Today I am wondering if motherhood is why I’m so scatter-brained. Or maybe I’ve always been this way (yes), but it’s gotten worse with the addition of four kids.
My goal is simple—to get it together. And by getting it together, I mean more hair washing/less dry shampoo, remembering appointments, being (mostly) on time, cooking dinner, all of the house clean at the same time (can this happen, please, just once?), being cheerful, hanging the dang curtains in my bedroom, taking the cat for a checkup (I don’t even know how old she is anymore), etc. You know, the things people do.
So what is it about motherhood that keeps me from the life well lived? I’m chalking it up to 1. Lack of sleep, 2. Lack of time, 3. Lack of cognitive processing skills due to 1 and 2, and 3. Lack of personnel. We are way understaffed around here, as the children have yet to get on board with our training program. I do realize this is a management failure.
Every night I think to myself, tomorrow I’m going to do better. I’m going to catch up on the laundry and start dinner early and order shoes for the kids and clip their nails. I’m going to use a loving tone of voice with them and remember they are but children and need my patience. I’m going to write my column before deadline, and I’m going to drink more water. But tomorrow comes, and the children are awake, and nobody can find their shoes or a hairbrush, and everybody dislikes what I’ve cooked for dinner.
I am interrupting myself here to tell you I am, at this very moment, giving my 4-year-old an anatomy lesson on the hand and foot. Which makes it difficult to write.
“Mom. Mom. Mom. What is this?” pointing to his heel.
“That’s your heel.”
“Why is it called your heel?”
“I don’t know. It just is.”
“But what IS this?” again, pointing to his heel.
“No, what is THIS?”
“I told you, it’s your heel.”
“Mom, did you order something? I’m going to make you laugh.”
“No, I didn’t order anything.”
“I think you ordered a knuckle sandwich!”
“Mom. I’m going to sing you a song about the knuckle sandwich. And raining tacos.”
He is singing.
“Mom. Mom. Why do you always call them bugs?”
“What do you mean?”
“Why do you always call them bugs? I mean the ladybug. Why do you always call it a ladybug?”
“I don’t know, that’s just the name.”
“Of what?” he asks.
“Huh? Of the ladybug.”
I don’t even know what we’re talking about anymore. I don’t know what I was writing about. I need more coffee.
“Why do you always call this a table?”
“That’s just the name of it.”
“Why do you always call this a house? The game of ‘Sorry’ is a house.”
The struggle is real.
He’s left the room in search of his “manket” (a tattered scrap of fabric that was once a blanket), and now I’m thinking about going to the beauty supply store for stuff to color/tone my own hair. Because who has time to go to the salon? Also, I watched some YouTube videos, and I’m pretty sure I know how to do it.
This column didn’t go as I intended, but I believe we’ve addressed the question at hand, and the answer is—yes, kids are why you (I) can’t think straight. We did not answer the questions about the house or ladybug or table, but those are more for discussion (argument) purposes. There are no right answers to those questions, ever.
(Betsy Swenson can be reached at email@example.com.)