When I was first married, my mother-in-law tried to give me a bit of advice about being a good homemaker. She suggested among other things that I iron my husbands jeans because he liked it. Yeah right! Well mom, I tried, i really did, but it’s just not going to happen.
My husband came to the marriage with the idea that all women were like his mom (I wish). This woman has got June Cleaver beat with a hammer. She manages to make a decent 3 course dinner from scratch, keep the house spotless, everyone’s clothes are clean dry, ironed, and hung up and she works a full time job. (how does she do it?) I give up, I will never be June Cleaver, I don’t think I would even make it to Rosanne.
Needless to say, five kids, two dogs, a couple of cats and three turtles latter, I still am not a Suzy homemaker. I mean, we don’t live in a pig sty, but there are just not enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to be done around here. I tried for a few years to make a success of my homemaker career, but it seemed that I could just never get the hang of what the three settings on an iron are actually for, and we went through so many vacuum cleaners that I had to get a part time job to buy another one! After the kids decided the fastest way to give the dog a bath was to jam the dishwasher so that it would run while open and throw the dog in, I decided paper plates was the way to go. When they fed the fish some of their milk and pizza, we decided maybe we should stick to pets that had a good shot at escape first.
Cooking has never really been my “thing”. The first time I made a pot roast, I turned the oven on broil because I thought it would get the top of the roast done as well as the bottom. It did, and then some. Have you ever heard that joke “my wife thinks the smoke detector is the timer for the oven?” That’s me in a nutshell. I tried homemade biscuits, once. We used them to throw at the neighbors dogs when they wouldn’t quit barking all night! But I have to give it to my husband, he doesn’t complain, at least not anymore.
The rest of the house is passable. I’ve learned a few tricks over the years to keep appearances up for company. Sure the carpets have a few stains on them after all we have kids, but that’s what throw rugs are for, and if your creative they make interesting conversation pieces. We no longer own a coffee table because I know nothing about getting the little rings out of wood that cups tend to make and I tried to sand them out with some sand paper. That little project didn’t go quite like I pictured.
The kids rooms? As long as all the dirty clothes get to the laundry so they don’t smell, all we have to do is throw everything else in the closet and shut the door. The kids don’t sleep in there anyway, we just let them sleep wherever they drop. Once a month we all go through with a garbage bag and throw away broken toys and pieces of crayon that end up in the pile and release the occasional reptile that mistakenly wandered near one of the kids paths and was scooped up into a bucket or cup for further examination.
The bathroom? Once a week is my breaking point. Everyone rinses the ring out of the tub after they use it, (at least they are supposed to), and there’s a hamper for dirty clothes which gets emptied (most of the time) when it over flows, but I’m not the toilet bowl queen. The kitchen? Oh my god the kitchen. Thank goodness someone invented self cleaning ovens and self defrosting freezers. Laundry? Let’s just say we live out of the clothes basket if you know what I mean. The ironing? After the third pair of really nice jeans I burned a hole through, my husband decided he could live with a few wrinkles.
Have you ever seen kindergarten cop? You know the part where Arnold Schwarzenegger first gets to the school and the kids are all screaming, painting each other and climbing on everything? Stop by my house before 2 and you’ll see the reenactment. Most afternoons we run through the house throwing things into little piles and shoving them into drawers and closets shortly before dad makes it home.
Some people think we are a little unorthodox when it comes to raising our kids, but we figure, heck, they are only kids once, let them enjoy it. When my kids draw on the walls with the permanent markers, we call it “art”. When my kids run through the house covered in finger paint, soap bubbles with mud and leaves in their hair, we call it “encouraging their self expression”. Banging on pots and pans in the middle of the kitchen floor while I make supper is “musical creativity”. Jumping up and down on the bed until it breaks and we have to prop it up with bricko blocks is “healthy exercise”. Climbing on dressers and nose diving into the clothes baskets or hanging from the light fixtures and ceiling fans until they fall down is called “independent practice for gymnastics class”. Scribbling in every book we own is known as “creative writing”.
By the way, throwing a few screaming, chocolate covered toddlers in nothing but a diaper and some soaped up shampoo in their hair out into the yard and then chasing them with a hose pipe is a great way to get rid of those unwanted guests, especially those pesky missionaries that insist on converting you to their preferred religion..The local Jehovah Witness group doesn’t even walk on the same side of the road as our house anymore. (gee, I hope they didn’t get a bad impression). The local baptist church keeps sending over people to exercise our house and pray for our “demons” to leave and the Catholics just throw holy water out the window towards the door during drive by blessings. We once talked a Mormon lady missionary that we knew for some time into babysitting for a few hours while we went to the store, she denounced her faith after we came home to find her tied to the kitchen chair with fishing line.
When people ask me how do you ever get to enjoy a night out for yourselves with all those kids? Here’s my answer, we don’t need a night out, we have all the entertainment we need, right here. Keeping all the kids busy, no problem. On Saturday night when all the other neighborhood couples are enjoying their fancy dinners and clubs while their kids are being watched by babysitters, we just throw a handful of candy bars in the living room floor and watch the kids wrestle for them! And my mother-in-law? She’s learned to give us at least an hour’s notice before she shows up!