*Disclaimer: This post is a complete exaggeration based on a recent conversation with a friend. Thankfully, my wonderful husband could care less if the house, the children, or myself are a complete mess when he gets home from work, or he at least has the sense not to mention it.
The kids and I had great fun staging these pictures that represent a split-second in our day, with so much change going on in between the two pictures!
You know that moment of clarity when you look around at your life and realize, something must change? You see that your life is a mess, that you are living in chaos, and there is a strange smell coming from somewhere in the room, possibly from you? You recognize that something must be done, that you must get to work to end the wreck that your life has become?
This happens every day in my house.
I call it the 5:30 rush. 5:30 is when my husband’s office closes. I picture him calmly getting up from his desk, gathering his things, and walking out the door, locking up behind him. Of course, he is looking so forward to getting home to his clean, cheery children and wife, to leaving the stress and busy-ness of the day behind him.
It takes him 30 minutes to drive home, and during that time I am a mad-woman.
I look around, assessing the situation. I yell at the kids to un-attach themselves from me, go up to their rooms, take off their pajamas, and get dressed in real clothes including underwear.
I begin frantically loading dirty dishes into the dishwasher and putting cereal boxes, a jar of peanut butter, and other various food items into the cabinets. I throw the stack of paper plates and juice boxes left by the 10 kids and their mothers we had over for lunch into the recycling, then grab the Lysol Wipes container and run through the house cleaning off countertops and toilets.
I quickly make the bed and snatch up the wet bathing suits laying in the floor, running into the laundry room to start a load of laundry.
The kids and I meet up in my bathroom, washing faces and brushing hair. Charlie finds a can of Glade and goes around the house spraying coconut-scented air freshener around while Maddie begins searching the house for our cats so she can put them outside.
I realize that I haven’t started dinner yet, so I rush into the kitchen, grabbing the glasses of melted ice left on our nightstands from the night before to put into the dishwasher. I stick a frozen lasagna in the oven, not bothering to preheat the oven, then lay a cutting board and knife out on the counter and arrange a head of lettuce, some carrots, and a tomato artfully on top of it, creating the illusion that I am in the middle of cooking a delicious, healthy, labor-intensive dinner for my hard-working husband.
I walk quickly through the house, picking up Legos, Barbies, and Transformers and tossing them into bins and closets, strategically leaving books scattered about. I leave a puzzle box lying on the living room sofa and some play-doh on the kitchen table. Evidence of organized learning must remain as proof of our productivity.
Back in my bathroom, I throw some concealer under my eyes, adding some mascara, blush, and lip gloss for good measure. I take off my old shorts and T-shirt and put on clean clothes that I would actually wear in public.
Glancing at the clock, I realize that I have 5 minutes left before the husband pulls up in the driveway. I grab the vacuum and run it over the floors, vacuuming up little piles of sand brought home from the park and the occasional small toy that was inadvertently left out (Casualty of war, I think to myself.) while the kids scrub with some Windex wipes at the chocolate handprints on the kitchen door. As I am placing the vacuum back in the pantry, I hear the garage door opening.
I smile to the kids as they take their places at the kitchen counter, coloring quietly. I grab a pitcher of iced tea out of the refrigerator and set it out, then stand at the island and begin chopping up the vegetables I had put out earlier.
“Hi, Honey, I’m home!” Husband calls out when he enters the house. I press a button on my iPod and switch the music playing in the background from “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” to Beethoven’s “Symphony Number 5”. The kids put down their crayons and run to him, screaming, “Daddy, Daddy!”
He looks at me, “Did you guys have a good day? What did you do?”
I smile sweetly, noticing that he has on his golfing clothes, and hand him a glass of tea. “Nothing much. Just did some stuff around the house.”