Late Saturday night, just about to feed Daniel again and go to bed, but I felt like blogging for a few minutes first. 🙂 The thoughts for this post were swirling in my head as I just spent an hour cleaning this mess up so I would have a reasonably clean space in which to season our soup, chop up the meat that was on the ham bones, and add the other leftover ham so we are ready to just heat it up after church tomorrow:
What I was thinking about while cleaning and cooking with everyone else safely in bed and fun music on the ipod was a comment someone made on my blog yesterday on facebook. It was from Jim, father of seven (almost) grown children (just 3 1/2 left at home), who noted, “I get tired just reading about your life. I guess we were like that a few years ago, but it is all a distant memory now.” The realization suddenly dawned on me that perhaps, as my chiropractor called me the other day, some people think I am a “supermom.” And that is definitely something I am not. So here is a post to set the record straight and to hopefully show you more of the real me, to remove any misconceptions you may have that I overwork myself or “overdo” it in the name of “doing it all.” Another friend on facebook recently posted a poem she wrote about all the things she doesn’t do as a homeschooling mom – things that are common in the homeschool community (and several of which I happen TO do like grinding wheat to make bread and giving my family liquid vegetable-based supplements, but I digress) – and it made me wonder if people might assume I do lots of stuff I don’t – thereby adding to my fake “awesomeness.” Alas, I have no super powers (and if I could choose, maintaining a clean house in the midst of chaos wouldn’t be one of them anyway) as evidenced by what I am about to show you. More incriminating photos from the kitchen:
1- I don’t wake up early. Yes, I burn the midnight oil, but that’s usually (as many days as I can talk my toddler into snuggling with me instead of continuing to beg me for cereal – at 8:30am-because I want to stay in bed another 30-60 minutes) followed by crawling out of bed (not hopping, in some sort of “chipper” fashion; perhaps I should say, “dragging myself out of bed”) some time between 9 and 10.
2- I may mess up my kitchen in epic cooking sprees, but that doesn’t mean an epic cleaning spree follows. I have been known to go a week with the same dirty pans on the counter. For real. This is because I love to eat, and cooking is enjoyable to me, but I’m not particularly enamored of cleaning. I am certainly a bit obsessive about some things (playing the same pipe tune 80 times in a row until I have it perfect ten times in a row), but cleaning isn’t one of them.
3- Sure, I grind wheat to bake our bread, pancakes, waffles, pizza crusts, bagels, cookies, etc. But this really doesn’t add a lot of time to the process. It’s the making of these things from scratch in the first place that takes up time and effort (planning time included!) What this means? We don’t eat as much of these things as normal families do. I don’t spend my weeks baking. I’ll bake maybe two-three items a week (two – just because if I am going to the trouble to bake, I may as well make other stuff, too, and put some away in the freezer) on one day (often spilling into a second day), and a lot of weeks, no baking occurs. I don’t buy much of this stuff, but we occasionally have store-bought frozen pizzas or take-out, and regular cookies and bagels have been known to cross our threshold. We tend to stay away from bread unless I’ve made it, so our “go-to” things are corn tortillas, and we go through a lot of them, and I don’t make them. So there – you can stop imagining me flitting around the kitchen in an apron 5 out of 7 days. (I have made them once. Yummy corn tortillas, but not on my list for reproducing on a regular basis.)
4- Oh yes! I love to cook! I adore great food! We only eat “real food” about three days a week, though, and the other days we have simple throw-together things (refer back to number 3 — TORTILLAS!) or leftovers. We even have things like cheese, crackers, salami, carrots with dip, and apples with peanut butter for dinner. On purpose.
5- I do so enjoy a good run, or getting the chance to really sweat several days a week. I’ve been doing it when John comes home for lunch between 10 and 11 some time. So if you do the math, that means I’m up for only the time it takes to make my morning protein shake and possibly do devotions with the kids before I’m leaving for the gym or on a run. Most days (Monday-Wednesday) I accomplish pretty much nil before 2pm. That’s because I get up late, focus on the kids’ and my nourishment (physical and spiritual), and then go work out. Score! Afterwards there’s nursing Daniel again and getting lunch for everyone, and before you know it BOOM! It’s after 2pm! Quick! Get Greer down for a nap! This is around the time the kids work on school, or perhaps they’ve been working on their computer school while I was at the gym, so school “happens” in a very organic sort of way. Anyone who thinks that I get all the cooking and cleaning done and also teach school all day and somehow fit in a workout – now you know the truth! Often during naptime, when both babies are napping, I clean a bit, surf the internet, and work on food things for dinner or finish up lunch jobs (normally I’m thinking about dinner days in advance and need to get parts of it started around lunch time), and I SIT WITH MY FEET UP (or I even just get horizontal!) for at least some part of naptime.
6- Yes! I play the bagpipes! (And all these other instruments….come on, though, I “play” them, but I don’t practice them like I do the bagpipes, so I only play the flute or the piano once every few months for fun now because I spent my childhood “practicing” them to obtain proficiency. :)) When do I find the time to practice?!? I’ve got news for you folks: “practicing” an instrument never happens in some stretch of time you “find.” Even if there’s free time (as you can tell from the way my days go, I make a lot of free time for myself!), sitting on the couch (blogging, checking facebook, reading a novel, napping, watching videos) or talking on the phone or enjoying tea and a cookie are all easier than getting up and walking outside to play my pipes. It’s hard work (but fun) which is why most adults you know don’t play an instrument regularly (yes, for lots of people it is a lack of interest or talent, but for many it is just that putting the time in isn’t easy.) So I give you permission to think I’m a supermom for this one. JUST KIDDING! Again, I take the time (note: “take”, not “find”) to practice by neglecting dinner preparations. When most people are usually making dinner or dealing with kids’ homework if their children are in school or are running to one practice or another (some time between 4:30-6:30pm) I’m often outside playing the pipes. I try to get dinner to the point where it’s hanging out on the stove or in the oven or is something I can finish up at the last minute so that I have the time to pipe 3-4 days a week (usually I need about 45-60 minutes to get in a good practice session.) That’s just straight up selfish “me” time. Call it what you will, but it’s not a part of “doing it all” and being some sort of supermom. It’s how I keep my sanity so that I can hopefully be a better and more loving mom and wife. 🙂
7- Cleaning – where does it fit into this picture of me either sitting around or doing things I love? Well…..it doesn’t fit in very often, sadly. The only times I stay up late cleaning (usually) have to do with the fact that I love having people over, and I want my home to look nice for people so they are more comfortable, and to perpetuate the idea that I have it all together. 🙂 This is a good impetus for having people over more frequently – because then we clean the house! Yippee! We even take Mondays off schoolwork to do chores and such (that’s the plan at least) because we don’t want to spend our family Saturdays doing chores. 🙂 I am a reluctant housecleaner at best. (Funny story: I couldn’t think of the word “reluctant” so I googled an antonym site and typed in “eager” – but before I scrolled to the answer it popped into my head!)
8- Taking my kids to and fro is not yet my forte. I am one of those parents who hates buckling children (lots of them) into carseats (lots of them), hoisting babies and toddlers into and out of said carseats, and strollers, and whatnot all day, and being a packhorse who always needs to carry multiple water bottles, snacks, and wetwipes every time she gets in the van. I don’t like to spend lots of time on the road, keeping my little ones from getting good naps and nursing all day long away from home. What this means is that we only leave the house with me as the taxi driver once a week. Our Homeschool Co-op takes it out of me on Thursdays (and we are only gone 9:30am-2:30pm!) because I am a wimp when it comes to this aspect of parenting. Saturdays we now go out as a family for Patience’s rock climbing, and Sundays we have church, so that’s three days out. Enough for this non-supermom! We don’t do ballet (Liesl’s just doing it at co-op), gymnastics, soccer, piano, drama, art, etc, etc, etc. We will some day be doing more of these things, but for now, we are shooting for more time at home, less time out. That’s just how I roll (or, um, how I don’t roll, I should say.)
There! I think I’ve discussed just about all the areas covered under the umbrella of “supermom” in this day and age as they apply to me. (I mean, if you read my blog regularly, you obviously know I don’t garden, brew my own beer, sew – except where home decorating is concerned, knit, crochet, or scrapbook – other than digitally, paint, or work away from the home or at home, so those other types of supermom qualities clearly elude me.) Now you can read my blog entries a bit more peacefully, knowing that I’m probably napping or enjoying myself. 🙂