Yesterday, at my dentist’s office, I reflected on the terrible “boo boo” committed by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen. As the mother of four, and as someone who uses the word “boo boo” in everyday conversation, I know this much: Moms understand economic realities better than anyone, and we work very hard.
I’m a stay-at-home mom. I’ve been one for 17 years. When I work, it’s usually from home. My six-year old asked me the other day, “Mom, when are you going to have a ‘take your son to work’ day?”
“Babe,” I told him, “You are there now. I am at work, and you are with me. Welcome to my world.”
So as the dentist jabbed my delicate gums repeatedly with a needle and revved up his drill to carve away at my teeth and jangle my nerves for the next hour, I sighed. Root canal is “me time” for this busy mom. I settled in for what would be the most relaxing 60 minutes of an average day.
The day had begun six hours earlier.
6 a.m.: Wake up to help eldest and most responsible child get to all girls’ high school on 6:47 train. Prepare a peanut butter and banana sandwich for her commute.
7 a.m.: Wake three boys, first attempt.
7:05 a.m.: Wake boys, second attempt.
7:10 a.m.: Start yelling and pulling off covers and threatening consequences if boys do not get up and get out the door to school.
7:15 a.m.: Assist partially comatose boys with breakfast preparation and clothes acquisition, occasionally from floor of bedroom.
7:20 a.m.: Make three bag lunches.
7:30 a.m.: Push high-school and middle-school boys out the door in the general direction of their schools.
7:53 a.m.: Walk to corner with first-grader to meet bus.
That’s just the kickoff of the day. Once showered and dressed (yes, I wear my pajamas to the bus stop), I fuel up the minivan at $4.25 a gallon, pick up $100 worth of groceries (just the bare necessities), and wash, dry, and fold (sort of) six loads of laundry.
Soon the calls and texts from the kids begin to come in.
“Mom, forgot it’s pizza day! Can you bring me $5? J”
“Practice after school. Need shorts and cup.”
“My teacher needs that permission slip and check. Did you already give it to me?”
I drop off the forgotten lunch at the elementary school, the needed gym accoutrements at the high school. I scan and resend the permission slip that I’d already put in a backpack once but apparently never made it to the teacher. The check will have to wait.
I take a moment to plan the 21 meals for six I will prepare this week. The kitchen stays open 24/7 including weekends and holidays, and that doesn’t even include daily, individual feedings for one chubby dog, a peckish cat, two scaly fish, and an apathetic turtle.
On the “to do” list for the day:
a replacement jump drive
a replacement lunch box
a replacement graphing calculator
a replacement retainer
replacement sports goggles
and Tums for Mom
overdue library fines
summer camp deposits
and chiropractor for Mom
Just this month, on the calendar, we’ve got bat mitzvahs, school plays, band concerts, track meets, Little League games, trigonometry tests, family-fun night, coffee with the principal, a deadline for the first-grade hermit-crab-habitat project, parent-teacher conferences, sports physicals, classroom-help days, prom-dress shopping, a food-bank collection, and a cleat swap.
Welcome to the lap of luxury.
Susan B. Konig is author of the upcoming Teenagers & Toddlers Are Trying to Kill Me.