed, mopped and emptied the dishwasher?” Yes i did. You know what else I just did? Laundry, dusted, cleaned the kitchen, loaded the dishwasher and several other things like clean the bathrooms (GROSS!!!) and changed the air filters. These things get done often. More often than you realize. More often than I get credit for. More often than most women get credit for. Who do you think washes the bedding? Who do you think scrubs the showers and tubs? So get to work Bub, tick tock tick tock.

2:30: Uh oh, you only got 3 things done on your massive revolving list? That kitchen gets me every time. Better luck tomorrow, because once she gets home, your time is no longer yours. Quick, squeeze in one more quick chore. Ahh, just barely. Well don’t worry, the floors will still be dirty tomorrow, the laundry isn’t moving on it’s own yet and I’m sure the smell from the other bathroom is totally natural. Now you get in the car and drive to school to pick her up. And what i mean by this is you drive across town just to sit in the car pick up line for 30 minutes so your kid is not the last kid left on the bench. Enjoy this solitude. You won’t know it again until this time tomorrow.

3:30: Okay, start asking her about school. Expect answers like “I don’t remember” or “fine”. For some reason she suffers from amnesia once she gets in the car. and if you push the matter, it’s like walking through a minefield, so tread lightly. She will want a snack, nothing healthy, and she probably didn’t eat the healthy stuff in her lunch box either. I’ve learned to pick my battles.

3:45-5:45: This is like Russian Roulette. She might want you to play with her or she might want to go to her friends’ houses. This may seem ideal, but there’s a catch. They will inevitably come to our house. Which means it will get messy. Which means if you cleaned the living room today, it will look like you didn’t. Don’t get depressed, I just laugh. If she wants you to play with her, be prepared to stick to a very strict script. and Legos. So many Legos.

5:45-6:30: Dinner. Ahhh dinner. Now I menu plan so i’m prepared for this. I wish you luck. Now I’m one of those parents that tries to include all the food groups. I also eat 90% of my meals with this child, so I know what she likes and will eat. You also have to complete this task with a child asking you questions and still trying to get you to play. Be mindful of what you cook, as you have to clean it up.

6:30-7:00: Sit down and enjoy dinner. Consider this the eye of the storm.

7:00-8:00: Homework and/or bath time and snack. Now since she’s 6 she needs help with her homework, so any hopes you had of cleaning anything out of earshot have just been crushed. Give her the snack before the bath. trust me on this. If it’s bath night, after making sure she’s clean you will have time to put away the laundry you started hours ago which is now wrinkly. This is usually the point where I inadvertently fall asleep while folding laundry. Don’t laugh, the struggle is real.

8:00-8:15: pajamas and brushing her hair. This may not seem difficult, but for some reason our child seems to think that being soaking wet and in a bath robe means its party time. This may not bode well for us in the future…..

8:15-8:45: Episode time. She gets one episode of her choice. Not 2, not 1 1/2. 1. she gets 1. She will beg and plead and act like an asshole. Don’t give in. For the love of all things don’t give in. Enforce the rule. This is a battle I have chosen to fight. Every night.

8:45-9:00: Teeth brushing and story time. Again brushing her teeth can take anywhere from 2 minutes to 15 depending on how much of a fit she wants to throw. She will suddenly be too tired to brush her teeth even though she was just begging you to watch another episode of Phineas and Ferb. I swear sometimes it’s like trying to baptize a cat. So now it’s story time. This is actually the easy part.

9:00-????? Bed time. This time frame is usually where I tap out. Because I’m usually starting my day in some sort of sleep deficit and I have been busy from waking until now, I tend to fade pretty quickly. Sometimes I manage to stay awake until she’s asleep and then go downstairs to straighten up. Then I try to catch up on a TV show until I become so pathetically tired that I succumb to the sweet relief that is slumber.

11:30-3:00 am: At any time in this window she may or may not wake you up because she is lonely or had a bad dream. She will either come into our bed or ask you to go into her room. You may think that this just a speed bump on the road back to dreamland, but alas, it’s not. She will move around so much in her sleep that you will be constantly uncomfortable or awake. Did I mention that with this swap you also get my sleeping habits? yeah, I can hear a mouse sneeze through the wall. I am in a constant state of mom sleep. It’s never restful sleep. Ever. Not until she’s grown and married with a family of her own. And even then……..

6:30-7:00 am: Wake up and repeat. And repeat. and repeat.

**Now the events of this day can vary greatly. She could have Horse camp. That means you need to make sure her riding pants are clean and she knows where her boots are. They are probably at Gaga’s. She could have a play date. That entails either dropping her off at another parent’s house or said play date companion coming here. That will lead to frantic cleaning so your house doesn’t look like a family actually resides there. It could be an Early Release day from school. That’s a mean trick the school district plays on you where they cut your child free time by almost 2 hours. So really on any given day I am working with a myriad of obstacles. So when you get home and the counter isn’t wiped down or there’s dishes in the sink or I’m comatose in bed, please don’t for one second think I had it easy. Just be glad the house isn’t on fire and the child and dog are still alive despite my best efforts 🙂

Oh and BTW you forgot deodorant. Good job stinky