Bendy Straws and Scullery Maids

This morning, while cutting the crusts off the bread for the sandwiches my kids would carry to school in their lunch boxes, I flashed back to a moment in my life, a few years ago, before hubby and kids.  I was at my job and participating in a full-day business conference on some project or another.  The meeting, I recall, was boring, energy draining, and felt fairly meaningless.  I remember sitting in the crowded conference room and having a thought, something like this:  “I wish I were packing children’s lunch boxes.”  This thought/wish must have bubbled up from the depths of my longing for children and family life, and was helped along mightily by the ticking of my thirty-something biological clock.

In my former role as a corporate project manager, I was responsible for the initiation, planning, executing, and controlling of the schedule, costs, risks, communications, quality, human resources, etc., associated with information technology projects of varying levels of complexity.

In my current role as stay-home mommy, I am responsible for the initiation, planning, executing, and controlling of the schedule, costs, risks, communications, quality, and human resources associated with the day-to-day comings and goings of two lively six-year-olds.

A partial list of my current project duties includes tasks related to: packing of lunch boxes; presenting of bedtime stories; picking up (only after stubbing big toe upon) Legos; coordinating of birthday parties; scheduling play-dates, piano and karate lessons, and soccer practices; enforcing of playground manners; acquiring of school shoes and cleats, new size every season; rationing of chocolate milk; endless — oh the ever-so endless — washing, drying, folding of family’s clothing; cutting off of sandwich bread crusts (I wonder why kids don’t like the bread crusts . . . what weird little creatures they are); providing of lunch-box bendy straws;  and fulfilling the role of tooth fairy, Santa Claus, chief cook, and bottle washer.

Thank God the diaper stage is in the past.  Twins.  Think about it.

I do have a partner in all this, my hubby, and for that, for him, I am most grateful.  Although I haven’t asked him lately (iPhone Siri, make a note to ask hubby how he feels), I imagine he sometimes feels like the yard man, police chief, weekend headline entertainer, and a tired old leather wallet that is constantly opening, closing, opening, closing, opening, closing . . .

Believe me, there are times as I’m packing the kids’ lunches, when one of the bendy straws surreptitiously finds its way into the neck of a bottle of Pinot Noir, rather than the lunch box where it belongs.


Oops.  All gone.

Of course, this happens only if I’m making lunches the night before instead of the morning of, as I am not in the habit of guzzling wine before breakfast.

So, this morning, after gathering the dirty clothes, and while packing the lunch-box sandwiches and bendy straws, I was thinking that being a mommy is a little like being a scullery maid.  (Scullery:  A little room that was near the kitchen in wealthy old British homes of some bygone era.)  I believe the scullery maids of yester-year didn’t even work in the kitchen, but in even lowlier digs off to the side, around the corner, and down the steps from the actual kitchen.

Yes, scullery maid.  That is definitely how I feel sometimes.

But other times, I smile, remember my conference room wish, and give thanks.