Saturday, February 5, 2011

Laundry lists and losing innocence...

 ~"You can do anything you want to do.  This is your world"~ Bob Ross



 It's hard to believe that just a few short weeks ago I was lamenting the fact that my kids were back in school. I was sad because we had had such a lovely Christmas break. I even thought that I was going to miss having them around... that I might even be lonely..Oh, how young I was...and naive! I had forgotten about winter-until it hit-HARD.   There has not been a full week of school since it resumed in January..either because of snow days, holidays or sick kids. So I look back at my misbegotten youth of three weeks ago  and wonder "WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING?" Oh.. I suppose that I could blame my innocence on the  abundance of  holiday cheer (candy) frolicking gleefully through my system .. or maybe it was the eggnog?..Perhaps the combination of both? But whatever the reason-I was NOT in my right mind when I wrote that. Really.

  It feels as though the past few weeks have been spent doing nothing but laundry, filling snack requests, taking care(cleaning up after) of sick kids and watching the weather channel. There are just so many goldfish/popcorn/pretzel requests one can fill...so many toilet mishaps one can clean  before one loses their mind. I know that I can't be the only stay at home prisoner parent who feels this way.  I was talking to another mom the other day on one of my rare solitary escapes trips out . After exchanging a few pleasantries the conversation turned to what life in the BIG house has been like lately...and from there...well...

Me-"It has gotten to a point that the minute I'm done doing something-like the laundry..another load magically appears."
Them-"Oh I know what you mean..I feel like all I do is laundry"
Me-"Yeah! I think I'm doing something like four loads a day...how do my kids generate so much of it?..I don't know where it comes from!"
Them-"Well..I'm doing at LEAST FIVE loads a day..you know..with my two kids AND my in-laws.
Me-"umm..yeah..I'm glad I have one of those high efficiency machines so I can stuff it full.."
Them-" Don't complain..my washer is so old I have to kick it to make it work."
Me-"complain?...alright...?"
Them-Whenever I hear someone complain about doing laundry I feel like screaming at them "At least your washer works!!"..We can't afford a new washer..I don't even have a spin cycle..I have to wring it out by hand! Do you have ANY idea of how much work that is?"
Me-"beats going to the river and pounding it on rocks.."
Them-"What?!.."
Me-"BEATS GOING TO THE RIVER AND POUNDING IT ON ROCKS..hahahahahaha.."
Them-"Oh you just don't know..." and on and on it went.. Sigh...I guess they won..I was outdone by a broken down washer..Crazy thing is-I didn't even know it was a contest.

 Did you ever notice that? You make a statement about being tired or overwhelmed and more often than not-the person you say it to is COMPELLED to let you know that their tiredness trumps yours.   I mean, there I was...discussing something as..mundane as laundry(yes I need a hobby)-and it got turned into a "who has it worse" event. Whats the point?   It wasn't as though I was trying to steal her laundry thunder-I swear! She could be queen of the Maytag or hussy of the hand wash for all it mattered to me. It is just laundry!  sigh.. I was just happy to be out of the house.

  The only time that I find this oneupmanship game really annoying  is when I see it in the parenting community..My goodness, the things that are said!..The "How dare they! They have no right to complain!!" and "Their child does this and MY child will NEVER be able to do that" statements..It kind of freaks me out. Look, I get being overwhelmed..tired..at wits end.  I am a parent-it goes with the territory.   I believe most parents (if not all) are pretty experienced in these things..perhaps even overqualified- in all three. I know that I am.  But complaining because your three year old will NEVER be president or a basketball player? I mean..they are THREE!  Unless you are counting in dog years..doesn't that seem a little bit...extreme?.

 Maybe it upsets me because I see how hard my own kids have worked. Hind site IS always 20/20.. Oh sure, there are days when Sam finds it necessary to tell me about every Pokemon character in great detail (I think that there are millions of the little..uhh creatures) Or Oscar asks me to say "Big Belly" over and over followed by uncontrolled laughter when I do..when the girls play the theme song to "My little pony"over and over until I feel like ripping my teeth out (Why I equate "My Little Pony" to dentistry I do not know). But we muddle through..we get by..and more often than not-we laugh. Because, there was a time I'd have done anything to hear them speak...to express themselves in a way where they were understood by everyone.  Now that they do-I can not complain...vent perhaps..but never complain.

  So here we are at the beginning of another weekend. It is  going to snow and be very cold. Which in turn means that we will be stuck inside...all day. Four children and one mother-stuck inside the house. I for one, am very much looking forward to Monday. I guess I've lost my innocence  If there is anyone who wishes to "one up" me on this weekend-please, be my guest.

24 comments:

Life in the House That Asperger Built said...

Ok..First of all, I don't care if she was living in a van down by the river. Unless she has 5 kids, your load trumps hers, right there. Each additional kid adds EXPONENTIALLY to the mothering load. What a dumbass.

Ok... I feel better. Sorry for the crappy weather, and winter jail! Hope y'all get out soon.

(((hugs)))

Big Daddy Autism said...

You said "Load". Hee Hee.

I don't know what your complaining about, laundry wise. I did it once in 1986. It wasn't so bad.

KWombles said...

It's one-upping the Jones's in reverse, isn't it?

It's enough to say I feel your pain, to show solidarity and understanding, rather than comparing who has it harder. Even if it's a somewhat innate hardwired tendency to jockey for position in a fictional hierarchy.

Screw the hierarchy. We'll lead a rousing round of "We are the world." Hee, hear us sing that we all have laundry and kids and needs!

farmwifetwo said...

Laundry... it stops??? :)

Enjoy your weekend. I only have 2 housebound kids.

Clay said...

There's a washer and dryer downstairs at my entrance. They look pretty old, but I haven't used them yet. I suppose I should do all of my clothes, just to get rid of the smell of cigarette smoke on them. Maybe I'll do that today.

I'm so looking forward to Spring. What, it's about a month and a half away?

Jean said...

Are you quite sure you're not Irish??
We actually enjoy the martyrdom, but it's very important that everyone is beaten around the head our tormented saintliness.
Oh feck it, I'd much rather have a few glasses of wine and laugh at them XXX

Papa Bear said...

The complaints that get to me are the ones from people who DON'T EVEN HAVE KIDS about how hard their lives are, how perfect their kids would be, and all you have to do is yadda, yadda, yadda...

Oops, did I just try to one-up you complaining about the complaints I have to listen to?

Looking for Blue Sky said...

I get cabin fever too: roll on Monday and I hope that all yours get to school this week x

bbsmum said...

Ever seen this Monty Python sketch? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe1a1wHxTyo
It's about 4 men comparing how hard and poverty-stricken their upbringings were, trying to outdo each other to comic extremes. (sorry, your friend just reminded me of it!)

Lynn said...

The oneupsmanship is the worst coming from my husband. I am not allowed to say that I am tired, stressed, miserable, depressed, spent, whatever...without it being "me too" to the umpteenth power. Sheesh. Complaining doesn't get you anywhere when everyone treats it like a race instead of maybe showing a teensy bit of empathy.

Life in the House That Asperger Built said...

@bb: WE LOVE THAT SKIT!!! Whenever one of us says, "well we had to..." or "today I had to..." the other one shouts "LUXURY!"

LOL...too funny!

Angela said...

oh my gosh...I hate one upers in general...I just want to tell them I just wanted to bitch not have a competition.

It will be monday soon (eww I just made myself sad LOL) don't stress to much!

Stephanie said...

Personally, I'd much rather complain about shoveling than laundary. But that might have to do with how difficult it is to keep my kids clothed, i.e. actually wearing any.

I don't get the oneupmanship, though. Wouldn't it be better to commisserate than to out do?

K- floortime lite mama said...

love your post Kathleen as always
sending you a big hug
i never understand the one upmanship wars either

kathleen said...

@Life in the house-thanks :)

@Bigdaddy-Heehee..I'm thinking of setting up a play date between you and Oscar soon.

@Kwombles-absolutely! hee.

@farmwife-I have heard of a magical place where the laundry is always done..I think it's a myth...or a nudist colony..:)

@Clay-good luck on the laundry..remember you cn always use a rock by the river! ;0 I do think spring is coming-but I'm at the point where I'll believe it when I see it.

@ Jean-Ha! I'm with you on the wine..I WAS raised by Irish Catholics..;0 It is called having the "offer it Up" gene..hee.

@Papabear-I know! The "My kids would NEVER" people..hey look! I one upped your one up!

@Bluesky-thanks :)

@bbsmum-I ADORE Monty Python..this skit always reminded me of my dad who "walked 5 miles to school in hip deep snow..and took showers with pigs..etc." he grew up in a city..:)

@ Lynn-I am sorry for that. It isn't helpful when your partner doesn't listen..you just need to vent and they won't let you. Empathy certainly would be better..and yes-"a race" was a great way of putting it.

@Angela-hee..Your Monday is my Friday!!

@Stephanie-absolutely! What exactly does one "win" when one upping anyway?

@K-floortime--as always Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dear,

Great blog - many good points.
Mom and Dad were much harder on me! :)

Love, Ei

Stephanie said...

"What exactly does one "win" when one upping anyway?"

Maybe it's the satisfaction of knowing you are more miserable than someone else, and making sure they know it too.

Some people actually want to be pitied; I think it's the whole negative attention is better than no attention thing.

kathleen said...

@ Anonymous-A.K.A. Eileen...Mom and dad might have been harder on you because they thought you were "worth" it..heehee..they didn't bother with me well..you know..I had no skills..wasn't smart..was fat..and in the looks dept?.well not everyone can be a model like there mother! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

@ Stephanie-I just can't fathom it..It makes me crazy to think anyone would pity me..so to think someone else would want that is alien to me. You make perfect sense though..When I hear the things people say or write-especially about their children..it makes me question the world-more so than usual..;0

dswalkerauthor.com said...

Kathleen,
I would send you some warm weather if I could! I hope the weather improves soon for everyone on the mainland and in Australia. I know I have nothing to complain about in comparison.
Aloha,
Sue

Stephanie said...

It does make me wonder.

@jencull (jen) said...

Lol at Kims observation of one-upping being the Jones's in reverse, so true though. It, and the Jones's annoy me. Oh, you were very polite to call Pokemon 'creatures' I get an earful of them Every. Single. Day. and really should be an expert on the little ***** but all it does is make me lose the will to engage with my child!! Jen

Michelle said...

This is a gem. I still get surprised at how tough moms are on each other.

My own mother is a big one-upper. She says that she does it to make me feel better that I could have it worse. I saw it's just annoying.

kathleen said...

@dswalker-I DO want to get to Hawaii one day..it sounds lovely. Generally, I like the snow-in moderation..we just seem to be getting tons all at once.

@ Jen-yeah..pokemon and all his evil cohorts..my little ponies etc. I truly believe that evil people created them to torment parents. :) They do make me want to run and hide from time to time...well..maybe more than time to time..hee!

@Michelle-hahaha..yeah, I'd be pretty annoyed at your mom as well..sometimes you just want to vent..or I don't know..get a pat on the back? I agree..sometimes parents can really be tough to one another..I do not understand that. I think supporting each other is so much more pleasant..whats to lose?

jazzygal said...

Oh I hate when someone does that oneupmanship shite (excuse the French!)or they tell you you're lucky you don't have it as bad as so-and-so. We're all entitled to our bad days and our rants !

Oh and if I did hand-washing I would SO be the Hussy of Hand-Washing!! :-)))

xx Jazzy