When I ran screaming and tearing my clothes off twenty days ago to celebrate the end of another school year, visions of sleeping in, lounging at the pool, and watching movies danced in my head. No work for the whole summer!
Nowhere, nohow did I ever imagine that it was possible to be off work and yet have even less time…because you’re still working!
Then again, I haven’t really stopped working. I’ve just swapped one 40-plus hour a week job for another.
I am a full time mom to three pre and full grown teenagers. Who knew this parenting thing was like a full time gig? I mean plenty of people with kids my age don’t do it at all.
First of all, there are practices of all kinds. The boys lift three days a week for two hours at a pop. The princess has cheerleading practice about the same amount of time. This all happens before 10am. In the afternoon there’s open gyms for basketball and hitting practice for baseball. Usually this finishes up in time to get ready for the actual games.
And, get this. These kids want to eat all the time. Can you believe that? Three meals a day? Then, after five hours of baseball and travel they want to eat again. Some nonsense about how if they have dinner at 3:30 they are hungry at 9pm. Honestly! It’s true that they can fix food for themselves, but what with so many people eating at a time it makes more sense to fix one thing for everyone, right? And they want to eat healthy stuff. I can’t just hand them a bag of cheetos to shut them up. “But Mom, I need protein and vegetables.”. What kid says that?
So when I’m not fixing second, third, fourth, or fifth meal to ensure my little athletes are properly nourished I have to wash their clothes. It used to be summer meant less clothes to wash because there were no bulky jeans and sweatshirts. However, with five ball teams split between three man-sized boy/men and at least two (if not three) games a night, it’s necessary to wash uniforms every day.
I think it would be considerate if they would refrain from sliding or wiping dirt on their behinds so they could maybe stretch the wearing out to two games, but no. Apparently winning IS everything.
And when the food is cooked and the uniforms are clean, someone needs to arrange and/or transport these people to said activities. While its helpful that one of the brood drives, his games can often be played in places far and wide. Several hours away. And, I love the kid, but he doesn’t have the best sense of direction. And anyway, after that big mouth fiasco with the one I’m kind of nervous not being there – just in case.
This doesn’t even include the instruction and supervision necessary for making sure chores such as any type of cleaning anything gets done properly. That takes time. Just last week I had to hold a bucket next to Lou while he scrubbed the bathroom floor on his hands and knees. No, it wasn’t the bucket of soapy water. It was the bucket for him to puke in should any of his theatric gagging noises have any “meat” behind them. (Gross pun, I know, but I call ’em as I see ’em).
And when I think I’m going to get a moment of peace, they want to talk to me. Jay wants to talk about what he should study in college or where he should go, or he wants to tell me about his friends and girlfriend. Lou likes to talk about the major and minor league players that he’s chatting up on twitter. He’s taken to using free time to draw pictures of players and tweet them. The guys actually respond too! Could you imagine Babe Ruth tweeting you “nice picture, bro! Thanks a lot!”. Maybe not, but some newly drafted prospect whose name escaped me tweeted Lou yesterday and who had to hear about it? Me. Then the princess wants to break down every episode of Toddlers and Tiaras with me. She likes to have me watch her practice her cheers again and again and again.
This stuff takes time, people. Time. So, no. I’m not sitting by the pool alone, listening to the sounds of silence. I’m not shopping. I don’t sleep in. I’m working, baby. Working.
I complain about it. (all I do is feed you people and wash your clothes….). I dream sometimes of the days gone by when the kids took naps or when I was free to take them to the pool for the whole afternoon.
It’s a bittersweet job, this one because it’s fleeting. As I write this I know how lucky I am to have landed this assignment. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime project and it’s been entrusted to me.
I’d love to sit for awhile longer thinking about just how lucky I am, but it’s 3:45 and someone needs a ride home.
Maybe I will see you in September- when things slow down.