Oh, my lord but I’m exhausted. “But, why, Lanie?” you are saying, “You just had a full two days off.”

Okay, I’m going to ignore that, though I am obligated to snarkily remind you that mothers NEVER have a day off. (I can’t believe you’d even suggest it!) Anyway, as I was trying to say, I am exhausted precisely because it is the weekend. During the week we have work and school and extracurriculars, so I’ve managed to lower my expectations for myself to a more reasonable level. There is only a certain amount of work that is possible in that limited time, after all. I’ve prioritized, people! (My priority list looks like this:#1–work and kids. #2–Biggest Loser and The New Adventures of Old Christine reruns. #3–everything else.)
But during the weekend I run myself into the ground trying to be the person I wish I was and let me tell you, that lady is a pill.
This occurred to me as I was fixing the bed, a purely Saturday and Sunday occurrence for any of us in this house. (shhhhh…don’t tell my mother. Or my Grandma. Or my sister. You know what? Forget I said anything.) Weekends used to be this whole vast expanse of potential fun-movies, music, afternoons browsing through a used bookstore or -gasp!- actual contact with friends. You know what it is now? Fixing the dad-blamed bed, cleaning the cat box and organizing the entryway. Blech. No wonder my kids think that I’m no fun. I think that I’m no fun.
I want to be, really! I want to be funny and witty and jolly and organized and athletic and energetic but come Saturday I look around this place and cannot believe that the stellar woman in my brain would live in a house that looks like the inside of a gym locker. So I clean. And clean and clean and clean. And while I’m cleaning, the kids are following right behind me, messing stuff up.
This is not a good thing.
Because the other part of this equation is that I HATE cleaning. Hate. I’m not good at it. I’m easily distracted by the computer and celebrity gossip sites….oh, sure, I start out on Huffington Post’s political page, but then I have to click over to Style to see what Michelle Obama has been wearing and it’s all downhill from there. Forty-five minutes later it occurs to me that I came down to the basement to get the clothes out of the dryer, not troll the internet for pictures of Clive Owen (mmmm…pretty). So tasks that really should take just a morning require all weekend to accomplish. Now I’m grumpy AND I’m still cleaning.
The problem is I want to be this:

But in reality, I am closer to this:

And while my fondest dream is to have a home that looks like this;

my real-life domicile looks like…well, nobody needs to see that.
The greatest conflict in my life is how to rectify the person that I want to be with the person that I am. I am a good, if messy, cook. I am a dedicated, if painfully slow, runner. I am a mother who loves her kids to pieces, even if I’ve resorted to locking them out of the house on occasion (What? It was summer…Fresh air is GOOD for children, dang it.) If I’ve got one thing going for me, it’s that I constantly strive to be better.
But you know what? I suspect that choosing to focus on these household things–organizing, cleaning, rearranging– is taking the easy way out. I’ve picked the equivalent of the Augean stables; the cleaning will NEVER be done. Maybe “better” shouldn’t start and end with “tidy.” Maybe I’m always focused on that because it’s easier than striving to be patient when I am so dang mad or to be present when my mind starts racing like a squirrel in a box. Maybe, god forbid, I could try to be happy in the midst of my staggering imperfection.
Either way, it sounds like an awful lot of work.
I wonder what Michelle is wearing? It probably wouldn’t hurt to check for just one little minute….

The Rise & Fall of a Momocracy

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