• Erin Griffith

"The Goldfish war of 2016" and other reasons that I could never be a stay at home mom.

This morning, I was upstairs hastily folding and hanging up laundry in the laundry room. Now, don't go thinking that this is to be admired or that perhaps I am one of those domestic divas who, like, gets the laundry done efficiently; because, it is the laundry from last week that has been miring on the floor since I pulled it out of the dryer. The pile was so large that it was effectively blocking the door to the laundry room, so I decided that I needed to take action since I was going to need to make an equally large pile of this weeks laundry pretty soon. This is actually an improvement from my school year laundry situation. During the school year, when I leave he house at 6AM and do not return until 4/5 PM, there is literally only one inappropriate way to describe the laundry situation.

A cluster-fuck.

We are lucky to all have clean underwear, let alone matching socks and outfits. I am pretty sure that my whole family looks like a bunch of ragamuffin, wrinkly, homeless people during the school year.

Anyhoo, so there I am in my laundry room, listening to my trashy romance novel on my iphone, when I hear gleeful squeals of happiness coming from downstairs.

I smiled to myself thinking "children's laughter is so heartwarming."

The laughter continues to build into more aggressive squeals of happiness (my internal mommy alarm goes off).

I yell, "Is everything ok down there."

My son calls back that everything is fine.

The squeals evolve into what can only be described as battle cries like those of William Wallace from Braveheart. My mommy senses are not just tingling, they are alarming "code red code red - disaster is imminent!"

I drop what I am folding and run to the banister and look down into the living room. Every surface is covered with flavor blasted cheddar goldfish and fritos. I mean Every. Single. Surface. Surfaces that I had just dusted and vacuumed. Surfaces that just minutes before, were literally sparkling from being SO CLEAN.

My children had created makeshift strongholds out of couch cushions and blankies and were continuing to pelt each other with snack foods. Little fishies were arching through the air with incredible accuracy and fritos were sailing through the air like yellow salted parachutes.

I'm not gonna lie...I lost my shit. My children must have sensed my rage because they looked up and their faces took on a look of sheer terror. My oldest, and most precious, said. "We'll clean it up mom." And thus ended the goldfish/frito war of 2016.

While we cleaned up the mess, I began to reflect on how I got here: Mt. Everest sized piles of both clean and dirty laundry, children waging wars on each other with snack foods, vacuuming and dusting the same room twice in one day (once to remove the dust, a second time to remove the salt, flavor blast powder, and oil).

This is going to sound improbable, but the first time I met my husband in the laundry room of his fraternity house, I knew he was "the one." Actually, I knew before that because I had done some recon and research on him using my sorority/fraternity contacts (don't laugh). I took one look at those amazing brown eyes and that adorable smile and knew that he had to be mine and I had to make adorable babies with him. It was just like that scene in Frozen when Anna says, "You wanna hear something crazy?" except it was me and it was more like "Hey, just to let you know, I might be crazy." and Hans was like "I love crazy" Except Eric was like "This girl is probably crazy." Yeah, it was like that.

I used to imagine this fairy tale world where we lived in an adorable neighborhood with a swing set in our back yard and I would spend all day making meals, cleaning my adorable house, and caring for the little angels Eric and I made together - because they would be highly intelligent, perfect, polite, cherubs sent to us from heaven.

Fast forward like 17 years and we did indeed make a-freaking-dorable babies (see evidence below).

William Scott Griffith (2008)

Abigail Jean Griffith (2010)

At the time of this post my children are now 8 and 5 years old. We do indeed live in a neighborhood with a swing set in the back yard. And they are NOT cherubic angels sent from heaven. They are both incredibly smart and creative, which leads them into more trouble than one would think.

Now, I am only a stay at home mom for two-ish months out of the year. I can honestly say that I could not do this all year long. I would lose my mind. I feel as though, my whole summer is a nightmarish loop where I clean; and, as I am cleaning, two trolls follow me and systematically unclean everything I just cleaned. When I get back to where I started, I have to do it all over again...sometimes in the same day. Add to that loop a constant litany of "mommy. mommy. mommy. mom. mommy. mama. ma. mommy." All of that followed up by requests that most of the time I can fulfill; but sometimes I can't. Like when Abby asked if she could have strawberries with whipped cream, without the strawberries. No, you cannot just have a bowl of cool-whip.

I consider my days to be successful if both children are alive at the end of the day and the house is only a modest disaster.

What I am saying is that I have the ultimate respect for stay at home mommies (or daddies). I can barely handle it for two-ish months. I am too selfish of a person to stay at home with my kids. I can totally admit this. I need time to myself and time to mentally regroup and, over the summer, I just don't get that time.

So, hug a stay at home mom or dad today. It is hard work and takes a strong, giving, dedicated person to do it.


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