Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mom the Reluctant House Help

This is the second time our helper has been out of action. And this time it's worse because she's been hospitalised with a mysterious localised pain under her right rib cage. That has meant, prior to the hospitalisation, she was already out of action and now, she isn't around.

That translates into Mommy springing into action and becoming all around house help, teacher, chauffeur, cook and logistics officer.

Even though we've had practice with it before, it's worse because it's term time and it's crunch time for Packrat and I.

The days are 5 am days to make sure that everything and everyone is ready so that I can leave immediately for work when they go off to school. It's also meant that I've had to figure out who can be home to get Muffin off the bus if I can't do it.

And the only reasons I haven't really reduced into a puddle and shoved my head into the ground ostrich-like style are

1. The twins are older.
They respond to instruction. And if that fails, they respond to threats. They also know that Mommy is really not in the mood to be pissed off. So the only one that actually does the pissing off is Muffin. And he's learnt also to do as instructed because Mommy's not very merciful when stressed. The twins have been helpful picking up laundry, making beds, making breakfast and keeping toys.They also try to get Muffin to help on my behalf, usually ending in him in tears because he doesn't take kindly to being told by them what to do.

2. The village around me that chips in to help.
There is great benefit living near the parentals. The grandparents let us drop them off so that we can run errands or see said helper in hospital. For the week, dinner is at their house so that it is one less thing I have to worry about. Our neighbour who is happy to help us pick up the kids from the school bus and keep them with her if necessary. She pops down to help me in the mornings just so that we can get everyone out of the house in time. That means that the number of times I have needed to channel the F1 driver has been reduced. Could. Not. Be. More. Thankful.

3. Thank goodness for frozen reserves.
I love leaving myself surprises. The last time we made salmon potato patties, we froze an entire batch. That meant that all that is necessary to do is to stick the patties into the grill and Evan would have a filling tea after school.

4. Let some things slide.
The house isn't immaculate. The twins do not do as much work as they usually would. What I did was to actually keep them all in one room this morning and tell them to play with the door shut. That way, the mess gets limited and they cannot shirk the responsibility of the mess because all 3 are in there and all 3 are party to the mess. That gave me time to finish cleaning up after breakfast. By the time I was done, they were sweaty and more than ready for a bath. That worked out. Bed times have also become slightly later because it has had to take into account us coming home from the grandparents' from dinner and my needing to unpack and wash up their day's rubbish.

5. Give ample time for everything.
I have been up at 5 every morning to get the kids ready. Rather than rush, forget things and be shorter-tempered, I wake up earlier, put on some music in the kitchen and start doing the necessary. By the time they are up at 7, most things are done and I actually have little pockets of time to cuddle them, accede to ridiculous requests like replacement batteries for remote control cars (Evan), look for his lion hat (Muffin), look for her colour pencils because she HAS to have the right colours for the dolphin she is colouring (Jordan).

6. Most importantly, an extremely supportive and helpful Packrat.
Exhausted from my day that began at 5 am and had not stopped and being faced with overflowing baskets of dirty laundry, I am torn between the need to sleep (my eyes closed over dinner) and the need to see empty laundry baskets (that is one thing I can't let slide. There is smell associated with it!). Packrat, equally exhausted gallantly steps in and volunteers to wait till the laundry is done to hang it up before heading to bed. That way, all I needed to do was to dump everything into the machine, climb into bed and lose consciousness in ten seconds. I know he went to bed quite late as a result and and I am thankful for him doing that and watching JED while I was at work on Saturday. It couldn't have been easy for him because when I came home, he had the stressed out look of someone who was alone with 3 kids under 7 who weren't particularly cooperative.

I know my brother would say it builds character. And part of me enjoys having the house and JED to ourselves but the other part of me is exhausted and crying out for some reprieve and possibly a vacation that comes with "all you can go for" spas.

Till then, I shall just keep repeating "this too shall end."


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