Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hubris

Only tuff girls can serve a mission to Portugal!
I'm so smart I graduated High School!
Smart girls know the importance of marrying a smart guy...
BA = Believe it! I'm Awesome!
People from my childhood are asking.  High School friends are asking.  People from my mission are asking.  People from college, and friends from my married days are asking, "What happened to you?  Did you fall off the face of the earth?"

No, no.  I'm here- if only just barely.  Impossible?  You would think, after all that I have accomplished in this ole life that I would be on TOP of it all.  I mean, if you can do college-level calculus, motherhood should be a snap, right? They're smaller than you, not as smart as you, and when properly motivated, they do as they are told.  Easy peasy rice and cheesy!   Yet here I sit, with the tv babysitter on, and I feel like a captive trying to relay out a message, "Do you copy?  Do you copy? This is Bravo leader, Bravo leader, Delta, do you copy?! 7 Sept. 2011... this situation is NOT FRIENDLY, I repeat, there are NOT FRIENDLIES! Have been taken captive, conditions are worsening, not known when I can communicate again... send aid.  Chocolate and caffeine.  Will arrange a drop spot..."

The dishwasher is on, the laundry is rolling through, and I have just called and left a message to Matthew about the $2.99 broom that ain't cuttin' it.  The clock is ticking, and I have less time than a Jeopardy! player to write this out.  I understand that this doesn't make sense to some people, - and  I'm thinking of an old boss in particular who said to me, "My friend stays at home, and she complains about how hard it is.  I go to work, and do everything that she does; laundry, dinner, tidying. I mean, what does she do with her time?"  At the time I was expecting my own first baby, and didn't have an answer.  "I dunno.  I work too. How hard can it be? Its like, we work twice as hard as them." <--- remember that phrase, because it counts towards hubris.

But to those with little children, it makes allll sorts of sense. Unless you have a maid, unless you are independently wealthy, Motherhood can be the most sacrificing, time consuming, thankless job on a 24/7 basis that you can ever attempt. Now as a stay-at-home mom, I understand better my fellows in arms.  You stay home, to provide the best environment for your children.  Your home.  Your paradise; your prison. The proverbial Hotel California. You are free to check out, but you can never leave.

This is the second week of potty training captivity in my home.  I am not sure of a release date at this point, but attempting to go out of the compound is decidedly perilous at best.  My trainee is wandering around in naught but a t-shirt so that he can remember that no underwear, no diaper, no nuthin' is gonna catch what falls out of his body.  He is interrogated every 10 minutes with, "Do you need to go potty?!  You need to stay dry.  Don't pee on yourself!"

The two toughest are now in school, so I can sneak my way over to the computer and eek out a message: I have the answer! I know why SAHMs are crazy-busy and stressed! They LIVE. AT. HOME!  There is no night cleaning crew, there is no landscaping crew! And one-income families, of a necessity, must regularly eat everything at home! And then clean it up!  For those who work, and my Boss had one kid, I can say, "Your ONE child doesn't live at your house!  Eat at your house! Mess up your house! - except under direct supervisory control for the few hours that you are there!  They spent their day messing up someone else's place! And the workers get paid to clean it up for you! They gave up carpet years ago!  Its linoleum and indoor/outdoor where she lives all day!"

Where we are now - at this point in my life right now, we all live here. All the time.  THAT is the difference Boss.  No one messes up your house, dips their hands into the hot cocoa and then wants to lick it off over the couch, and tramples the Cheerios that hit the floor this morning into a far flung mess.  And if all I had to do was load a few breakfast dishes, toss in a load of laundry, and leave my tidy home til I came back to the crock pot I made last night, it would seem that there wasn't much to do.  But now.  Now I know better.

I do not fear death, most SAHMs sometimes fantasize about leaving their spouse to "stay home all day",  but if vacuums have souls, my Judgement Day will be an awful one, and I fear that part greatly.  As they tick off the obscene number of vacuums that have met a horrible, terrible, and awful demises under my roof, at that film everyone says you see of your life.  I imagine about 19 vacuums lined up watching and waiting for a just God to dispense justice on me and my family. They can testify of the tortuous treatments that were never designed to be inflicted on an innocent vacuum... well, according to the users manual. I don't want to be there for that.  Or when the help from local play-land restaurants come to the stand...

Photo taken circa 2004
For Example: While my children were sliding down the Del Taco play-land slide, on serving trays, (I don't make this up, I just report it as it was...) and I was simultaneously motioning them to GET OFF or I'm TAKING YOU HOME! and carefully monitoring the potty trainee, my 16 month old lunged unexpectedly  for my sisters Large sized, hermongo bongo, caffeinated soda.  I yanked away his hand milliseconds too late as the drink tumbled backwards, slow motion like - but too fast to grab it with a child on your lap -, onto the bench and then cracked open at the precise moment that would insure that it would splatter drink in every direction, both horizontal and vertical. I let out that gutteral, "sounds like a possessed person" slow motion, "OH NOOoooooOOOOOooooOOO!" as I was swiping for it.  But OH yes.  Drink all over.  Not a "tidy it up with a napkin" mess, but a full fledged, "Alert the manager, we have a situation," mess. While the lowest man on the Del Taco Totem pole was bringing out the mop bucket, I peppered him with, "I'm SO sorry.  Let me get that, for you.. I'll just.. sorry, I'll just stop slipping in it and just move over... there..."  In front of all the Del Taco patrons, as I'm hustling shoes, and purses and our tray over to another table, I took a whiff of my toddler.  And I realized that I had missed it.  And it wasn't pee either.  I had to hand over the babe, diffuse a tattle tale situation, "Tell them if they do that again they are going to have to go SIT IN THE CAR!", and trot the toddler into the bathroom, because mommy was just a little too distracted. And I started that self talk muttering, "Can't believe ... do this all day... I HAVE A DEGREE! Makin messes at the DEL TACO!  You don't POOP on yourself SOooOOOoN!"

Not only had I been too distracted to remind the toddler to go to the bathroom, but also to bring the wipes in case he messed himself. That's another kind of hubris.  "Oh, we went and picked up the kids today - I'm sure he'll be fine!" And so, in my pride, the safety net was removed, and it all. came. tumbling. down. "Don't put that bucket away yet!"  One of the benign ladies in the booth next to me said, "I thought you should know, that red-headed little girl just took a bunch of hot sauce packets up into the play-land..."

  I answered, "Oh thank you... I'll... um, (holding Mr. Poo Poo Platter) I'll go take care of that right now. I... I'm just dealing with four kids under 10, you know...I, uh.  Um. Not doing it so well,"  to which she said, "Oh yes, I understand.  I had four too.  And when the oldest one left, I realized that I could handle three kids quite well!"  I thought about her words as I took the toddler into the bathroom, and started washing his bum.  In the tiny sink.  Swishing water in a reversal of gravity motion, with my hand and paper towels, trying not to get it on myself.  And in that near-to-tears situation, I thought, "Maybe this is just all too advanced for me."  There began to be a faint memory of something that I  had studied in college about hubris which I'll define for you here:

Hubris (play /ˈhjuːbrɪs/), also hybris, means extreme haughtiness, pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power.

Yep.  There's the problem.  I didn't see it before.  But then, those with hubris never do... until it is too late.  I thought I could handle it, nay, even wildly succeed at it!  Be the cool mom who bought everyone their own barbasol can, played on the table and then dropped them in the tub.  Not this.  This was WACK!  And the result of hubris? Well, here is what the Greeks said would happen to that overconfident hot mess: "resulting in the protagonist's fall."

So, I am here, and at the tail end of a bad bout of hubris. I have taken so many hits of caffeine and chocolate to get through the day, I barely recognize myself.  There are days.  There are DAYS where I can't tell you what I did that morning.  Or the date.  I only know generalities and deadlines.  I am told, "Let go, and let God," but they don't say that when company shows up unexpected, and you're trying to downplay the hole in the wall. There is just one place to go.  Depths of humility.  I don't think Abigail will hit college for another 8 years or so, and then I might be back in the land of the living.  Might.  Depends on how bad this case of hubris lasts, and if I will be banned from ever entering into every local restaurant when that day comes....

7 comments:

Danika said...

Oh I love your blog posts so much! They never cease to make me chuckle because you are always right on the money! Anyone who has several young children knows exactly what you are saying and has unfortunately lived it...

Sarah said...

Nod, yep, uh-huh, agreed and amen sistah. Thank goodness they all look so cute when they sleep...

Cruz's said...

eU POSSO ME LEMBRAR MUITO BEM DE TI ASSIM! EH EHE HE HE

Reggs said...

TEE HEE!! I'm kinda sad I missed out on the Del Taco night, sounds VERY entertaining (and that you might have needed some additional help)!
Best vacuum visual EVER LOLOL! So funny, Kat!

Danika said...

Hang in there sista! I totally feel you :)

Cyndie said...

What on earth did you do to your vacuums? I'm really curious.

Jonathon said...

This post was assigned reading for me from my SAHM wife. Thanks for chronicling it. I wish I could say something encouraging, but I'm not sure if anything I could say would be helpful, so pick one of these responses that is the least discouraging to you:

a) it will all be worth it someday,
b) you have been initiated into a sacred sorority only accessible to those willing to sacrifice as only a mother does,
c) don't worry, I hear you get all your brain cells back in the resurrection.