Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Trenches / Chapter 1 / The Lap of Luxury

Lately the realities of motherhood have been wearing on me. I'm getting tired of toting laundry up and down the stairs. I dread trying to figure out what to have for dinner night after night. And if I find another stray toy in my closet, I think I'll scream.

To escape my life of drudgery, I turned to the ever-popular pastime of daydreaming. I imagined that instead of a frumpy housewife I was a wealthy heiress.

With my fabricated fortune, I immediately hired a housekeeper and a cook. No more cleaning toilets or mopping floors for me! Never again would I have to confront the question of what to make for dinner.

I wondered what other staff positions my imaginary wealth would support. A chauffeur for the kids? A personal fitness trainer? The possibilities seemed endless.

"Mom, does this shirt go with these shorts?" My son's question temporarily interrupted my flight of fancy. I replied in the affirmative and added "personal wardrobe consultant" to my mental list of new hires.

Again my thoughts were grounded when my daughter toddled in, a brush and ribbon in hand. I pulled her hair into a ponytail like she wanted, and continued to dream. Yes, having my own hairdresser would also be a nice convenience.
I spent a few more minutes living in my make-believe mansion before it became necessary to return to real-life motherhood. My daughter's nose and diaper both needed immediate attention.

As I wiped my daughter's nose and fastened the tape on her clean diaper, it struck me that here was the girl who lived in the lap of luxury. Both she and her brother breeze through most days, their every need being met. They have a cook, housekeeper, laundress, storyteller and more. Me.

As I contemplated their pampered lifestyle, I thought of my own childhood. My feelings of self-pity instantly vanished. For the first time, I realized that I have had my own cook, housekeeper, and laundry service. I was just too young and self-absorbed to appreciate her.

Today I hope to make amends, to let my mother know that I am beginning to understand what she has done for me. I don't remember crying for a bottle in the middle of the night, but I bet she recalls getting up and soothing me back to sleep.

Family photo albums show me getting all sorts of toys for Christmas. I have vague memories of playing with some of the gifts, but don't ask me where our old toy box was located. I only emptied it. I'm sure Mom, on the other hand, remembers filling it.

And talk about laundry. I've got it easy. Mom raised kids in the days before disposable diapers. Although I don't ever recall wearing a diaper fastened with safety pins, I doubt Mom will ever forget washing, drying and folding enough white flannel squares for diapering two little girls.

It may seem a strange sentiment to declare for Mother's Day, but Mom, I want to tell you thanks for being the best nurse, housekeeper, cook, teacher, maid and chauffeur a little girl could wish for.


scienceteachermommy said...

When my oldest was about three months old, I called my mother in tears to thank her for every unappreciated moment she had made possible in my life. Mothering is HARD. You can't know just how hard until you've done it. Or how wonderful it can be.

This month is my patience boot camp.

Christie said...

I'm the first to admit that mothering is more than I bargained for. I think that's a big part of why I wrote "From the Trenches" -- because I wanted to hear from other moms who were right in there raising their kids like me. And when I wrote about my mistakes and shortcomings, it was always nice to hear that other moms felt just like I did. (I'm not alone.)