One of the things that I have personally discovered about being a mother is that, it's not the mothering part that's the hardest part - there's more than enough love, joy, and wine to paper over the tough-spots for that - but life itself. If the business of life - work, chores, dramas, relationships - didn't get in the way, being a mother would actually be easy-peasy. Ok, I exaggerate a little, but this, by the way, is why our parents seem to have so much of a better time with our kids than we do - the time they spend with them is almost 100% devoted to our kids' wants and needs, not to shopping or laundry or vacuuming.
Case in point today. My mother and I had been out getting some groceries at Safeway. Although I get most of my food at Trader Joes these days, I still have to venture into the major chains for things like laundry detergent, paper towels, spreadable butter (which we seem to go through in the VAT-LOAD) and the like. So we were heading home from a late afternoon shopping trip with a trunk-load of mostly cleaning supplies. We get home, Mum unloads Daisy and I head back to the trunk to grab a couple of bags. Right when I lift up the first one, I am overcome with the fumes of bleach.
Wow, I think, that bottle of bleach I got really smells! Yeah, well, with reason - the whole thing (and I mean the whole thing) had spilled out of the bottle, through the bad and was sloshing around the trunk of my car, coating every grocery bag and anything else in it's wake. No sooner did it dawn on me what had happened, than I looked down and saw the tell-tale stains on my favorite yoga pants, spreading from knee to hip. Then, I started to look and realized that the whole trunk was awash in the stuff. Everything was covered - everything!
If I was a better photo-journalist, I would have raced into the house to grab my camera so that you would have a visual at this point but, honestly, capturing the sorry mess for a blog post was not the first thing on my mind. I'm sure I'll get to that state of blogging madness eventually but I'm not there yet.
Fortunately, I have a plastic trunk liner and so the damaged was containable. Unfortunately, the plastic trunk liner meant that, instead of the bleach being absorbed on impact, it just drifted around to find other things to ruin.
Luckily, as I said, I had my mother there and she whisked Daisy inside while I grabbed some towels and a hose and set about the 30 minute process of taking everything out of the trunk, including every grocery item out of every bag, separating into piles on the front lawn, and then washing and drying, or throwing away, as appropriate.
As I was doing this, I couldn't help but wonder, as I often do in situations like this: what would I have done if I had been on my own? I certainly couldn't have left Daisy in the house on her own while I cleaned up, nor could I have kept an eye on her in the front yard while I did so. It's also not possible to contain Missy in any pack-and-play (even if I had one) or other cordoned-off area (even if I could think of anything I might have to make that happen.) Leaving the bleach until she went to bed, two hours from then, also not an option unless I wanted everything in my trunk to be ruined and my car to be engulfed in toxic fumes as the stuff baked in the heat on the driveway. So, my first thought was that I would have simply called my parents and had them cover over, thus bringing me back to my current square-one.
And then I gave myself a mental slap in the face because I thought that was just a horrid cop-out. Seriously? I could't figure this out on my own? I mean, what would a single mom do?
This is something I ask myself from time-to-time, by the way. The very fact that I HAVE more help than most makes me sometimes wonder if I could actually do all this alone if I had to. It's not that I don't appreciate the help I have - I thank my lucky stars - but it does niggle at me occasionally, especially when I find I am having a hard time getting something practical done, like laundry, or making the bed, or putting on my make-up, and realize that I often resort to waiting until Hubby comes home, or baby-sitting arrives or something. I mean: what would I do if there was no "other" person to wait on? What would a single mom do? (WWASMD?)
My solution, by the way, in this particular case, I decided, was that I would have grabbed the pre-cooked meatloaf I had bought for dinner, popped it in a bowl, dragged Daisy's high-chair out onto the driveway and plopped her in it for dinner, while I sorted, cleaned, and dried.
Having "solved" my entirely fictional dilemma, I felt very pleased with myself and waved at Daisy and my mother through the front window as I finished up.
My yoga pants are ruined, by the way and they were my most favoritist, most ass-flattering ones. Which is just sad in itself - ass-flattering yoga pants? On a Saturday afternoon? Out of the house? Ack! Yes, it is possible that I have lost all pride, sense and feeling.
Also, I can't get the smell and feel of bleach out of my hands, no matter how many times I was them in Bath & Bodyworks' Honeysuckle hand soap and lather them in cocoa butter lotion. They feel like I soaked them in acid for an hour and if I so much as even rub my eyes with them, my eyes start to smart.