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Twenty-first Century Mom

OK, please hold your applause till I’m finished with my statement:

Today I cleaned out my recipe book.

OK, you can applaud, yell, scream, or laugh, as it suits you.

But seriously, sometimes I’m just in the mood to get things done. I don’t remember which feminist it was — she who responded to a man who said that women can’t be in charge because of PMS by saying, “What do you mean? Once a month I really kick butt and get things done!”

I don’t think I follow any particular hormonal cycle, but some days I get up and start cleaning out a closet, refilling spice jars, and laundering the scummy towel I keep in my car. I vacuum under a piece of heavy furniture, wipe down the shelves of the refrigerator, and pick up the junk we’ve been throwing out on the back deck for the last few months. I find the surface of my desk, delete files from my computer’s desktop, and change the burnt-out lightbulb I’ve been pretending to ignore.

It feels good.

I really don’t know how I’d get through all the trivia of my life if I didn’t get into these moods. Some days, like yesterday, I drag around and realize at 1 p.m. that I haven’t actually accomplished anything yet. Yesterday being a school day, at about noon I looked at my daughter and said, “We have done nothing yet today. Let’s get out of here.”

She looked at me in all innocence. “What do you mean we’ve done nothing? You’ve been my student all morning.”

She had been trying to teach me the language she made up. I had the suspicion that she was making it up as she taught me, especially because words kept changing from one iteration to the next. But it had kept her amused.

I, on the other hand, felt like my brain was turning to goo. “Let’s go to the Educational Resource Center,” I suggested.

“No, let’s go to Blue Balls Park,” she countered.

“It’s raining,” I reminded her. “The slides will be all wet.”

“OK,” she said. “We can stay home and you can go to my school.”

“Arghhh!!!” I said, or something like that but unspellable, and I stalked off. I thought perhaps I should clean the bathrooms. I thought perhaps I should vacuum, or straighten up the living room, or write a novel. But I could get myself to do nothing, nothing at all.

“OK,” my daughter said, relieving me of my frustration. “Let’s go to the Educational Resource Center.”

[Aside: we went and I actually met someone whom I’d previously only “met” online. This hasn’t happened to me in years. When it first happened to me over and over when I was in college, I was constantly disappointed. People seemed so much more glamorous on the Stanford BBoard, and they didn’t commit any major fashion errors. Now I’ve become accustomed to the fact that humans are humans, and I actually enjoy meeting people I “know” online. Hi, Sarah!]

So peel the page over to today and you’ve got a whole new me. I got up and actually found a breakfast for my daughter that she would eat. I not only cleaned bathrooms but vacuumed half the house. I remembered after my son’s violin lesson to get his violin repaired, something that had been escaping my memory for…eh…months. I got things done and it felt good.

So now my recipe book has been culled. All those things that I stuck in there thinking I’d make them one day? Recycled. All those things I’ve made but never typed up so that they won’t be bits of crumbling newspaper falling out every time I pick the thing up? Removed and set on my desk for typing.

I feel so successful, and yet…

….now my desk is a mess. I can’t find anything, and I’ve lost my recipe book under the pile. I guess I’ll have to wait for another one of those days, because this one is over. I’m ready to read, to putter around, to ponder what to do… and then realize that it’s time for bed and what to do is obvious. Sleep and get ready for yet another successful… or yet another brain-goo-producing day. What I’ll get tomorrow, I can’t know. It’s just yet another exciting part of being a twenty-first century mom.

Posted in Parenting.


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