One of the difficult things about being a stay-at-home-mom is the lack of feedback from my employer. Really, it’s the lack of employer. Being cook, nurse and chief bottle washer means that no one ever calls me aside for an employee review. I used to enjoy those reviews, and the 3% raise that followed them. The only negative comment that I ever received was “your unit manager and I both think your hair sometimes looks like a bird has nested in it.” Lovely. I did refrain from telling my boss that her hair looked like a helmet.

I used to complete two med passes, answer countless questions, supervise assistants, administer IVs, do wound care, do trach care, chart, help people to the toilet, clean people who didn’t make it to the toilet, contact physicians about problems, contact families, social workers and therapists about patient changes, hold hands and give countless hugs in 8-12 hours. At the end of the day I could point to endless tasks and say “I accomplished something.” Parenting full-time rarely gives one immediate feedback.

My day-to-day life looks very messy, and not just in the ‘chaotic vibe’ sort of way. It is actually messy. If I could find the camera under all the stuff in the living room, I would take a picture. But the mess is the work of my children: It represents play in progress. So, after a particularly busy three days, in which I did not complete many things, I thought a reality check was in order.

The progress list:

  • My kids built a dollhouse out of two shoe boxes. It has five people, beds, stairs, bookshelves, books, a television, a table. The piece de resistance is the dreams, tiny cardboard thought bubbles that represent the dreams of each family member. There is a birthday cake, the Empire State Building, pizza and hamsters. (re., the hamsters: they can keep dreaming.) They are so tiny that a magnifying glass is required to read the print.
  • My son told me that on Mother’s Day he would hug and cuddle me “every other second.” He also told my husband and I that he would try to come and sleep in our bed more so that we would have more time to snuggle.
  • My oldest daughter, though she does not live at home, called me to describe the 3-inch centipede that she saw in her laundry room. She still needs her mom!
  • My middle daughter is really excited about codes and ciphers right now. Homeschooling gives her the time to pursue this interest. She is also creating a code with several languages so she can communicate in secret with friends.
  • I finally finished the wizard costume for my son. Project completed!
  • I finished two short stories. They need a lot of revision, but I am happy with the current progress. Daily, or almost daily, blogging helps me stay focused.
  • My youth soccer team won today! They played hard. I’ve been drilling into them that they need to keep trying, to work their hardest whenever they are playing, and it seems to be working.

I am trying to live by that credo my self: keep trying, always work my hardest.