Jan 24, 2012

Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Days

 As Mikey was reading  "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" book to me, I felt a connection with Alexander.  Poor, poor Alexander waking up with gum in his hair, his sweater in the sink, missing out on the toy in the cereal box.  I sat there listening to my boy read, but not really. My mind was plagued with a to-do list longer than the Nile River.  There are piles of laundry around me, dishes precariously balancing on every inch of the counter, food rotting in the fridge, and the vacuum cleaner is sound asleep in the linen closet.  (I don't even think I remember how to turn that stupid thing on.)  Emma and Annie start bickering over who gets to sit in front of the fire place. They do this even in the summer. "Girls, go get dressed." They walk out, continuing to argue over who got to sit in front of the fireplace yesterday. Mary comes in the room, and tells me that she didn't sleep well at all last night, and the little girls woke her up.  She's not happy.  The phone is ringing.  The dog is pacing the floor, making it clear that he needs to use the facilities now. "Matt, the dog needs to go out...by the way, when did we get a dog?" Annie walks in, and asks me if I know where any clean "undah-wearah" is.  I point to the mountain in the corner. The phone is still ringing. The dog is still pacing.  "MATT!! THE DOG!"  Mikey continues to read, "I think I'll move to Australia."  AUSTRALIA!! Yes, that's it, Alexander! Why hadn't I thought of that. 

"Mom, my cello string is broken. I guess I can't practice." Matt yells.

"You have three left. Work around it," I yell back.

We've replaced at least 84 strings on that cello.  The last cello was crushed under our suburban, but that's a story for another day.  Surely there is some homeschooling mom out there who doesn't have it all together.  I grab my laptop and google, "homeschooling moms who don't have it together."  I come up empty.  I did find a homeschooled  7 year old working on his master's degree, and another homeschooling mamma who has a freezer full of meals for the next 12 years.  This particular group of homeschoolers wear the "Homeschooling badge" proudly. When you talk to them, they like to slip in little phrases like, "When we were studying quantum physics the other day...." I shamefully look down at my "homeschool badge."  It appears to be upside down, and covered in chocolate.  Most days, I wear my hair in a messy bun with the same sweatshirt on. If I do decide to put makeup on, Annie asks where we're going, so I try to keep her stabilized.  When I took Emma for her first dental cleaning, the hygienist asked her how often she brushes, and she proudly announced, "When we go to church and to the library."  The hygienist looked at me like, "Is she telling the truth?"  I smiled and shrugged. "We're religious bookworms."  The scary thing is that Emma was HAPPY with that information.  She actually thought she gave the good answer for that one.

We go to have her cavity filled on Monday.

Why am I telling you all this?  Because for far too long, there has been this false idea that "homeschoolers have it all together."  I'm here to let tell you that the jigs up.  We have cavities.  We eat cereal for dinner. We have science projects growing in the refrigerator that were not planned science projects.  We have string-less cellos, mismatched socks and library fees larger than the national debt. Just keeping it real here, folks. I don't think it helps anyone to pretend to be something you're not.  My husband gets daily phone calls from me threatening to list our children on e-bay.  He's used to these phone calls, and calmly tells me that everything will be fine, and that he'll bid on all five of our children, and perhaps I should go out for a little bit of fresh air.  I then tell him what a horrible wife, mother and human being I am. He says, "No, you're not." -And then, we're good for the next 28 days.

Mikey turned to the last page of the book, "My mom says that some days are like that...even in Australia."

Well said, Mrs. Alexander....well said.