I wrote an essay the other day. Actually, I wrote 3, but the one I'm referring to was written while the kids were splashing around in the pool. I got to thinking about why our culture so undervalues parenting. And I believe it's because of the lack of instant gratification: There's not a lot to show for parenting on a day in, day out basis. If the kids are very young, then chances are good your home will be a mess, you might not shower for days, and food, while available, will be either very basic or made somewhere else and delivered. Often in a big, square, cardboard box.
Parenting young kids is a combination of catch-up and damage control. You are trying to prevent your child from committing grievous bodily harm (to him/herself or others) and/or property damage. At the same time, you need to try and Teach Them Things, get the laundry done so everyone will be covered when (IF) you venture out of the house, feed them, often from your own body, put them down for naps, console them when they cry, kiss the inevitable boo-boos, and maybe, at some point, fit in a workout or a nap. (Good luck!)
The thing is, when raising kids, the biggest accomplishment is that, at the end of the day, everyone is still alive.
All of this must be done on little or no sleep. Add to that the CONSTANT "helpful hints" (aka criticism) from other moms, family, friends, and complete strangers, and it can be a recipe for madness. On top of it all, when you tell someone who doesn't have kids that you are a stay-at-home parent, their eyes immediately glaze over and they search desperately for someone else to talk to. They seem to believe that once you become a parent, you cease to be a person. That all you are able to focus on/talk about are feedings, poopy diapers, and spit-up.
Because the kids are on summer vacation, it feels like they are toddlers again. I spend my days keeping them busy, entertained, out of trouble, and trying to read to them/do some basic math/etc. Our part of the house, yes, is a mess. I take them to the park, for walks, to our little pool. I cook, do laundry, wash endless dishes, yet nothing ever seems to get done.
And then I go to my actual paying job.
I LOVE Summer. It's my favorite time of year. Except for the lack of school. They both have 4 weeks of summer school, but it's only in the mornings. And it's only 4 weeks.
I'm freakin' exhausted, lol!
And there are still 4 more weeks to go.
I also recently realized that the last time I had any kind of vacation sans kids was a Yosemite trip when LG was a year old.
10 years ago.
Trying to find ways to remedy that.
There's a production of "King Lear" at the Shakespeare company I used to work for going on this summer. It's been 10 years in the making, and some of my favorite people are in it. However, it's 3,000 miles away and closes in 3 weeks. Plus I'd need transport and a lodging.
Can I get it done? Hmmmm......
Finally, getting caught up in the Olympics (I LOVE the Olympics) but not so fond of the network coverage. Instead of showing the (very moving) tribute to the victims of the '05 London attacks, they showed Michael Phelps being interviewed by Ryan Seecrest. And instead of showing the VERY COOL, pre-filmed opening with Benedict Cumberbatch, they showed a different one highlighting American athletes. (Both un-shown clips are on YouTube, thankfully.) It's almost as if they don't want to show ANYTHING that isn't 100% American, and it pisses me off. We wonder why we're being dumbed down! G-d forbid we should see/hear/LEARN something about a culture other than our own!
And don't even get me started on the glut of campaign ads they're running, or the fact that they'd rather focus on an American athlete tying their shoes than, say, a Russian actually performing their sport!
Finally, I am, once again, Ms. Crankypants. Partly because of PMS, partly of having the kids home 24/7 (Hubby's been rehearsing for a reading, and barely home. I DID however, get to read stage directions for a show last week: my first time on stage in 9 years!!!!!! It felt great to work those muscles again!) It's also living with 8 other people (and the 2 dogs), and the fact that LG gets VERY upset if I'm not here. Still adjusting, obviously.
I'll need to learn to adjust, as well. It'll certainly be easier once the kids are back in school. At that time I'll be treating myself to some swimming lessons to work on my freestyle stroke. I love to swim, but my freestyle leaves much to be desired. A little birthday gift to myself. I'll also go back to my yoga class, and look into some improv opportunities (finally!).
And I'm still thinking about Krav Maga. So I'll be a busy bee.
And maybe actually get some stuff done.