For those of us who are task-oriented, it can be frustrating to take care of kids because most days, we rarely get things done. Taking care of small children and getting tasks done rarely coexist. (This is why I think when someone asks a stay-at-home parent “What do you do all day?” they should be sentenced to a life of taking care of toddlers.) Even as I attempt to write this article, so far I’ve only been able to do chicken-peck typing with one hand as the other arm holds my 14-month-old, and now I already have to call it quits. (Notice there are only five sentences written so far.) I had hoped to write an article about the profound responsibility of raising humans, but it’s already apparent that this article won’t be as good as I’d like.
You understand—I’m trying to write this while helping my 7-year-old on at least every third step as he builds a Lego Aqua Raider Kit, and while breaking up the fights between him and his brother over who gets to sit on the blue couch (not the brown one), while trying to keep my baby from pulling the handle down on our water cooler. (I should admit, though, that his squeals of delight at his accomplishment and his look -- which says “Aren’t I amazing? I just made water come out of this thing!” -- make it almost impossible for me to pull him away). Oh, and did I mention that my husband has the stomach flu today?
So, I guess I won’t write this article at all. But I know that you won’t care; you probably wouldn’t be able to read it carefully or even look at the whole thing anyway because you keep getting interrupted, too. So, I’m going to have to end this non-article now—I’ve got to wipe the spit-up off my leg, and go check the microwave. I think someone decided to “decorate” it.
As I sigh deeply on the way to the kitchen, my little four-year-old, says, “Mama, why did you take a big breath?” I tell him, “Mommy’s just frustrated I can’t get my work done right now.” He offers some good advice: “Mom—You can’t always get what you want. You get what you need. That’s what the Rolling Stones say.” (Can you tell that his dad doesn’t listen to “Elmo Sings the Blues” and “Raffi” in the car?)
And my little guy is right: What I want right now—to accomplish my tasks—isn’t anywhere near as important as what I need—to raise three good little humans. And when I get glimpses at times like this of how Scott’s and my hard work is paying off, I see that that the privilege of parenting, even with countless interruptions, is also what I want more than anything in the world.