(Originally posted on November 23, 2009)
One question that a stay-at-home mom deals with all the time is, "So what exactly do you do all day anyway?" In addition to sitting on the couch with a bag of chips watching a Meredith Baxter Birney marathon on Lifetime, there are times when I find it necessary to mutate into more than a few dozen other people in order to create an efficient, happy household. Several of these roles are often overlooked and taken for granted in the chaos of our day-to-day lives. With the craziness of the holidays quickly approaching, I always carve out some time to reflect on the past and give thanks to these people, just in case my kids get too busy asking for stuff and forget to.
Cleaning Lady. In addition to the monotonous vacuuming/dusting/ de-gunking/scrubbing/sweeping, this kind lady also wipes up sticky spills that mysteriously appear, gets dog barf out of the carpet, unclogs toilets, organizes closets, kills bugs, does endless loads of laundry, and has even been known to iron.
Human Resources. Thank you for encouraging cooperation and empathy, teaching the five-year-old how to use words instead of her clenched fists, solving the famous "Who Touched Who First" dilemma, and managing to get the teenager to say something besides, "Maybe you could be lamer, Charlie."
Landscape Contractor. The lawn is always a welcome place for a picnic or a game of baseball, thanks to the person that weeds, mows, trims, and picks up the dog crap. And contrary to popular belief, I know that this person does not appreciate hearing, "Gross Mom, you missed a pile over here."
Hospitality Manager. After making sure that the bar fridge is stocked with an assortment of beverages and always having snacks on hand, I appreciate this individual's willingness to host science project get-togethers, video game marathons, and the occasional sleepover, no matter how weird the other kids might smell.
Dog Groomer. After brushing the dog, washing the dog, clipping the nails, and drying the dog, the dog seems a little less revolting for at least five hours, unless the stupid dog runs into the backyard and promptly rolls in goose shit. And since the dog groomer isn't insane, expressing the anal glands is not in the job description.
Anesthesiologist. Thank you, Benadryl.
Nurse. An extra-hearty thank you for never giving the 32-pound child an overdose of Motrin, knowing all the tricks to reduce a fever, never doing the dreaded "gasp loudly and make giant eyes" reaction when a kid falls down, spotting a phony, dishing out just the right amount of sympathy when necessary, and making soup.
Psychologist. Somehow, this person is almost always able to win a battle and doesn't care if the kids get mad about the result. She can also tell the difference between when a kid is about to lose it and needs a break, and when the kid needs to suck it up and push himself. The psychologist also knows that the oldest kid doesn't talk very much; but when he finally does, she bakes some pre-made cookie dough and actually listens.
Chauffeur. How do I thank this person enough? Constantly getting kids, sports equipment and backpacks in and out of the car, sometimes passing herself on the freeway, rarely being late, never relinqishing power over the radio, and somehow always having a granola bar and a bottle of water available for a hungry/thirsty kid. How she manages to not scream obscenities at all of the stupid, horrible, texting drivers out there is beyond me.
Activities Coordinator. Scheduling dentist, doctor, and eye appointments, violin, piano, and tennis lessons, haircuts, tennis tournaments, and piano recitals in coordination with the school calendar is no easy feat. At least this person is smart enough to also make time for happy hours and vacations.
Nutritionist. Thank you for having the backbone to say, "No. You cannot have a Sour Patch Kids sandwich for lunch," always having fresh fruit in the house, making dinner every night, and even remembering to feed the dog. Creating a meal that isn't too cheesy, spicy, fatty, gooey, meaty, vegetabley, or squishy is not the easiest thing to do.
There are so many things that moms do everyday, and it's easy to feel like no one notices that the house is clean, there's food in the fridge, the school projects are completed on time, and the beds are made. Some people will try to make you feel better by saying: "It's a thankless job, get used to it," "But the kids are so sweet, treasure every moment," "It's such a privilege that you should appreciate," or some other pointless cliche. I know it's a privilege to not have to drive to work, I wouldn't trade being a mom for anything, and while most days are great, some are the absolute opposite of great. At some point every year, I think every mom should be able to say... "SOMETIMES THIS SUCKS! SAY THANK YOU! And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go make a drink. Or three."