I am writing to explain my latest outburst, directed today at the blender.*
I realize it seems a little crazy to get angry at a household appliance, but hear me out. As you may have guessed, the blender was not the issue. The real problem was one you’ve heard me talk about before. I am just so very tired.
In the past couple of weeks I have filled out multiple forms for school–times two–placed food orders, shopped for school supplies and new clothes, and purchased last-minute items for a school trip. I then oversaw the packing for said trip, and delivery and pickup of the traveller.
I listened and helped when you had back-to-school jitters or a general upset about workload or teachers, offering lots of hugs and wiping any tears that fell. I baked food for school lunches, stocked the freezer with bagels and homemade waffles for quick breakfasts (with an assist from Dad), and even made your lunch for you on the occasional mornings you were too tired to get up and do it yourself. (Adjusting from late summer nights to early fall mornings is hard–I can sympathize.)
I bought your birthday gifts and cards and made plans for a special dinner for each of you, complete with a cake of your choosing. I also supervised your writing of thank-you cards for the gifts you received.
I did all of this in addition to my usual three-times-a-week trips to the grocery store, walking the dog at 6:30 AM, 1:00 PM, and again at 9:30 at night, and remembering to feed the fish that everyone else seems to have forgotten about. And then there is the rather important matter of keeping all of the human residents of our home fed–figuring out what to have for dinner, ensuring we have the groceries for the meals I plan (the reason I go to the store so often), the actual preparation, and, sometimes, the cleanup. (Five times a week, at minimum, but who’s counting?)
Besides the “doing,” I also spend a lot of time planning and keeping everyone on track. I maintain a running inventory in my head of the groceries we need. I make lists constantly so I don’t forget anything. (Yet sometimes I still forget, e.g. the salsa that I didn’t buy in three trips to the store this week.) I write all of your appointments, courses, baseball games, and social things on a calendar so I know where you have to be and when. I also make those appointments, register you for those activities, and keep on top of things like overdue library books. (Although I am failing miserably at that last one.) When necessary, I remind you to do your laundry and wash your lunch dishes so you wake up to a decent selection of fresh clothes and clean dishes ready to be packed.
I do all of this (and more) gladly. It’s what I signed up for when your dad and I decided to become parents. And since your dad works full-time and I work part-time (a generous description for the volume of work I do), I get why these tasks fall to me. I am not writing to position myself as some kind of martyr, nor do I intend this post to be a lecture about equal distribution of work in the household (a discussion all young men should engage in with their parents before leaving the nest). I just want you to understand.
Although I complain a great deal, I know my life is pretty great. But it can be A LOT. There are times when taking care of everyone else wears me down. When beseeching you to wash the dirty dishes you just dumped into a sink of hot, soapy water or folding laundry even though none of it is yours–or any other such plea–becomes too much. And that’s when I yell at appliances.
I don’t begrudge you your angst, stress, or exhaustion. Please don’t begrudge me mine. When my frozen mango turns into Silly Putty and gums up my blender and, in my attempt to dislodge the mango, I spill coconut water everywhere, allow me to yell “God damn it” and slam the yogurt container on the counter. I’ve earned that 15 seconds of extreme frustration. And, god damn it, I’m going to make the most of it.
*Feel free to substitute “blender” with any of the other objects I’ve yelled at recently. This post applies to them all.
Author’s Note: My kids are far too old to call me “Mommy,” but that name worked best in the title. Just clarifying lest anyone think I’m addressing this post to a very young child.