I don't claim to be an expert on motherhood or marriage. As a matter of fact, I'm still learning a lot as I go. You do your best learning through trial and error. You know, live and learn...natural consequences, whatever.
At the same time, you can save yourself a whole lot of heartache and disappointment if you know someone who'd be willing to share her mistakes with you so you can avoid making those same mistakes. Kinda like a "guide to motherhood - tricks of the trade" sorta thing. Just think....if we all shared just one tip or trick we've learned, how much easier our lives could be!
So here are some tricks I've learned along the way, which I would like to share...
1) Transition time (for me, not him): At approximately, 4:30 pm on some days I take the kids out front to play (weather permitting, of course). They drag every piece of riding equipment that we have out into the street....
...and as you can see, it's quite a bit of stuff. Bikes, scooters, tractors, ride-on toys. You name it, we got it. Let's not forget the sidewalk chalk, either.
And by the time I've finally gotten them all settled with their stuff, what'daya know....Tim pulls up in front of the house after a day of work...a day away from his precious children. I glance at my watch and say, "Oh, I didn't realize the time....I need to get inside to start dinner. Can you watch the kids and then help them clean up this mess when dinner's ready?"
As if I hadn't really notice the time?? Are you kidding me?! I had this whole thing strategically planned in my mind. And you can bet it's a beautiful thing to see come to fruition. I'm now indoors where it's peaceful and quiet....and he's now outdoors with the noisy children and the loads of crap that needs to be put away in the garage.
Now before you go all feeling sorry for Tim, let me just say...he's already had his transition time during his 60-minute commute home. He was sitting in his car listening to his talk radio shows while driving home at a leisurely pace. I say "leisurely" because I know for a fact it should only take him 45 minutes to get home.....and that's WITH traffic.
On a sidenote, I'll have to think of something to come up with when winter hits. But I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.
2) The substitute chef who didn't know he could cook: There are a lot of days I honestly don't feel like cooking dinner. But, like most folks, we can't afford to get take-out all the time. There has to be another way, right? Trust me, I wouldn't lead you astray....stop shaking your head.
In the late afternoon, I take the kids with me on a "last minute" errand (you know, like the playground so they can stretch their legs a bit). It's a shame I won't be home in time to get dinner started....oh, but HE will. It's okay to smile at the thought of how sneaky you are. If we don't give ourselves pats on the back sometimes, who will?
I call Tim on his cell phone and say, "How close to home are you?" and he says, "Maybe 5 minutes, if that". But, see, I already knew that because it's all about planning. I say, "Look, I had to do a last-minute errand that couldn't wait and I'm not gonna be home in time to start dinner. Would you mind getting it started? I'll give you instructions...just call me as soon as you get home".
A few minutes later, he calls and says, "Okay, what do you need me to do?" and I give him the blow-by-blow instructions. He'll ask a million questions and I'll say, "You're just boiling spaghetti and microwaving frozen meatballs, for God's sake...you're not making a gourmet dinner for the President!"
When I return home, dinner's pretty much almost done cooking. He says, "That was perfect timing...dinner's almost done". Why, yes, dear husband it was perfect timing now, wasn't it? It's a win-win situation, when you think about it. He feels all productive and proud of himself for starting dinner and I got to take the night off from the kitchen.
Some may say this seems like an awful lot of effort being wasted just to get out of cooking dinner. But if you hate cooking as much as I do, you get it. You just totally get it.
3) There's a place for everything: It's important for you to know where all essential baby items are at all times. Make a secret list and stash it somewhere...I don't care how you remember, just as long as YOU know where everything is.
Let's use the snot sucker as an example. I keep ours stored downstairs in the medicine cabinet. But the obvious place for a snot sucker would be the children's bedroom, right? Awww, too bad ours isn't in the obvious place.
Say I've got one kid who's got a snotty nose and his nose needs to be suctioned again, for like the 20th time that day. But I'm too worn out to chase him down and struggle to hold his face still while sucking his brains out with the snot sucker. So I run upstairs and then yell downstairs to Tim, who's home from work by now, "Hey, can you see if the snot sucker is in the medicine cabinet down there? I can't find it up here." I giggle quietly to myself as I hear him rummaging around in the cabinet. "Yeah, I found it...", he screams up to me. Well, of course he did because I'm wicked evil like that.
Then I yell down to him, "Since you already have it in your hand, can you suction out snotty kid's nose? I'll be down in a minute, I just realized I need to strip the sheets off of one of the kids' beds...might as well do it while I'm up here".
Now, hold on a minute....don't go clucking your tongue, thinking that stripping the bedsheets is just another chore for you. You simply grab some clean sheets from the linen cabinet and bring those downstairs with you...just mess them up a little bit. I mean, he's probably not even gonna notice....if your husband is anything like mine, you could strip all your clothes off and light yourself on fire and he wouldn't even bat an eye. He may know which bedsheets are on YOUR bed but, trust me, he doesn't have a clue whether your child is sleeping on the Toy Story sheets or the Hot Wheels sheets. Nor does he really care.
When you can't hear the snot-nosed child crying anymore, that's your cue to go downstairs with the "dirty" sheets. Store them in the laundry room for awhile. When husband is finally out of sight (meaning he has retired to another room to watch one of his lame sci-fi shows...oh wait, is that only MY husband who does that?), grab the bedsheets and place them back neatly in the linen cabinet.
No one is the wiser. Seriously. And you've just gotten out of having to suction your kid's nose for the 21st time that day. Oh, and you've gotten a nice little break because while you were "stripping the bedsheets", you've actually been sitting on your bed, clicking the remote control to check what's on tv that night. This would also be a great time to set your DVR to record some of your favorite shows.
If you're concerned that your husband will actually remember where the snot sucker is, you needn't worry. Honestly, men can't remember things like we can. After he's done with the snot sucker, he'll simply throw it back in the medicine cabinet again and forget about it....that's when you move it back up to the child's bedroom. And you go back and forth like that...see where I'm going with all this. The old switcheroo...he'll never catch on, really.
Now, as a dislaimer, I don't think this is exactly what I would call being dishonest with my husband. It's more like....well, being creative, if you will. Sure, it's kind of a sneaky way to fit in some nice, little breaks for me here and there but no one's being harmed in the process...there's no blood or tears involved. I'm just tapping into that creative side that I knew once existed in my former life, at some point. It's a great way to prove to myself that I haven't completely lost all my brain cells once I became a mother.
Any tricks of the trade you want to share??
ETA: Tim is aware that I have a blog but he has informed me several times that he has absolutely NO desire to ever read it. However, if it was written completely in HTML or included pictures of naked women, he'd probably change his tune.