As I finish up my shower on Sunday—the shower I spent 15 uninterrupted minutes taking—I jokingly bid farewell to my bathtub. “Until we meet again next weekend,” I whisper as I walk out, blowing a wistful kiss.
No, I’m not a weirdo—not exactly. I’m just a mom who is trying to find the humor in the strange, often harsh reality that is my life as a full-time mom.
You see, on Saturdays and Sundays I get to live and act like a somewhat normal person. I am fortunate to have a pretty awesome husband, and one who’s around during the weekend. We still have kids to manage then (we’re not one of those lucky couples who has their kids whisked away by grandparents or babysitters for the weekend).
Every weekend, I get to do this amazing thing called sleeping, often past 8 a.m. (thank you, dear husband). I get to eat at least a few meals without a child wandering over to tell me he’s stuck a marble in his butt. And of course, I get to reunite with my long-lost lover, the uninterrupted shower.
During the weekend, I’m a much more patient mother. When my kids cry and nag and stick all manner of everything dangerous in every single orifice imaginable, I am able to gingerly remove said object, laugh, and move on with my life. Or my husband can just take care of all the ridiculous unpleasantness—at least half of it anyway.
I’m patient, I’m loving, and I’m even fun. I can run around a park and play hide-and-seek without having to check my phone at five-minute intervals because I’m bored out of my mind. I have another grown-up around to laugh at my grown-up jokes, and someone else to marvel at what cute little muffins my kids are even when they’re driving me insane.
The weekend is like how parenthood is depicted on TV. It’s sweet and interesting. The hard parts are thought-provoking or humorous. On the weekend, I feel like parenting is something I am fully capable of doing, and doing quite well.
Then Monday shows up like a bitch from hell. My toddler wakes me up at 6:30. He literally pries my eyelids open with his fingers. He cries when I plop him in front of the iPad so I can get some breakfast together. I thought he liked the iPad, but on Monday he doesn’t like anything. Yeah, buddy, me too.
As soon as the workweek begins, I am reminded of how much I’m failing as a parent, how easily I can fall apart. I’m aware that I don’t really do so well with early wake-ups and sleep deprivation. I see how much more short-tempered I am when I can’t eat, poop, pee, walk, shower, and breathe without tiny humans stuck to me like glue.
The sharp contrast between my weekend life and my life as a full-time mom is jarring. Monday morning engulfs me in a dark cloud. I remember how very lonely taking care of kids all day can be. I appreciate my husband a lot—and also resent that he gets to get out of the house and do grown-up things all day. I know his work-life is not a walk in the park, but it’s a break from the monotony of our home life.
I love my kids to pieces. I really do. And I know that there is beauty in everything that is difficult about the life I have as their full-time caretaker. I know I will look back at these years with wonder. I will miss them and want to do it all again. I will even miss the moments of desperation somehow, the moments when I felt like I just could not do it, but I did. I will admire the fact that I just trudged on anyway.
I know that Tuesday will be bearable and Wednesday pretty OK. I’ll get into the groove of the week, and so will my kids. The loveliness of the weekend will be a distant memory, not something to taunt me. I won’t resent the enormity of my responsibilities as much. I will begrudge the lack of adult contact, but I’ll realize my kids are pretty good conversationalists too, even if half of what they talk about revolves around video games and farts.
By Thursday, my sense of humor will return, and by Friday I will realize that my life is just really full, but in the best possible way. Of course, then another weekend will come to fill me with happiness and goodwill to mankind—followed sharply by the worst possible dread in the world.
Sometimes I think it would be better if weekends just didn’t exist. They are too sweet, and the transition out of them too harsh. But I suppose that’s just part of the cycle of life—or something like that. Please forgive me: It’s still Monday, and I’m having trouble forming thoughts that make one ounce of sense.