The Top Ten List of Shame
This post is for you, Viv, because a comment you left today put me in shock. Here's what you said, in response to this post, in which I revealed that my homeschooling life has had some colossal-ly bad moments:
I was feeling all left out, the way you have seemingly mastered life since you started homeschooling. It seems like everyone (bloggy pals) pulled their sh*t together all at once, and I still personify calamity and disaster...effectively becoming the odd man out. It is nice to know that you still have days where calamity and disaster prevail...because really, change a few initials and I could have written that, though I would have thrown in a few extra pucks. I feel decidedly less alone, and like maybe there is still hope for me one day after all. ;)
Reading that response made me realize that I have strayed from a tried-and-true theme of this blog: giving people just enough of a glimpse into the wonderful whackness of AIRY5 to make them really, really grateful that they do not have my life.
Does it appear that I have mastered life? Pulled my sh*t together? Eschewed calamity and disaster? Grab a sippy cup full of wine, my dear -- oh, wait, you might be feeding your seventh little blessing, who is all of what, 7 days old by now? -- or whatever beverage is handy, even if it's a juice pouch (but if it is, don't grab it before taking a long drag on that little straw or you know what will happen), and let me fly my freak flag* for you.
Here is a glimpse into my real life, my very own Top Ten list. Here, I give you The Top Ten Reasons It's Clear That I Do Not Have My Sh*t Together.
10. I never close my bedroom door. I wish I could say that this is because I am wholly committed to being available to my children, that I'm so willing to listen to what they have to say that I have an Open Door policy with them. Actually, it's because I tried it once, and felt so ashamed of and rebuked by the dust bunnies, infant socks, paper clips, and children's art projects that are behind it that I vowed never to shut it again. Keep in mind, I have not had an infant for 3+ years.
9. Once or twice (or possible many more), in a mad dash home from the grocery store at 5:45, still needing to make dinner, I have tossed a bag of pre-washed sugar snap peas at the occupants of my car, and called that the green vegetable for dinner. Or for the day.
8. My washing machine needs to be repaired. But I can't call the repairman, because he's a family friend, and I'm too embarrassed by the condition of the garage to get him over here to take a look at it. I mean, I'm fine with twisting myself sideways through various boxes and piles, in order to make it to the washer and dryer, but to let someone else in? I've seen this guy's garage. No thank you. These are the things that make me clean: the threat of abject humiliation. Even still, there's no telling how long it will take me.
7. I found my dining room table today, after over a month of being unsure if it was still, in fact, in the dining room. We had our monthly meeting with our Charter School teacher today, so there you go: the motivation I needed for that particular cleaning job. I still haven't found my kitchen table surface, my bedroom desk surface, my dresser surface, or, apparently, the surface of my self-respect.
6. My 4 year old has made it to preschool on time fewer than 10 times since school started last August. Once or twice, she didn't make it at all, just because we couldn't locate the wherewithal to get her there. I'd tell you how close we live to the preschool, but that would just be embarrassing. Unlike the rest of this list.
5. In one of the most fiercely waged wars of my life, my laundry is currently (and usually) winning. Piles are advancing like disciplined troops intent on wrecking havoc and destruction. More than one clean basket has now been folded, ransacked, re-folded, and re-ransacked more times that I can count. Dirty baskets lie in wait, mocking me on soccer game days with the possibility that the jersey I so desperately need to find is balled up in a damp corner growing new forms of penicillin.
4. When people tell me how great my kids are, I fight the urge to make sure they aren't confusing us with some other family of seven. Really? These fighting, screaming, rude, messy, clueless, lazy, selfish, defiant, weepy whiners? If they're so flippin' great, why do I mostly want to hide in the closet and play single player scrabble on my iPhone? And if they really are that great, then isn't it just the pinnacle of unfairness that my husband and I are the only people they do not share their greatness with?
3. Every time I need to print something from my computer, I have to move three or four piles of crap just to reach the printer cable and attach it to my laptop. Then I have to move a bunch of other stuff to make room to sit down on the edge of a chair covered in laundry, so I can be there to catch the pages as they come out, since the tray got broken by the fierce tiny grip of a child testing the laws of physics. Then I have to wait a kajillion years for it to work, because apparently it's a very Marin, EST-type of printer, and it's all about the process, and letting the process take the time it needs, and giving the process room to unfold in an organic and holistic fashion, and making me want to hurl it out my second story front window. So basically, printing stuff brings out my rage.
2. Every night, I plan to get the kids up by 7 or 8am the next morning, so that we can have a decent breakfast, do all of the morning chores, address our school activities, and have free time in the afternoon. Every morning, I get up early, sneak downstairs to make coffee, and then crouch over my computer reading news, blogs, and facebook, sipping coffee and praying they sleep until 10. My heart sinks when I hear feet on the stairway. Then I stall for as long as possible. Drink more coffee. Throw some toast out there. Adjust expectations downward.
And the #1 reason I know I don't have a damn thing together: Due to the sorry state of laundry in my home, someone in my family recently had to wear underwear intended for a gender not his or her own, because no clean ones in his or her own gender category were available. And no, I'm not saying who.
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*And the Freak Flag reference comes from the lovely Anna Quindlen, in this piece from momfilter. She said this:
I think having bright lines and boundaries really worked for us, that it made our kids strong and secure because they were clear on expectations and responsibilities. But I wish I had been better able to combine that with letting things go a little bit. Nobody really needs a bath every night. Nobody really needs a balanced meal for every meal. I should have let the freak flag fly a bit more. It’s hard to be a Type A mom. I wish I could have been a bit more B plus, for my sake and their own.
I hear you, Anna. But then, I think my own freak flag could probably stand a little vacation from my door post. And I'm not so much a Type A mom, as a Type A-Z mom who can't find clean underwear...for someone.
Bright lines and boundaries? I'm sure they're here somewhere. Maybe I'll find them in the garage on the same day I get the repair guy over here.
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