Taking a bloggy break today to get some things done around the house that I’ve been neglecting…the following was written by Connie Slockbower and since I could totally identify with her (this could have been written by me), I’m posting it for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!
Shortly after the birth of my second child, I decided to take a hiatus from my successful career to dedicate time to raising my two daughters, then five years old and eighteen months. Though I could hear the faint chant of hundreds of feminists chastising me for surrendering my “real job” to such a mundane existence, the guilt-inspired call of motherhood is difficult to ignore. Resolute in my decision, I traded my computer for a pasta machine, my briefcase for a diaper bag, and marketing presentations for ad nausea viewings of “The Rescuers”.
Having climbed the corporate ladder and negotiated the churning waters of office politics, I knew that I would find this new era of my life comparatively dull and unchallenging, but I told myself I’d put to good use all the extra time I was sure to have on my hands.
Roughly three hours into my first day of my new career, I abandoned my smug view of the ease of the stay-at-home-Mom lifestyle. By the second week I began compiling a list titled, Things You Never Have To Say In A Management Meeting. The list included such classics as, “Your nostril is not an extra pocket from God”, “Take that out of your mouth”, and “For the last time, put your underwear back on!” I’ll concede that maybe that last one has been used in a business setting, but never outside the halls of Congress.
My biggest mistake in raising toddlers was continuing to indulge my life-long habit of sleeping at night. Children need much less down-time than their grown-up counterparts, and while parents awake sluggish and barely coherent, children leap from their beds armed with nefarious thoughts and boundless determination. While I quickly realized that I must awake an hour before them, the previous days’ antics invariably left me too exhausted to carry through with my strategic defense plan.
I frequently awoke to unwelcome surprises. One morning as I fumbled my way downstairs to the life-giving coffee pot, I noticed a peculiar path of stickiness winding down the stairs, dancing up the walls and sporadically snaking along the carpeting.
I knew the chief suspect in the sticky crime would be wearing blonde pigtails and a pull-up. Following the trail, I spotted her in a corner, sporting a devilish grin and futilely attempting to hide a squeeze bottle of Log Cabin syrup behind her tiny frame. Huddled in a nearby corner was the family cat. Until this moment, I didn’t realize cats could scowl. I surmise that one of the unpronounceable ingredients in the syrup, when liberally applied to cat fur, produces the phenomenon, which does not subside until after all the fur has grown back in.
Two hours later, I had scrubbed away most of the evidence, the cat was busy tearing the pet groomer to shreds, and I was still yearning for the now-cold coffee. I opened the door to the microwave oven and was greeted by a ramekin filled with melted crayons. This time, my oldest was the culprit.
At that moment I realized that I was raising either a pair of mad scientists or two sociopaths. Either way, I was confident I could put an early end to these anti-social leanings. I knew from my managerial days that one must first uncover the motivation for the errant acts, and then apply an appropriate punitive measure to discourage further endeavors. I was determined to see past the dimples and bright eyes, ignore the deceptively sweet expression and act decisively and firmly.
“Why did you melt crayons in the microwave?” I demanded, anticipating the familiar “I don’t know” or “Because” response that children have employed since the beginning of time to confound and stupefy their parents.
Instead, she replied, “I was making lipstick for you, Mommy.”
With that one line, my anger and frustration were nullified. Seven little words, and I was rendered defenseless. “Thank you, honey, but orange isn’t really Mommy’s best color,” was all I could muster.
I loved my former career. I enjoyed the challenge and the sense of accomplishment I felt when motivating a difficult employee, winning over a disgruntled customer, or being awarded a promotion or plaques. Yet, amazingly, in all those prior years not one soul ever thought to reward me with homemade lipstick.
There was a time when management meetings and career advancements ignited my enthusiasm. I’ve since discovered that they just can’t compare with standing in the driveway with my daughters, holding a bubble wand out to the breeze and sharing in their giggles as we watch newly birthed bubbles dance across our front lawn.