Today I opened the washing machine and found my Nook buried in a tangle of damp clothes. I wanted to cry. The one thing that offered me some peace and quiet was all washed up. In my hurry to clean my son’s baseball uniform before rushing to work, I forgot that I had placed the Nook on top of my laundry basket. How could I do something so careless? What was I thinking? I blame mommy-brain.
In my battle to balance a full time job, raising two young boys, and taking care of the house, I often feel as though I am coming up short in all areas. Never enough time to get all of my papers graded at school. Never enough time to get all the baskets of clothes folded on my bedroom floor. Never enough time to have a kitchen that’s sparkling clean.
I look around at other moms and wonder why their minivans don’t have French fries jammed under the car seats and smudge marks on the windows. What I am I doing wrong?
Then I take a deep breath, look at my wonderful little boys, and consider the things I am doing right. My boys are happy and healthy. They are doing well in school and always have their homework done, even a cereal box book report, which was no small feat. Michael is learning to play chords on the piano and Stevie can read, even though he’s just graduating from kindergarten. They are kind and sweet and love being silly with their friends.
Our backyard is not perfectly manicured and there’s a permanent bald spot at “home plate”, despite my husband’s repeated attempts to replant the grass. But that bald spot is a badge of honor, a testament to the many afternoons my boys spend with their friends. The yard echoes with the sounds of bats cracking, pool splashing, and laughter. And when I really think about it, does it get any better than that?
After supper most evenings, you can find me in the yard, permanent pitcher during an on-going wiffle ball game. And although I throw more balls than strikes and the dishes may have to sit in the sink a few more hours, I wouldn’t trade it for all the order in Martha Stewart’s kitchen.
Someday I will have time to stay after school and organize my classroom. There won’t be baseball hats strewn on my living room floor and stuffed animals adorning my couch. My minivan won’t feel like a taxi service. And I’ll finally put the finishing touches on that novel I started writing four years ago. Life will be less hectic, but I’m sure I will miss these hurried, crazy, Nook-washing days.
I guess the housework can wait, but my kids’ childhood won’t. It’s going by way too fast. And if I have to choose between housework and my kids, there’s really no contest.