I'm on temporary furlough from suburban mom hell - just spent an hour scrubbing the pot I used to assemble tonight's tuna noodle casserole and trying to get the kitchen a bit less disgusting, juggling phone calls, and trying to keep two boys from killing each other ("Mom, he's making noise and I can't concentrate on my world history report!" "But I have to practice my drum solo!" "Moron!" "Butthead!" "I'm telling!") As I was removing the skin on my hands with the Brillo pad, I was reminded of a singer friend of mine (with no kids) who travels frequently, and who often bemoans the lack of balance in her work-centered life. God, I'd love to have that problem!
Actually, being a mom does give you automatic balance of a sort: No matter how much work I have to do, kids require regular meals, clean laundry, refereeing, groceries, reassurance, love (without public physical affection past the age of 9), permission slips signed, checks written (way too frequently), and on and on . . . Frankly, there are times I'd love to get too absorbed by my work, but hell, there are times I'd love to be a 5'11" supermodel dating George Clooney. But I also appreciate the variety of demands on my time, and in a perverse way I enjoy my insane, multitasking life. I feel a twinge of pity for my child-free friends - what do they find to do all day?
I recently talked to an empty-nester I know, who mentioned being bored - it's the first time I'd heard that word used by anyone over the age of 15, and it was like reading a National Geographic article about the traditions of a strange aboriginal culture. Any mom who would describe herself as bored should be sentenced to some serious punishment - like spending an hour at my house scrubbing tuna casserole dishes and refereeing between my kids!