Years ago, before I had children, I remember reading the truisms of Erma Bombeck, thinking that she was rather clever. Now, with two kids, a husband and a mother-in-law living together under one roof, I think she was a prophetess.
As I go through my day, listening to other double-income-crazy-families, I realize that we could all take a moment to channel Bombeck. Here are a few realizations that she just might appreciate:
1) Skip swimming -- or soccer, or ballet, or whatever insanity that we are signing our kids up for nowadays. I don't mean skip it permanently; by all means, sports and the like are important. However, while shoving a frozen Uncrustable peanut butter and jelly sandwich at my daughter on a recent Monday night, while also asking her to quickly strip and find her bathing suit, I pronounced, "People should not live like this!"
So we skipped swimming. Yes, we had to text the moms of her girlfriends to make this grand announcement, but life went on. I doubt I ruined her Olympic career.
2) Get over the myth of the Better Homes and Gardens dream house. As I write this, there is a "Happy Birthday" banner hanging over the dining room/kitchen/craft/writing table that is actually in the living room. Funny thing is, the last birthday was in October. The even funnier thing is that the Thomas the Tank-themed banner was for my husband, picked out by my 2-year-old son, Oliver, who insists that we leave it up. And so, we do.
We also have a small pumpkin covered in stickers on the table, a caterpillar made out of an egg carton (God bless Nana and her patience), as well as the often-unidentifiable Happy Meal toys.
If this isn't your scene, well, perhaps you can visit me in 10 or 20 years. But I'm pretty sure my grandkids will like birthdays, pumpkins, crafts and junky toys. It's in our blood.
3) Sometimes it is OK that the world does not revolve around your kids. As I write this, Oliver is in his diaper, playing blocks and having a snack. My 5-year-old daughter, Zoey, is coloring and watching television.
When I opened the computer, I told them both I had something to write. Zoey said she did, too, so she picked out a crayon and got to work. Oliver wanted me to find a Thomas video on "dot.com." But they are both busy doing "their thing" while I do mine. I'm not saying that this happens often, but I'm OK that they're OK when it actually does.
Why channel Bombeck today? Before you decide that I am so self-righteous that I actually think I have it figured out, the truth is this: It all makes me crazy.
I need schedules that work, bathing suits that are both dry and able to be located, a cleaner house with a table that actually has a surface, and enough time to write, think and spend time with the family.
That isn't going to happen any time soon, so I'm going to share with you a secret that Bombeck once shared with her readers: "Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving." I'm opting out of that gift this year. If the kids' stocking stuffers are from Wilson Farms, well, they'll never know the difference.