NOW: I have a confession. The real reason I had kids. I hate housework. I like cleaning; like straightening up and organizing. Not dusting. Not laundry. Not washing the floor. These are important life skills. I figure, get ‘em while they’re young. They like to think they’re helping, I like to have things cleaned without having to do it myself. Here’s a compilation of what I’ve taught them to do (so far).
Mowing the lawn. Now, obviously not with the real mower (yet), but it’s best to teach them while they still think they’re having fun.
Cleaning up after the dogs. Or, more likely, cleaning up after themselves after they’ve played in and/or dumped the dog water.
Peeling corn on the cob. Now, with these little bits she gets off, it takes about 10x as long. But, it’s one less thing I have to do. And, it keeps them busy for 10x as long. Win-win.
Weeding – another thing I absolutely hate. They think they’re pretty flowers. Yep, go ahead and think that. Just keep pulling them up.
Salad spinner. Do you have one of these for your lettuce? Best kitchen gadget ever. Even better when I don’t even have to use it. Sure, I have to put it on the floor for them to reach and monitor the sharing. Worth it.
And laundry. They dumped the basket for me. Nice. They helped me sort by telling me whose was whose. They even tried to fold.
These both went into the Mommy pile after careful inspection.
I’ve also had them dust the dining room table before, but they couldn’t really reach very well, so that will have to wait I guess.
They were very proud of themselves. And that’s what really matters. Or, what really matters is that someday soon I will not have to do any more housework. The real reason I had kids. This is now.
THEN: I remember having one conversation with my sister about fertility issues; one. Now, I tried to keep everyone’s advice in perspective, I really did. But she said to me, “well, it’s not like you had a miscarriage or something”. This is probably the most thoughtless, hurtful said to me during that time of my life. Probably the ONLY thoughtless, hurtful thing said to me. I’m sure she just didn’t understand. She wasn’t trying to be thoughtless and hurtful. She didn’t even realize it, being so far removed from such a situation. You can’t control what people say, only how you react to it and what you can learn from it.
I’ve said before that unless you’ve gone through it, you don’t know what it’s like. It’s true, I did not have any miscarriages while trying to get pregnant (unless you count the chemical pregnancy, which I don’t.) I have no idea what that would be like. But…..I also know I wouldn’t go around telling people who’ve experienced it, “well, at least it didn’t take you over 2 years to get pregnant”. I guess one thing I really had to learn and remember was that people always mean well. They really do. And even when my sister (5 years younger than me) said that to me, I just swallowed - to try and get my heart out of my throat. I said “mm-mm” because I was afraid to open my mouth. I guess, looking back, I could have found a nice way to let her know it was insensitive, but I couldn’t in the moment.
To paraphrase: Is it better to have loved and lost, or never loved at all? I think both are equally heart-wrenching in their own ways. No matter what type of situation you’re talking about, who you’re talking to, or what your experiences have been. That was then.