There are two ways to look at it.
I am referring to being a stay at home mom.
It is the never ending week…
Or the never ending weekend.
In general, Monday mornings get a bad rap. No one says “Looks like someone has a case of the Saturdays”… It’s the end of the ‘fun’ days and the start of the ‘work’ days…
Saturday comes around and suddenly here comes Gene Kelly, heel clicking with Debbie Reynolds and singing “Good morning to you!!!!”, twirling around and making plans for the day…..
I am a stay at home mom to little kids… the only difference between Monday and Saturday is the letters in front of the word ‘day’.
There is no boss that is going to fire me, no stress of meeting deadlines, no promotion around the corner… nowhere I have to be… so really…. it’s up to me to decide…. is it the never ending week? or is it the never ending weekend?
On my ‘never ending week’ days I am gripping the steering wheel of my
mom-mobile Subaru, driving to the grocery store with my three kids in carseats behind me…. looking up to the heavens and literally pleading with some higher power…. “please…. please let there be a car-cart. I know what I said before…. about not ever being one of those car-cart moms. But listen, for that, I am truly sorry. I didn’t know. How are you supposed to know? I need that car-cart. Please… I NEED that car-cart.”
On my ‘never ending weekend’ days I look over at my kids munching on their morning bacon on a random Thursday and realize…. We can go wherever we want today. We could pack our bags and drive to Montana, eat drive-thru fries the entire time, dip our toes in a river and no one would even know we were gone. Why would I stay here in my house breaking up lego fights all day when there is a world out there for us to explore? I pack some extra clothes and hit the road, Jack.
On my ‘never ending week’ days I usually have a big goal. Like drinking an entire cup of coffee without interruption. Like taking a shower. On these days I am quickly reminded of the super power children possess of knowing the exact moment you sit down or foolishly think you are in the clear and sneak off with your book. That is when the inevitable “I’M DONE!!!!” comes yelling from one of the bathrooms or a yelp as someone gets whacked on the head with a shovel outside…. On these days I feel like I spend the entire day attending the needs of others and usually end up belly flopping on my bed and saying out loud into my quilt…”I thought I’d be better at this…..”
On my ‘never ending weekend days’ I peek around the corner and find all three boys are playing quietly. One is building ‘The tallest tower in the wowld’, one is looking at a Richard Scary book and one is slipping on his boots to go ride his bike. I turn on some John Denver and sit down to paint. Lunch time comes around and we sit outside to have a picnic. We dig in the garden together and take a walk to feed the sheep our apple cores. My husband comes home from work and I tell him what a glorious day we had, he whisks the boys upstairs so I can have a break and I drive off to the gym smiling….
On my ‘never ending week’ days nothing goes right. The dog peed in the night and one kid had a bad dream. We all wake up cranky and dang it, we forgot to get more bread. I think about all the things we don’t have, all the things I didn’t do, all the things that would make our lives easier. I think about my 20’s and our lives before kids, about sleeping in and going out and making my own money and spending every last penny at Michaels.
On my ‘never ending weekend’ days I am about to put in a load of laundry. I look outside and catch the sun rising over our garden. I swoop up my kids and put them in the car, still in their pajamas. We drive an hour and a half north and hike into a crystal clear lake. We strip down naked and I give them their first swim lessons… swirling their little bodies through cool water and watching their eyes sparkle with delight. We crawl out and eat ripe nectarines perched on warms rocks. We hike back to the car and sing drunken sailor songs with our windows down and wave to strangers.
On my ‘never ending week’ days I am on my knees mopping up spilled milk… mixed with play doh…. and something else from the bottom of someone’s boot they forgot to take off at the door. The little one is climbing the fence and I run out in my socks to grab him before he hightails it down our driveway and the twins are upstairs emptying their drawers onto the floor to find their favorite sweats that they won’t find because I forgot to do laundry. I haven’t washed my hair in three days and I look over to see my husband freshly showered, packing his lunch for the day. It’s 8:00 am and I am already exhausted. I think “What I would give to trade places with you just for today….”
On my ‘never ending weekend’ days I am sitting on a log in my bathing suit on the beach. It is 11:00 am on a Tuesday and it is 75 degrees. I take a sip of my iced coffee and lift my face to the sun. The boys are squealing with joy as they thrash around in the water and run over to show me moon shells and crab claws and ask if they can put them on their treasure shelves at home before they run back into the surf. I snap a picture and send it to my husband…. “I wish you were here….”. On these days I wouldn’t trade places with anyone in the world.
On my ‘never ending week’ days I ask my son to put on his shoes because we are going to be late for school. I ask him again and again nicely, calmly…. using my monotone mom voice that sounds sweet but really is yelling inside my head and finally I say “Tate! why haven’t you put on your shoes? we are going to be late!!” He looks up at me with tears in his eyes and says “But Mom, you’ve never shown me how…….” …….And my heart breaks in two. I later sob in the bathroom and tell myself how horrible I am, but for now I just kneel down and quietly show him how to loosen the straps… I really have never shown him how, I realize. I apologize and we strike a deal that I will slow down and show him how to do more things, so then he can do them on his own.
TODAY I woke up to the little one sneaking into our bed…. the sun was rising and the sky was pink. He falls back asleep and I feel his sweet breath on my cheek. I look over at my husband and catch him smiling. I smile too. We have everything we ever wanted. Everything we ever hoped and dreamed and asked for is right here… it is surrounding us. We get up and drink coffee together and watch the boys run around squealing…. At some point one of us glances at the clock…. time to start the day…..
It’s in this moment that I realize…..
When my feet hit the floor every morning, it is me that decides what kind of day it will be. Even the days that I am mopping up vomit, shoving on mismatched socks, making appointments and feeling the pull of the ‘never ending week’…… Even those days I can decide to get up, take a bow, send a picture to my mom friends that will make them smile and feel less alone. Even on those days I can take off my sweats, put on a dress, turn on some swing music and teach them the twist. Even on those days I get to be here, right where I always wanted to be…. next to my babies… watching them grow up.
I never actively choose to have a ‘never ending week’ day.
I just sometimes forget that I am living a ‘never ending weekend’ life.
And maybe the real magic is taking a Monday and turning it into Saturday.