Sunday, October 30, 2005

Children + Housework

Children have complicated my life in ways that I had not anticipated in pre-child years. I knew that things would take longer, the house would be messy, I wouldn't be able to get up and go whenever I felt like it, etc, etc. But yesterday I was reflecting on how they can make normal household chores a bit more difficult, and that they are often literally, underfoot.

Doing the Dishes: Last night after dinner, if you had looked in my kitchen window, you would have seen me washing the dishes in a somewhat awkward position. I was about a foot away from the counter, stretched forward to reach the sink and faucet, my legs straddling both of my children who had wedged themselves between me and the cabinets. Why they had chosen this particular moment to sit in that particular spot? No other reason except that I needed to stand there. So in addition to dishpan hands, doing the dishes gives me a strained back!

Vacuuming: Whenever I get out the vacuum cleaner, it is like a siren call to the kids, especially N and Erika, to come from wherever they happen to be happily playing and plant themselves in front of the machine. I have to constantly vacuum around them and find creative ways to move them out of my way (like throw a ball across the room so they chase that instead and then quickly clean the spot they were just standing on before they come back). So what would usually be a quick 10 minute job turns into a 20 minute juggling, dodging, racing act.

Making Meals: I have a small kitchen. By small I mean tiny- 9 square feet of floor space. Sometimes I have to put a child gate up and endure the outraged wails of my toddler rather than share this space with 3 or 4 kids and a dog. Because seriously, I will be making dinner and there will be bodies wherever there is spare space on the floor. I have to work around them, stepping over them, cracking the refrigerator so I can get an arm inside to grab what I need, holding back grabby hands as I open the cupboards to retrieve ingredients. At least once a week it gets to be too much and I call Ed to pick up a pizza or some chinese food on the way home. Thankfully, he is always willing to help me out.

And that is what keeps me sane. Having Ed, another adult to share my burden, to take a child when I need a break, to give me a hand when 2 aren't enough. To give me a kiss and a pizza at the end of a long day.

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