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Thursday, January 26, 2012

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Every morning, the sun peeks through my blinds and I crack open one eye, my hand invariably fumbling on the night table for my alarm clock. Of course, I already know the alarm didn't go off, because I can hear my children down the hall squabbling. I crane my head and listen for the sounds of bloodshed, while at the same time wondering why half my body is freezing, and the other half is weighted down and sweating like a turkish bath. It's then I realize the two dogs have somehow wormed their way onto the bed, and have nestled themselves snugly into the space between me and my husband. I'm pinned into place by three snoring bodies, all of whom growl at any attempt I make to move them.

You gotta ask yourself, "What's wrong with this picture?"

If you're anything like me, your ordinary day probably starts in a similar way. Oh, the characters and culprits in your story may vary, but the plot basically remains the same. The same question reverberates from households across the country the minute the gun goes off at the starting gate.

I get out of bed and stumble into the bathroom, children and dogs close on my heels. It's as if a radar blip has somehow gone off universally throughout the house, letting everyone know my proximity and that I'm doing something that requires privacy. I can envision mothers universally nodding their heads in solidarity.

There's an unwritten rule somewhere that we're not allowed to pee, or chat on the phone, or check our email by ourselves. It's almost as if they're afraid we'll never come out once we lock the door behind us. My guess is that's closer to the truth than they'd care to admit. I mean, have your kids ever ventured to even knock on the bathroom door while their father is sequestered inside? In my house, the roof would have to be on fire first.

The morning has now moved itself into the kitchen. Breakfast has been served, and there's a sudden flurry of homework papers and folders in a last minute frenzy before the squeal of the bus can be heard down the street. My husband is still upstairs, no doubt on the phone or doing something that requires adult thought, as I glance longingly at my computer and the emails waiting for me from my editor. Dish towel in hand, I wipe up stray Cheerios and milk...emails left waiting, my writing on hold and my muse forced to listen to muzak while I'm busy being Mom.

I used to joke with my girlfriends that if you asked any successful woman what the difference was between them and a successful man, they'd answer...a wife. That, and of course the pay differential...

So, while my husband conducts business from the minute he steps foot out of bed, I'm left to conduct the business of the house like Toscanini in front of the New York Symphony Orchestra, my own work left waiting in the wings.

The kids rush off and I watch from the porch, a series of their I love you(s) still lingering in the air as they run for the bus. Closing the door behind me, I walk back into the kitchen for another cup of coffee, my eyes passing my office and my still quiet laptop. My husband smiles and winks at me over his own cup of joe, quietly handing me the drawing of our family our eight year old did in school the day before.

What's wrong with this picture?

Not a damn thing.

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