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Thursday, October 2, 2008

I am the Toilet Paper Fairy

I am the CEO of our Home. The Queen of the Clean Latrine. Domestic Goddess is an understatement. I am a stay at home mom. Oh, I've been a working mom too, don't jump on me. Neither is harder than the other, but I will find that my current job comes with much less guilt than the other.

Watching Oprah yesterday, she featured "The Country's Most Hated Mom". You remember the story of the mom who was a vice principal (I think) of an elementary school. On a busy day, with her young child sleeping in the back of her car, she bypassed the daycare drop off and headed straight to work. Eight hours later, her daughter was discovered, dead of heat stroke, in the back of the car. A horrific story. A horrible accident. No one was to blame.

I'm not going to talk about the craziness of mom's lives and the busy schedules that we lead, whether working or "not" (which are you kidding me? I work all day at home!). I'm not going to go into our first thought at this story: how could you forget your child? She didn't forget her child, she was just juggling and rushing and racing and their schedule had changed (dad usually dropped off the wee ones) and a horrible, horrible thing happened. I forgive her. She will never forgive herself, so adding to that is really a waste of our time.

So, why am I writing this? Well, it's because there are so many things that we moms juggle on a daily basis. Terrible accidents like this are rare, but what happened after she told her story was so interesting. Oprah had opened an anonymous phone line to let mothers call in their stories of being overwhelmed. She shared other stories of braver women who faced the camera and talked about their insane schedules and their thinly stretched selves. They all cried out for understanding, help, sympathy, and for a chance to just vent.

I think what people don't realize is that there's only so much that our brains can handle at once, but yet, we try to cram in even more. We live in a fast-paced world and I don't think we're any better for it. Information comes at us at lightening speed, people work harder and longer than any time in the past, and crazy schedules are the norm. I'm lucky, in some respects, that I only have one child. After having five miscarriages and being denied adoption due to a medical condition, I never thought I would say that. (I guess I'm finally in the acceptance stage--yeah!) Last night, while helping with homework, I was also: cleaning the kitchen, refilling a prescription, filling out a permission slip, writing a check, writing a list, crossing off on the list, feeding the fish and the dogs, having a conversation with D about our kitchen floor, answering an email, and looking for some cough drops while trying to figure out just what a factor is so I don't look stupid when Young One asks another question and thinking that I should just sneak over to my laptop and Google "factor", but then can I really be that old that I can't remember what it is and then it comes back to me and...

Deep Breath.
Sometimes I think if you could look inside the mind of a mom you would see a whole circus spinning around with jugglers, clowns, gymnasts, daredevils, and that obligatory little girl over in the corner crying into her cotton candy because she's afraid of the clowns. The lion tamer is cracking the whip and somewhere in there is a Ringmaster who's so freaking tired of managing the whole thing that she's ready just to drop. (But, she looks good in her black pants and snappy red blazer!)

Now, back to the title. Just where did I come up with that anyway? Well, you see, it comes from just one of the many invisible jobs that I do around the house to keep it running smoothly. Oddly enough, in a house with three bathrooms, one that I rarely use, it seems that I am the only one that can change the toilet paper. Sometimes, there will be two squares on the roll, but no one has changed it (Am I alone here?). I've threatened, cajoled, nagged, but to no avail. My question of, "Could you use two squares to do the job?" has gone unanswered. Some day. SOME DAY. I am going to hide all those full rolls that are always available under the cabinet, leave the two squares on the holder and make sure not another paper product is in sight, and wait for my trap to spring. I'll be nowhere near the bathroom, but within earshot, and laugh gleefully when I hear the, "Hey, where's the toilet paper?!!"

I'm rambling again, aren't I?

I do a lot of invisible jobs. Toilet paper fairy is just one of them. Here are some more:

  • Warm Feet Fiend (Bathroom Rug Cleaner) Young One thought I just "bought new or somethin' "

  • Flame Thrower. (Oven cleaner) Yes, we do have an automatic one, but someone has got to wipe it out.

  • Refrigerator Deep Sea Diver and Brave Explorer. I do delve into the nether regions and open containers that only a mom could look into and survive the smell. I also have been known to fight toxic spills to the death.

  • Milk Maid. No matter how fast you drink it or how slow it goes, we will never go without. Your cereal is safe.

  • Junk Mail Banisher. There will be no recyclable junk mail that doesn't meet my wrath.

  • Dr. PooLittle. OK, I stole this from a dog poop clean up service, but it's way to cute. Yes, I do the doo, occasionally.

  • Juliet the French Maid. No, not what you think, that would be too obvious. But, I do clean and make beds every day.

I'm running out of time, so I can't write more. But, I think you understand what I'm getting at. We moms juggle. When you work outside the home, you juggle even more. Sometimes it goes unnoticed all that we do and that can be extremely frustrating, but I think dads do the same. When was the last time you thanked your spouse or partner for a little thing? Maybe if we start doing that, our little things will get noticed too!

On a side note, I've tried to offer up prayers for this poor woman who lost her daughter. I get a little dumbstruck, though. I can't find the words. So, I'm just sending up some positive prayers for some healing and for some peace. Anything else, would be impossible. She was very brave to tell her story and perhaps, she can find some solace that because of her, many others will not make the same mistake.

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