[WARNING: CHILDREN AND PARENTHOOD DISCUSSED IN WAYS THAT MIGHT BE UPSETTING TO THOSE STILL IN THE TRENCHES. PROCEED WITH CAUTION OR AVOID POST ALTOGETHER IF THIS IS YOU.]
Because I am away from my sons for many of their waking hours during the weekdays, many days I feel that I am getting less of the enjoyment part of parenthood and more of the unenjoyable parts. (Let's not even talk about toddler discipline/behavior. Let's leave that topic for another day.)
I had a small "aha moment" on Saturday as I was washing dishes. Pre-children, I rarely did housework. Yep, I've now admitted it publicly. . . for many years, I did the bare minimum of housework on a daily basis to keep my home livable. I ate out a lot, so I didn't have to wash dishes every day; I probably ran the dishwasher two or three times a week before my sons were born vs. daily now.
I didn't make my bed unless I'd just put on fresh sheets. I didn't straighten up every day. (Much to MM's chagrin once we were married.) I usually let things slide until the weekend, when things would finally deteriorate to a point where it would bug me and I would then have a block of time available and pick up.
Ditto for the bigger cleaning jobs, like the floors, the bathrooms, the kitchen, dusting, etc. I did my best to keep things from getting very dirty during the week and would then tackle them on the weekends. (And maybe not even every weekend, if I'm being really truthful here.)
Now that I have small children living in my home, I not only have a higher standard for cleanliness in my home, I also have two more people to clean up after besides myself. (Thank the Lord my husband is a neatnik who cleans up after himself). Two much messier people, I might add. Two people who think nothing of throwing food and drink on the floor, smashing crackers into the couch, dumping out all their (carefully organized) toy bins, emptying their toy box or taking every single book off their shelves. Two people who actually think it's FUN to make a mess, I believe, at least based on their behavior.
So I am doing a lot more housework nowadays than I ever did pre-children. Even though I have a helpful husband, a four-day-a-week nanny with her own neatness streak and a cleaning lady who comes in once a month.
I also do a lot more grocery shopping and meal planning than ever before because pre-children I ate out a lot or ate frozen entrees (unless I was on a weight loss kick, but those only happened sporadically). My children can't eat Lean Cuisines or food from the McDonald's or Taco Bell drive-thrus (well, technically I suppose they *could*, but I'm quite a bit more careful about what I feed them than I am about what I feed myself), so I have to go the grocery store once or twice a week to ensure that they have milk, bread, eggs, cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables and other things to eat.
For most people, these tasks are probably the normal tasks of adulthood, but for me, they feel inextricably linked to parenthood, since I never really did them before. I guess I should consider myself fortunate; I had a pretty good run in getting to nearly age 41 without incorporating these domestic duties into my daily/weekly round.
If/when I win the lottery, a cook/housekeeper is at the top of my wish list.