I read once that “cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling snow while it’s still snowing.”
That’s definitely true at this house. Yesterday as I was cleaning the kitchen for the third time in less than six hours, Grant came in and asked me if I was ever going to get a job.
“I have one,” I replied. “Taking care of my family and writing.”
“No, Mom. I mean a real job. Like where you get dressed up and leave the house and then they pay you for it.”
I remember having a similar conversation with Justin when he was about Grant’s size. He thought I should get a weekend job at the local Dairy Queen.
“Then we could eat hamburgers and ice cream until we throw up,” he said gleefully.
At the time I was teaching at the local high school. “No thanks,” I said. “I already have a job.”
“Yeah, but that’s during the week. You don’t do anything on weekends,” he said.
Except cook, clean the kitchen, and wash two tons of laundry, I thought to myself.
Not long ago I interviewed a good friend of mine for a story I was working on when our conversation turned to our work. He’s a talented musician and songwriter with his own musical group. Both of us agreed that we were very fortunate to be doing something we love. We decided it would be nice if the outside world viewed what we do as “real jobs” and that we probably wouldn’t say no to being paid more for our work, but if we were never paid another dime, we still wouldn’t give up on our dreams. When you truly love something, quitting just isn’t an option.
And that’s the way it is with parenting.
Even when they track mud on a just-mopped floor. Even when they forget homework assignments but manage to remember ball practice. Even when they don’t understand that parenting is the most important “real job” in the world. Quitting just isn’t an option.
Besides, if you’re lucky, one day you might have grandchildren-and then you can take them to Dairy Queen and leave your children home cleaning their kitchen.