Today has been one of those super productive days that makes me really proud of myself as a Domestic Goddess. By noon, I had cleaned the bathroom from top to bottom, swept and mopped the kitchen, made chicken and dumplings for the crock pot and thrown in a load of clothes. That is more than I get done in a week sometimes. It feels good to have a shiny clean tub (with a mild case of chemical pneumonia from the fumes. That’s how I know it’s clean, when I start seeing spots), floors that I feel comfortable with Simon crawling on and a house filled with the smell of something yummy.
Except, boo me. Because in order to do those things, my parenting has been nonexistent today. Seriously, Declan has watched HOURS of TV today. Simon has luckily cooperated by napping, but Declan has been set back mentally and physically at least 6 months by the constant animation and lack of motion he’s experienced today. It’s shameful. But I don’t know what the hell else to do.
I was a good mom for a few minutes this morning and attempted to put together his Geotrax train set when he asked, but seriously, my brain does NOT work that way. It took me like 30 minutes to figure out that just making a circle was the best I could do. And by the time I had it set up, he was over it and Simon was eating pieces of track, so we gave up. (Legos are the same way. I can build a tower. Or a wall. But Paul can put together a fortress with buttresses and drawbridges and turrets in like 10 minutes with no pattern to go by. If only Declan loved Barbie…) And Declan did help me cook, which is one of my favorite activities with him right now, because he really seems to enjoy it and he is more likely to eat something that he “cooked,” so that is a +1 for me. But other than that, not a good parenting day.
I will say that Declan was tired today from waking up early the past two mornings, so he seemed fine with taking a lazy day, but I can’t help but feel like a crap mom. I’m sure I could have kept the TV off all day and set him up with some activity to enhance his learning or whatever, but let’s face it. You can either play with your kids or you can do housework, but you really can’t do both very well at the same time. If I was engaging him the entire time I was trying to cook and clean, I’d have raw chicken sitting out on the counter right now, a toilet brush in my hand and a suitcase packed for the Looney Bin.
It’s not that I can’t do anything AND parent, I can. And I do. But not the big stuff, and not a lot of things in one day. I try to engage him as much as I can by giving him things to do to help me, which can be surprisingly effective. For example, as I’m sitting here typing this blog, Declan is washing my windows. (I don’t think of it as child labor, I think of it as “playing grown up.”) And I am not afraid to have him feed Simon (with me watching, of course), polish furniture or any other chore that I can delegate out safely. Seriously, I will get him to do anything he shows interest in. Mopping? Sure. Folding clothes? Go for it. Watering the plants? Yes please!
But today was just one of those days when crap needed done, and he fell by the wayside. I’m sure some of you will read this and think I’m pitiful. Go for it, I don’t care. I rarely put the house in front of the kids (trust me on this, I am not a neat freak) and I spend plenty of time at the bottom of the dog pile, covered in kids and dirt and paint and toys. Everybody gets a day off sometimes.