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My Sweet Summer

This is the beginning of my second week of my summer home with the kids. Those who learn of my work schedule always say to me, "You are so lucky to be off from work during the summer!" And, I agree. At home, I wear pjs and work out clothes all day, I can be outside during the three sunny days of the year and occasionally can catch Dr. Oz. And let's face it, I can't give my co-workers a time out or hand them a cheese stick to get them to be quiet and leave me alone for a few minutes.

I've written before about Andy's overt jealousy about my part-time status and his multitude of references to my "bon-bon summer". I think he envisions what it would be like for him to have an eight week hiatus from the office and all of the projects he'd accomplish and all of the lawns he'd mow. Thanks to his delusions of grandeur, he is often concerned when he arrives home and I haven't accomplished the wifely responsibilities he'd planned for me that day. Like a broken record, I have to explain to him why it seems as though I cleaned no bathrooms, folded no laundry nor washed any dishes and why I'm not going to partake in any of those activities at any other point of this particular day. Again, he looks at me in confusion. Why am I angry? Hasn't today been filled with bon bons and good times? I'll lay it out for you, now, just as I do for him, by sharing with you a typical summer day's schedule for me and then one for Andy. Here goes.

5:30 am: pretend not to hear baby cry. Sleep.
6:45 am: Wake up. Check fantasy baseball and email. Clip toenails.
6:45-7:30: Have "bathroom time" without family.
7:30-8:00: Check more email. Take a few phone calls.
8:30 am: Hugs and kisses for kids. Depart for work.
11:45: Take call from Melissa. Deduce that she is yelling about something to do with Caroline rolling around on ground and Charlotte pulling poo out of her diaper but continue typing email and saying "mmm hmmmm".
12:00: Go out to lunch with friend to Applebee's.
1:30-4:30 pm: More quiet, peaceful, self-directed time work. Intermittent breaks to check bid for 9/11 memorabilia on ebay.
4:30 pm: Leave work to head home to change for baseball game. Sit in car in driveway for 15 minutes talking on phone while children look up and cry for Daddy.
5:30-8:30 pm: Live out childhood dreams during baseball game.
8:45 pm: Arrive home just in time to kiss Caroline good-night and fall asleep in her bed.
10:30pm-1:30 am: Wake up, watch TV and check fantasy baseball.

And now, an example of my day.
5:30 am: Wake up with Charlotte. Give her a bottle and try to keep her from screaming and waking up Caroline.
6:45 am: Caroline wakes up by moaning and slapping me when I enter her room and try to hug her.
6:45-7:45: Run back and forth between kitchen, dining room and bedroom feeding children, dressing children and changing a poopy diaper immediately after changing first poopy diaper.
7:45-8:45: Try to wash my face and brush my teeth while Charlotte clings to my leg, falls down and hits head on floor. Give Caroline a 5 minute warning about the ipad, which she has been glued to since Andy gave it to her on his way to "bathroom time".
8:45-9:30: Rapidly run around house picking up toys and random articles of clothing while Charlotte holds onto the back of my leg and Caroline pulls out all of the toys I just put away. Clean poop from the second diaper change off of my shirt.
9:45: Try to open van door which partially opens and then gets stuck. Climb over Charlotte's car seat to buckle Caroline in. Slam my body against door to get it to shut and never to open for eternity. Drive to local outdoor museum.
10:00-12:00: Smile at scorn-faced strangers like a drugged fool as Caroline has a tempter tantrum because she wants to push her sister in the stroller and her sister prefers to walk. Temporarily "lose" Charlotte while telling another mother about how great it is to have the summer off. Panic and call her name out only to find her standing behind me eating dirt.
12:00-12:05: Unpack teeny tiny hand-cut fruits and veggies and other wholesome foods. Caroline tells me she is not hungry and runs away. Charlotte throws the fruit in the dirt, picks it back up and eats it.
12:10pm-1:30: Char falls asleep en route to beach. Caroline screams that she is hungry and wakes up baby. Get girls pottied, diaper changed, suited up, lotioned up with swim shoes on. Carry large tote bag (hope the car keys are somewhere in there) and squirming baby across parking lot while repeating to Caroline, "This is a parking lot! Be careful! Look both ways! Be careful!"
1:30-4:30: Hold Caroline's hand in water, my legs numbing, as she refuses to be in water unless we are touching. Put Charlotte on shore to play. Run to her as she shoves rocks in her mouth. Caroline screams bloody murder because I have let go of her hand. Get dirty looks from Justin Bieber, teen lifeguard. Repeatedly tug at my swimsuit and wonder why the top is so damn baggy and the legs are so freeking tight.
Let Charlotte eat dirt while I pack up and change Caroline. Ask her to keep towel around her while changing. Realize Char is not in sight, run to find her eating some kid's goldfish crackers. Turn to see Caroline, totally naked, dipping in the water and belly flopping into the sand.
4:30-5:15: Kids fall asleep on car ride home. While children snooze in car (in a shady spot with doors open, ok?), unpack beach bag and throw dinner in oven. Find partial poop in Caroline's swimsuit. Feel badly knowing the rest of the turd is still floating in lake. Stand by car, watching sleeping children, use open door to block me as I remove my own swimsuit, legs happy that they can breathe again. Throw on dress. Moments later, greet plumber who has stopped by to drop off a bill.
5:30: Remove angry, tired children from car to discover A has peed through her diaper and B has peed in her booster seat. Remove seats and rinse them with hose while children cling to my legs and scream.
6:00: Change children into clean clothes. Serve dinner. Stand up and sit down 8 times to fill sippy cups, get seconds, napkins and pick up food off of the floor.
6:30: Bathe children. Get slapped trying to wash their hair. Panic as Charlotte stands up, falls over and hits head on tub.
6:30-7:30: Dress children, read stories, shower with kisses and caresses. Put to bed. Pray they stay asleep.
8:00: Shower. Eat chocolate bunny head while checking facebook. Go to bed.

Andy has got it all wrong. Yes, my summer is like a candy, just not not bon bons. This is my Sour Patch Kids summer. Have you ever seen those commercials- sour at first and then sweet? I'm the girl who wakes up with my pig tail cut off but then gives the little scissor-holding tyrant a hug because I just can't resist her cuteness. My girls are so evil and so angelic at the same time. They make me cry because I am so proud of them and because they make me insane.

I've thought many, many times about hanging up the heels and becoming a stay-at-home mom. This is a shout out to all of the amazing parents who have chosen not to collect a paycheck from the man and instead spend 24/7 running a household and raising their children to receive no health care or retirement benefits. This is a THANK YOU to my own mom who stayed home with me until I was 5 and then every summer after, listening to me ask over and over, "What are we doing next?" Who made me sandwich after sandwich and poured me glass of juice after glass of juice and played board games and Mad Libs with me.

This is a YOU'RE AMAZING to all of the parents who awake at 5 am every day to get themselves and their kids ready for the day, to drive 45 minutes to the office and daycare, work a whole day and then commute home, entertain and care for their children, lull them to sleep and get back on email to answer their boss's question that must be answered before 9 am tomorrow. For those who get to work on the day of the big meeting just to get a call 10 minutes later that their kid has thrown up and has a temp of 101.

I'm not unique. I'm not alone. I'm in awe.

For the record, I'd like to state that Andy has approved his schedule but he'd like to mention that two nights ago, between 10:30 and 12:30 he cleaned 5 litter pans just to have the cats poop in them as he poured new litter, emptied the dishwasher, paid all of our bills and filled the hot tub for the third time only to watch all of the water drain out of it again.


OMG! Yummy said…
Saying hi from SITS. Loved your recount and the fact that you took the time to spell it all out. I worked full time for 18 years with and without kids then stayed home full time for what was supposed to be a year but turned into more for many reasons. Hardest job I've ever done, especially with the added responsibility of a child that wasn't fitting into the school system. My kids are older now but the work doesn't end. I want to go back to work for the break :-)

Hang in there - it takes a village of family and friends but you'll survive.

Great post.

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