March 19, 2009

A Moment of Clarity

My husband's birthday was on Tuesday. My kids and I always give him awesome gifts (trio of black socks, ice scraper, fireplace tools), but this year's present was by far the best: we showed up to his work uninvited.

I always try to look my best when I visit corporate America; I feel that it is my civic duty to dispel the myth that stay-at-home moms dress like they've lost the will to live. Sadly, my favorite outfit (stirrup pants + man-sized sweatshirt) was in the wash. However, I did rejoice in the fact that I had a Friends (Season 2) haircut to show off to my husband's colleagues.

I got my hair cut last weekend. My hairstylist agreed to cut my hair into choppy layers if I agreed to invest in a hairdryer and a large circular brush.

"Your hair will look terrible if you don't style it," she warned.

I am what my sons' preschool teacher calls a 'bad listener.'

My kids and I were greeted at my husband's place of employment by an ivy-league business school graduate who runs five miles each morning. She was wearing high heels and a jacket with no arm holes.

"It's a cape," the woman told me.

After herding the kids into my husband's office, I went to the bathroom. When I returned, one of my children was writing "This is boaring" on my husband's dry erase board. The other two were shooting staples into the carpet under his desk.


"Surprise!" we screamed when my husband opened the door. He was happy to see us, but not so happy to find that someone had erased last year's earnings from his dry erase board.

"Sometimes I want to be that," I said longingly, pointing to the supermodels standing around the water cooler.

My husband came home from work later that evening to find me and the kids lying on the sofa, checking our scalps for lice. All of us were wearing some variation of stirrup pants.

"Danielle (one of the supermodels) said something interesting about you after you left," he told me.

I could only imagine.

"She said that she would give anything to have a house full of kids like you," he continued.

I stopped inspecting my daughter's head for microscopic insects long enough to count my blessings.

From a distance, the grass is always greener somewhere else. Despite the manure, I feel incredibly fortunate to be on this side of the fence.

We are all so blessed.

68 comments

Sarah said...

What a wonderful thing to say! I think sometimes we all need to be reminded of how lucky we are. Especially on the really hard days.

utmomof 5 said...

Thanks for the reminder as I sit here with a sick 4 year old who didn't get enough sleep and has been whining since she woke up. :)

Lee Jarvis said...

We took our oldest son's Little League "family night" literally yesterday evening and hauled our 4 kids into a steaming auditorium for a 5 minute schpiel about metal bats and a reminder to buy a hoodie or a rain poncho. I just KNOW all the other moms were eyeing my 8.75 month pregnant belly, screaming stroller-confined toddler and my older three ice-cream demanders and thinking, "Why her and not me?"
It's is a wonderfully crazy life and indeed the grass while sometimes full of land mines, is indeed greener on our side!

Anita said...

Jana, what a wonderful and, as always, witty post!
I do believe the grass does appear to be greener, but just between you and me, and your minions.....I love our side of the fence too!

TheQueen@TerrorsInTiaras said...

We are lucky! I was actually thinking how lucky I was to be a stay-at-home mom today as I drove to school in the middle of the morning to pick up my daughter. I'm really glad I was available to drop everything to pick her up. Nevermind that she was (is) puking. I guess that's the manure stuff we put up with to have our green grass.

Robin said...

I wouldn't trade my side of the fence for any number of armless jackets!

Helen said...

Great post! It's always nice to be reminded that no matter how crazy your life may be, someone is almost always envious of it :)

The Cranes said...

I have to remind myself every day that this is the greener side even though many times it does not feel like it... I have 4 kids and, in addition, babysit my 3-month old neice so that my engineer husband, engineer brother, and doctor sis-in-law can go to work "outside" the home. Oh, to get up in the morning and put on something other than jeans and a sweatshirt would be wonderful, but if I did, I'd look so out of place in my "stay home" world! Maybe one day when the kids are older, we'll all become "supermodels" again :)

The Mommy said...

Sometimes, I think back to my single (or even dating) days wistfully and remember hanging out (probably at a bar). What was I thinking during those times? Gee, I wish I had a great husband and children to go home to...

Ask, and you shall receive.

Jennifer Bowman said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! As a stay at home Mom myself this is a great reminder to me and something I needed to hear today! :)

WackyMummy said...

It's such a great thing to hear from someone who might be super-successful in every way that she sees what you have as pretty darn great. It really does make me feel blessed and not-so-wanting at times when I hear that. :)

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

It´s never boring reading Your blog :-)
Christer.

Karen said...

I hope your Hubby appreciates being able to have his kids visit in the middle of the day. What a great surprise for him.

Brooke* said...

I am dying laughing right now...I'm not sure where I found you but I am so glad I did! You provide a much needed comic relief to my afternoons! THANK YOU! (and thank you for wearing stirrup pants)

Amy said...

Stirrup pants- oh boy those things were great! I don't know how you manage to be funny and inspirational all in one package... but you are and I love it!

Laura said...

What a great post as a reminder to how green our grass really is! What a sweet & wise husband who knew that repeating what his co-worker said was EXACTLY what you needed to hear!

Carmen said...

That is so damn sweet!

Erin said...

Oh how I wish you had taken a picture of the armless jacket!

It really is all perspective isn't it?

MaLeah said...

I love your blog! I'm a stay-at-home-mom in the making! My son will be here in less than 4 weeks! Yikes! You are my hero!

brossettelewis said...

I'm stealing you quote. I love it.

Does your phone have a camera on it? I am kinda good at taking a shot w/o someone noticing it. I would have loved to see that caped ivy league superhero.

Anonymous said...

Terrific post!!!! What can be a more important job than what we do? K in NC

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, I just noticed there's a "candy poster" on his chair!!! Did you take the candy out like you did for the school nurse or did you leave it in? lol K in NC

Jana said...

We made ANOTHER candy poster! This one totally sincere (hee hee).

THanks guys. You are great, as always.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

This ranks up there among my favorite of your posts. I try to take the kids kind of frequently to see dad at work because he's in school at night and they don't otherwise see him much. I go through the same angst about walking in there and looking like the trailer park parade. But you're right. People at work tell him how lucky he is that I can stay home with our children. He even called me today and told me thanks for being at home with his kids, and not marrying one of my ex-boyfriends and staying at home with his kids instead. So funny. Mind if I link here and do a post about it?

3 Little Snaps said...

This is just SO true and real life..I love it!!

M3 said...

Great post!

hannahshirley said...

Thank you for sharing that comedic story! You have a wonderful blog.

Karen said...

Thanks for the reminder. Sometimes I get too bogged down in the daily trials of being home all day with the kids to remember how really blessed I am.
As always, I love your blog!

E said...

How fantastic...and so true! Why can we not have the best of both worlds?

Likes Chocolate said...

You are a super model. After being pregnant 4 times and giving birth 3 I have packed on 30 extra pounds and spend the majority of my day counting calories and wishing I could have another brownie. Though to tell you the truth I wouldn't trade being skinny if it meant I had to come home to an empty house.

jennie w. said...

Oooh, I hate stirrup pants. They make my legs look like fat carrots.

My husband works 45 minutes away, so we rarely visit his office. I did take 2 of our six kids kids down last week along with 4 dozen cookies. Naturally, I had to look really great because I take my job as a trophy wife very seriously.

QT Pie Bowtique said...

That put a smile on my face!

Musings of the Mrs. said...

Every time someone stops by my office with the kids, I think the exact same thing...that I would LOVE to be a stay at home mom and not stuck working in heels all day. The grass definitely is greener from afar. For everyone.

Lori from British Columbia, Canada said...

What a wonderful story. I needed that today!

Peggy said...

Great...she's a supermodel AND she's a sweetheart too! :p

If I were a supermodel, man, I'd be a bitch on wheels! :) jk

Lori said...

This was such a good post, but I am cracking up. I have that exact picture of Jennifer Aston in a folder called "hair" on my desktop. Every so often I print it out and slip it in with others I take to my salon lady. I say, testing the waters, "layers like that...sort of...but not like...officially that...not the Rachel cut, ha ha, not completely..." and then my voice dwindles off, too ashamed to let her know I really really bad want that cut exactly. Why? Why can I not have the Rachel cut?
No one tell me, I don't really want to know.
I'm cracking up, "Friends (season 2)." Gosh I feel old and unstylish.

tawny said...

I love you..you had me laughing and crying all at the same time. love your post and love that you remind us how important being a mom is...!

MommyAmy said...

I recently had a moment like this. My blog feeds to my FB page, and someone I went to high school with commented "I would give my right eye to have your life." I was totally shocked, this woman is a hair designer for movie stars in New York. Her life is ultra glamorous, and she wishes she had mine???

Brenda said...

I love this! What a great post!

Lani said...

great post!

dani c said...

Awww

misty said...

This is the funniest mom blog I have ever read-It almost makes me want to blog myself, but then I wouldn't have time to read your posts!

Sticky (not too) said...

You are so right - the grass is greener and I do love my life - bUt why, why, why can't I have the supermodel hair -just sometimes....?

jenn r said...

Amen Sister! I now have a housefull of 4 --5 if you count the husband and I sometimes wonder what life would be like if I didn't have the life I have. I would probably be longing for what I currently have--if that makes any sense! ( I am tired!)

jenn

Donna said...

I love your message in this. It's so true!

Carey-Life in the Carpool Lane said...

So true! Thank you for the reminder...

Sarah said...

Hmmmm, I'll take the stir-up pants.

Makayla said...

I love this post. And I love that my mom was a stay at home mom for 95% of my life. Loved it.

Niki O2afi said...

Thank you so much for this reminder! I really needed to remember how lucky I am to have these 5 beautiful children!! I absolutely love reading your blog & thank you for letting me know that there are other moms out there that go through so many crazy moments with their kids!!

Beth said...

Your husband is a wise man to repeat that comment. Very wise.

The Beaver Bunch said...

Thank you for reminding me.

Rocket Ma'am said...

You realize now your husband will have to work in an office of 42 screaming ovaries. I'm glad you reminded those ladies just what they are (or could be) missing if they get wrapped up in work. I know it probably would have happened to me if God hadn't sent a memo on the important things in life. And a copy.

Diva Ma said...

Thank you for that. I often find myself wishing I could be that gorgeous girl that I THINK Hubs would like better. Only, truth is, he like what he has and so do I!

Fosters said...

Thank you. I really, REALLY needed to be reminded today . . .

Julie said...

Everyone is missing the most important part of your post...LICE!!! So did you find any??? Having just lived through treating 5 kids, me, my husband, and the entire house and I am very sensitive to the "L" word. I have a great product and technique to recommend if anyone needs it.

Anonymous said...

I am one of those water-cooler gals. I go to bed each night and pray for a loving husband and beautiful children. You are blessed.

Sarah said...

People really wear capes? I thought supermodels only wore those on runways.

April said...

Congrats on winning the mommy blog awards!! You have lots of fans - thanks for keeping us entertained!!

Lisa said...

I love those little reminders we when least expect it and from who we least expect it to come from.

p.s. Hair cut pictures please!

Jules said...

I am a new reader to your hysterically funny blog ( I linked from C Janes blog)and can I just tell you what a talented writer you are? This post is the perfect example. I was laughing so hard I was practically peeing my pants as I read the first few paragraphs, and by the time I got to the end, I was crying at the poignancy of your last sentence. You are ridiculously funny and also honest about life with kids. I appreciate your candor!

jennschmerer said...

I.love.this.post. Wow- can I be you when I grow up? Thanks for sharing the hilarious side of being a mom and reminding me that it's a whole lot better than doing anything else!

NotQuiteaBride said...

I'm a new reader, and this is a fantastic post! I cannot wait to be a stay at home mom and I truly believe working mothers are or should be envious!

Michal said...

who needs to look like a supermodel, anyway? this post obviously struck a chord with lots of us--look at all the comments! i never really long to be back at work, but i do long for pretty clothes and lunch in restaurants with the girls and other things that i mostly gave up to stay home with my brood. but would i trade and go back? no ma'am!

Kelly said...

I loved this post. What a great reminder. I think stirrup pants are better than capes.

Geo said...

Capes do not a superlife make.

This is an awesome post. Thanks for sharing it.

Deb said...

Ahh small children...what doesnt kill us only makes us stronger...motherhood!!!

Love it love! And the grass is always greener somewhere else...over the septic tank!

Love that blog!

D

Jenny said...

By clicking here and there throughout the blogosphere I bumped into your blog. I truly enjoyed scrolling through and hearing your voice. Thank you for sharing.

The Clanton Gang said...

Thanks for that! I too have dreams of living the corporate life (skinny body, good clothes, money) but then I think about how much I would miss out on and I'm happy to be at home, even if it is with a whiny, clingy 22-month-old who already talks back.