The Glory Days

Remember when weekends used to be fun? Two days and two nights of no work or school, and you only had to choose which party to attend? You could go to dinner with friends, see a movie, or maybe hang out at the beach. Whatever you did, you had 48 glorious hours of freedom before the crushing reality of routine brought you back down. If I had only known……

As a stay-at-home mom, my weekends are an exhausting marathon of diapers, whining, cajoling, and frustration. Molly, my five-year-old, is juuuuust old enough to not do anything insanely stupid. She can get her own snacks, turn the TV on, and use marker pens on paper instead of the dining room walls. On the other hand, my two-year-old son Andy can’t make it through a day without a catastrophe. Whether he’s backing blindly into doorframes, tripping and falling eyeball first, or climbing the kitchen counters like King Kong, he always, always ends the day with a new bruise or scrape. His favorite expression lately is “I’m not!”, because every sentence out of my mouth is “don’t do that!” Today, I caught him elbow deep in the pantry, rummaging around. “Don’t take any snacks out!” I warned him. “I’m not!” he retorted, chubby hands full of granola bars and crackers. “Don’t make a mess in the living room!” I cautioned. “I’m NOT!” he answered, as he tipped out a 24 pack of crayons onto the floor. It’d be easier to just have the phrases “don’t do that! Stop it! Clean that up!” playing on an endless loop throughout the house.

This weekend was unusually bright and sunny, so my husband Jeremy and I tried to do some yardwork. Again, the word here is tried. All I wanted to do was dig a hole and put a plant in it.

The Hunter Family’s Guide to Gardening

Step 1: All four family members have jackets on and the correct number of shoes. Some of the shoes are even on the right feet.

Step 2: Exit the house. The baby hears a police siren and beelines it towards the street. Cue both parents screaming and chasing him. Baby protests loudly and starts crying. We’re off to a good start.

Step 3: Where is the shovel? Look in the garage, shed, and laundry room. Shovel is found in the kids’ playhouse, where a fight ensues because Molly was using it as her “witch’s broom”.

Step 4: Dig a small hole. Abandon hole because the dog chases the neighbor’s cat up a tree. Retrieve dog and put him back inside the house, where he barks indignantly.

Step 5: Where is the #@$%&*^** shovel? The baby’s crammed the shovel under the wagon for some reason. Collect shovel and remonstrate the baby, who scowls furiously and retreats to the playhouse to pout.

Steps 6 to 17: Spend the next two hours breaking up fights, screaming at kids to share, fetching water from the house, changing diapers, wiping noses, putting bike helmets on and taking them off, retrieving children from underneath tipped over bikes/scooters/wheelbarrows, and disinfecting scrapes and cuts. The house is now filthy from dirty shoes tromping in and out. The potted plant has withered and died. The shovel is nowhere to be found. Give up and drink reheated coffee. Only seven hours until bedtime.

Life is anything but boring with two kids and an endless list of chores. Between the constant bickering, cooking, and cleaning, it’s a miracle anything gets done. I may be down, but I’m not out, and I have a plan: one day, my kids will be old enough to cook, clean, and do yardwork, and guess who’ll be laughing then? Yours truly will be relaxing on the couch while my two darlings earn their keep! In only ten short years, my weekends will once again be for fun. If I live that long!