It happens all the time.
It’s Dinnertime. My husband walks in the door from work, and it appears he’s walking into a zoo. There are clothes, toys, and other random objects strewn about the foyer, living room and kitchen. I’ve been picking up these random items all day. Literally ALL DAY.
The kitchen looks like the children had a field day when in fact, it was just me trying to cook pasta while supervising and entertaining two small children. Water has boiled over the pot onto the stove, the cabinet that I forgot to lock has now had its contents emptied by my toddler and they are scattered all over the floor. I’m holding my youngest because for some reason she cries every single night while I’m trying to make dinner, so I cautiously stir the pasta sauce while holding her as far away from the stove as possible.
My scraggly ponytail I’ve had since this morning is falling loosely from my head and I have spit up on my shoulder. I feel slightly guilty that I never look “put together” for my husband. My toddler is running around without a diaper on because I haven’t had time to put a new one on him yet. He keeps asking me to pick him up, and it’s pulling at my heartstrings because I have to tell him no since I’m already holding his baby sister.
My husband sees this sight and says timidly, “Hey babe…”, then waits for my response to determine his next move.
On days like this, I either don’t respond or I hiss “take her” as I hand him the baby.
I feel like it’s not fair that he hasn’t had the day that I’ve had. It’s not fair that he actually got a lunch break, or peed without someone barging in on him, or got to just sit for 5 minutes without being interrupted. When he says “It’s been such a long day”, I shoot daggers out of my eyes towards him. The worst is when he walks in and says “Man, I’m so tired.” It’s almost like he wants to see me hit the roof.
Not every day is like this.
In fact, there are many days when he is greeted by a happy, jumpy toddler and a calm, collected (and clean!) wife. I happily hand him his baby girl and watch with loving eyes as he takes them to the couch to read a book while I peacefully finish a healthy, well-balanced meal for our family.
But today was not that day. Today’s dinner ended with crying (me, not the kids) and a large glass of Pinot Grigio. I didn’t even eat with my family. I needed to step outside and get some fresh air and drink some fresh(ly poured) wine.
After taking a few minutes to remove myself from the stress of dinnertime, I was able to re-compose myself and re-join my family on the couch. My toddler sits in my lap, hands me a book and says “Read, Mommy.” I happily oblige, and I remember that these are the moments that make it all worth it. The chaos has dissipated and everyone is happy and calm. The rainbow after the storm.
I’m not sure why dinnertime goes smoothly on some nights, but not others.
Maybe it has to do with how well everyone napped that day, or the amount of prep time that particular meal requires. But I do know that it’s a temporary period of craziness and it wont last forever. In fact, years from now, I’ll probably miss it. So as hard as it is now, I try to embrace it as much as possible. And on the nights like tonight when it feels too difficult to appreciate…well, that’s what the Pinot is for.
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