It has recently dawned on me that somewhere along the way, my sense of accomplishment became a product of my ability to be a good homemaker. The creative energies I once used to design jewelry and dress celebs are now spent trying to build intricate forts and streamline the laundry process. For instance, I’ve found that by rolling towels one can save considerable folding time, while providing the added benefit of a spa-like appearance.
When did this happen? When did I accept the job as Master of the Mundane? I remember the ad, it read: Seeking highly motivated person, who requires little sleep, to cook, clean, wipe tushies, noses, and countertops… oh, and provide occasional sex to employer. Person will be overworked and underappreciated. It is preferred that you have no prior experience or references. Always on duty. Will pay nothing.
Not only did I take the job, I thoroughly enjoy it and happen to be damn good at it. Let’s face it, I’m a superhero… the lamest superhero on Earth. Able to clean an explosive diapie with a single wipe: It’s a wet-vac, it’s Mr. Clean… nope it’s me: Minutia Mom!
I can picture it now; my costume would be covered with stickers that were put on me without my knowledge. It would be stained with chocolate or some other gooey substance that I’d have to taste to place. It would be fashionable, but about 6 months outdated, as I have about 1hr per evening to catch up on my backlog of magazines, TiVo, and the NY Post crossword. (Those I do to keep my rapidly deteriorating brain sharp. Sadly, I am no longer smart enough for the Times.)
I would walk the streets in my costume –my freshly laundered cape in tow– looking for housekeeping and child rearing injustices. “Excuse me Ma’am, but it would behoove you to consolidate the darks with the lights and wash them together on cold. It would save you both time and money, not to mention conserves H2O. “Pardon me Sir, but if you let that tantrum run its course, you’ll get a far better result in the long run.” Maybe going public would bring me the admiration I so unabashedly seek. I have found there is nothing people enjoy more than unsolicited criticism and advice; especially on how to run their household and raise their children.
I am always flexing my supermuscles around my house. I start by asking my husband to do some routine chore like putting the dishes in the dishwasher. A fitting task considering he seems to think they wash themselves. I know this because when he does me the courtesy of taking a glass or dish from the table, he places it on the counter ever so close to the sink. But he is unable to actually make it in. Clearly, this is due to the force field I installed around the basin. If he penetrates the force field, he never washes the food off the plate into that hole in the sink, for fear that the monster that lives there may bite off a finger.
“Honey, I’ve only trained the dishes to jump into the sink from where you leave them. For a more thorough cleaning, we humans must step in. Don’t worry the monster in the hole only bites if you shove your hand in its mouth.” Then I watch him staring into the dishwasher, and wait, knowing he will soon fail at this task, miserably. He’s ½ way through and … here it comes… wait for it…10-9-8-… “I can’t get it all in, it’s too full. You’ll have to run it a second time.” He says this with enough confidence to imply that a single shrimp fork and the thing’s gonna blow.
“Second time? Like hell I will. Have no fear, kind Sir.” I say, as I bounce off the sofa and spring into action. With my cape flapping behind me, I jump directly from my seat over the counter in a single bound. I stand, hands firmly on hips, assessing the damage. Then he looks at me oddly as if to ask, “Why is that towel tied around your neck, and why did you call me kind Sir?” “Step aside,” I say as I hip bump him out of the way. Like an expert Tetris player, I fit in every piece: with room for a Rachel Ashwell dinner party to spare. Than, wagging my finger, I reprimand him for not taking the valves out of the sippy cups.
Though it is an interesting side effect, my goal is not to debase him. My goal is to display the sheer magnitude of my powers and reiterate the amazing feats I perform on a daily basis. I avert looming tantrums with my Mommy Mind negotiating skills. My Bionic Child Carrying Arm vacuums so much dog hair, I could knit enough sweater to keep a small village in Ethiopia warm (okay, bad example.) My point is, he should see this dishwasher phenomenon, rise from his butt, which I previously knocked him on with my child-bearing hips, and applaud me. He should applaud my greatness, or at the very least, nod in my general direction.
Look, I don’t know him personally, but I can say with much confidence that Wonder Woman’s husband doesn’t come home from his accounting job, or whatever it is he does, and ask her to gas up the invisible jet and get take-out ‘cause he had a long day crunching numbers.
How then can my husband witness my awesomeness and still have the audacity to request some time to relax when he walks in the door? What was the commute home, a business meeting? You had an hour, it’s not my fault you didn’t use it wisely. If I had a random free hour everyday, oh the things I could do. I could listen to music that isn’t sung by Disney characters. I could end world hunger. Better yet, I could shower and moisturize in the same day. Alas, I am on 24/7.
Who reads “Strawberry Shortcake Goes Apple Picking” 500 times at 9PM because the phrase “Now this is the last time.” has no real meaning? Who flies into the room at 1AM on bad dream patrol? Who uses Mommy Supersonic hearing to catch 6AM candy thievery? Me, Minutia Mom, I’m a freakin’ superhero for G-ds sake.
My new career may not be as lucrative in pay or recognition as some of my other jobs, but there is reward in altruistic work and a cheap thrill in seeing my husband screw up. Hmmm, tonight I think I’ll ask him to fold some laundry.