Arguing with ghosts

Posted By on October 11, 2013

There are times when you have a conversation that sticks with you for months, even years. When you know you will spend countless hours stewing over what was said, what was not said, and what should have been said.  A year and a half ago I had such a conversation with a woman who said that keeping a clean house is easy.  “I’m a single mother,” she said, “and I work full time. If I can do it, you certainly can.”

Translation: Nobody is home during the day making messes, and I have every other weekend to myself to clean, while my one healthy child makes his messes at his dad’s house. And I can afford occasional shortcuts and even a working vacuum cleaner.

For a year and a half, I have wished I could go back and say all the things I might have said. “How long does it take your kiddo to invent a 7 ingredient recipe on the kitchen floor? Can he do it in the time it takes to go to the bathroom?”

Or “Your hair is so pretty. It looks like you wash it regularly. Is it safe to leave your son unattended that long? Aren’t you worried he’ll break the lock on the cleaning cupboard and drink the bathroom cleaner?”

Or how about  “You have time to work? It must be wonderful! But how do you fit it around 4 hours a week of meetings and appointments, 2 hours a week of medical, school, and government paperwork, 20 hours a week of washing poop out of clothes, and hugging a distraught child through 10 hours a week of meltdowns?  Where on earth do you find time to maintain your relationship with poison control?

How do you manage to keep working appliances when your repair budget all goes toward replacing food that the children painted with or fed to the ants out front? Or urinated in?

And even if you have the time and money for all that, how do you manage it all while exhausted to the point of breaking down by constant emotional stress and an auto-immune disease?

Oh, wait.  I guess you don’t deal with any of these things. Maybe you don’t know, after all, how easy it is to raise my children. For your sake, I am glad that you don’t have these struggles. But please do not presume to know what it is to walk in my shoes.

It would be less frustrating if this woman had been the only one. Alas, she isn’t even close.

Ok, I’ve gotten it off my chest now. I’m tired: I should go load the dishwasher again and give my daughter her meds.


Leave a Reply