Personal reflection on life before kid(s)
In the pre-WR era things were different. WR are the initials of my firstborn son. In pre-WR days my house was always fanatically neat, spotlessly sparkling, and ultra organized. I even had my research articles numbered and cataloged. Of course, that was before the present IT (Internet Technology) era began for the home PC user.
The WR era began early in 1996. Still in its heyday, it means long days at the office, frantic car racing around town, irate telephone calls from school, and a never-ending feeding frenzy. It means dealing with so-called ADHD, allergies, and food sensitivities. It is a time of frustration, uncertainty, love, and healing.
Reminiscent of a young Mick Jagger yelling, “You don’t want my trousers to fall down, now do ya?” to a crowd during a pre-WR/IT/PC-era Rolling Stones concert, the WR era is known for sayings such as, “You don’t want mama to scream, now do ya?” or “This place is a pigsty!” The latter saying is one of which the era’s namesake just laughs and says, “But how can that be? I’m not a pig.”
This frequent exchange of words has me dreaming of memorable pre-WR days. Cleaner days when paperwork was easy to find, the garden was always well maintained and provided an abundance of food, and the house was never dirty (well, there was the time the pressure cooker exploded the evening before a month-long road trip).
Out of my daydreaming mode and back to today’s reality, I realize that the organized life wasn’t always so good. Yes, pre-WR I could find everything, and didn’t think twice about asking a friend to come over at a moment’s notice. In pre-WR days, the yard always looked inviting, and family birthdays were never forgotten. However, I was missing out on the hugs and kisses that make the WR era even more memorable than the era before it. Missing was the huge smile that followed a special discovery. Missing was the Friday nights snuggling on the couch watching a movie while eating popcorn from the largest bowl in the kitchen (no butter, of course, as dairy is a problem food group). Those hugs and kisses, that smile, make the WR era worthwhile.
Then, there were the times WR made me laugh. One of my favorite memories occurred in my old four-wheel drive truck while a much younger WR was in his car seat in the back cab. There was a discussion on how fast I was going. WR thought I was going too fast. I said I was going the “legally accepted limit” and not to worry. WR was silent, obviously thinking this over. Finally, WR said with excitement, “Oh, so you’re legally allowed to go fast?” WR is now several years older and my truck did not make it through the era. Still, remembering this discourse often brings a much-needed smile to my face while stressfully rushing to an appointment to which I will be late anyway.
For all its hugs and kisses, for all its snuggles and laughs, the current era has taken some getting used to. The frenetic WR energy and constant food deliberating mean little time is left at home for cleaning or organizing. The needs of WR himself must be met…for the sanity of the entire household.
Not that my life partner doesn’t help around the house. He does his share. He’s a great cook, does his own laundry and ironing, often cleans the bathrooms, and struggles to maintain some order and cleanliness in our large living room.
WR also has tasks to do which, as with most kids, eventually get done after we ignore his excuses. When WR was about four-years old, he was asked to start placing his newly folded clothes in drawers. He inquired, “Why do I have to put my clothes away? That’s women’s work.” Needless to say, WR got heated lectures from both parents on that comment. That was one excuse that never came out of WR’s mouth again.
Still, I insanely keep trying to be the ultimate supermom. Finally realizing this 1970s label is a misnomer that can never be achieved short of death, I’ve semi-peacefully resigned myself to the fact that life will never be the same again – no matter how much I try to keep the house clean, write an article in my head, and help WR with schoolwork all at the same time.
Some things, however, never change no matter what the era. Good friends will be friends no matter the cleanliness of your home, family is always there for you, and WR will forever be my son.