Husband: Do you need help with anything?
Me: I won’t say no, but I’m not sure what I need at the moment. I’m going to get dinner started in a minute.
Husband: *retreats to the basement to finish a work project*
Me: *looking at the grill just fired up, two running toddlers feeling outdoor freedom, 90-degree heat, and thawed chicken on the counter*
Now, you’re probably thinking why didn’t she just ask for help with dinner when he asked? Great question! Well, the work project he was working on REALLY needed to finish. It was an outstanding project from pre-COVID days, and it was something simple and I was actually proud of his motivation to finish it. So, I’m not hindering his progress. Also, I’m a former working-mom turned stay at home mom and know how to juggle a thing or two. Full disclosure, I did laugh to myself after because why offer help when you have plans for alternative activities?? I appreciated the offer though, it was very thoughtful. Now, on to my predicament. Any guesses what I did??
Let’s go through some options. Option 1: wrangle the kids, dry them off (kicking and screaming), bring them inside the house, turn on the TV to the only movie they’ll watch together, turn on the hot propane stove and then make dinner on the grill- outside. Option 2: turn the grill off, reconsider already late dinner plans, and modify indoors, as well as drag kids inside kicking and screaming. Option #3: grab the thawed meat, the cutting board, the knife, essentials, and place it on the truck bed next to the grill- effectively monitoring the kids, preparing dinner, and enjoying the overly hot and humid sun. Which option would you choose? I went for Option #3, and I’m pretty proud of that decision.
It may seem simple to some, bat ship wild to others, but in that moment- my kids were having fun outside. Playing in the kiddie pool, sliding down a newly acquired hand-me-down slide (which is amazing), riding bikes, etc. I had just let them outside and they need that time to release the pent up energy for the day. It ended up working out really well- one of those mom win moments. As I sat there bare-handling the chicken meat on the truck bed, I sent a picture to my best friend (who taught me to cut chicken back in college- don’t ask why I needed to learn). It was then that I realized moms are creative creatures. Parents in general are creative, but there’s something about a woman that knows how to multi-task, think outside the box, juggle everything with stress, anxiety, fears, and have a smile on her face. Maybe it’s my old working mom mentality, where everything needs to happen so find a way to make it happen. Or, it’s my childhood creativity spinning when I have random objects I try to use as a flat-head screwdriver to dismantle a fan for fun. Who knows?!
In that moment I started to think about all the times I’ve managed to accomplish household tasks while hanging out with the kids, and compared it to the many times husband has. It’s a dangerous game of comparison, but it’s more to put in perspective that I do contribute and I do provide to this family- just not with a physical paycheck from some one else. It’s easy to get in to cycles of self-doubt (another post for the future), but at the end of the day I’m awesome. We are all amazing people that do what they need to do to survive, to actually live life with their families. It’s these simple moments of preparing meat on the truck bed that remind me of all the times my own mom defied any logic and the sheer amount of things she used to do and sacrifice for her family (and still does). Mom’s (and parents in general) are incredible creative creatures doing amazing things every day.
Have you had a moment of creativity juggling life? What kind of things have you had to juggle (self-induced or not), that surprised and even impressed yourself?