There’s nothing scarier than a ‘Mombie’
If you’re a mother, you will relate to the way I have been feeling lately. The kids are in the swing of school, we are slowly phasing back into what life was like pre-COVID, the daily grand is never ending and the coffee life just isn’t doing it anymore. I’ve been waking up tired, going to bed tired and literally never shaking the exhaustion. I have gone to the doctor to have bloodwork done to see if I am battling an iron deficiency. I have increased the number of veggies I am eating as well as protein. I have even cut down from my four cups of coffee to two (gasp) I know it’s completely shocking to me too, and yet I am still feeling like a Mombie, just in time for Trick or Treat. For those of you who don’t know what a Mombie is, it is a word I have created to merge Mom and Zombie. You are still functioning, but you are doing ridiculous things in the process, but you are a mom, and you just can’t quit. Mom life is the new thug life, and you are literally just going full force at all times of the day.
This term Mombie came to mind on a normal Saturday grind. Saturdays are typically the day of the week; I tear the house apart and clean it top to bottom. I usually start in the bathrooms because let’s face it, those are the dirtiest places in our home with three children and a husband. My kids and husband straighten up but they legit have no understanding of what it means to clean. It may be my OCD taking over but when I’m cleaning a bathroom, I remove everything from the sink, everything from the shower and everything around the toilet and scrub. After I’m done scrubbing, I bring in the sweeper—yes that’s what I call a vacuum because 38 is the new 83. I suck up all the braces rubber bands, hair and occasional Barbie shoes I find in the bathroom because if you leave it there it’s on you. After I’m done sweeping, I open the windows and mop the floors. As ridiculous as it sounds, I love the feeling of a clean bathroom, it feels glorious to put back the toothbrushes, hand soap and fresh towels in a clean area.
After I’m done cleaning the bathrooms, I close the door in hopes that the room will remain untouched for at least an hour so I can bask in all the sparkling glory. I then move to my bedroom which is relatively easy. This is where I wipe down my computer, put fresh sheets on the bed and open the windows. After I’m finished that I move on to the children’s bedrooms. I save child one for last because a teenage girl’s room is a literal disaster. My two little girl’s rooms are easy because they usually don’t sleep in their beds, yup they more than likely come into ours in the middle of the night so sheet changes for them are biweekly. But the clothes are never ending. Does anyone enjoy laundry? I mean literally for the love of God, my husband and I wash it and fold it, but no one wants to put it away. After the little girl’s room is complete, I go for a strong black cup of coffee. I know it sounds gross to not put anything in your coffee but when you are attacking the challenges of cleaning your 12-year old’s room you need to get amped, like queue the Rocky music and put your big girl pants on because you need to prepare for anything. Before the judgement starts here, my eldest straightens her room up, but I clean it for her once a week, for my own sanity. I like to see the floors occasionally, in there.
After the rooms are done and the bathrooms are clean, I have accomplished half of the house. It usually takes 2.5 hours total to clean the house top to bottom. I handle the roughest part of the house first because sweeping Pepperidge Farm Goldfish out of couch cushions and finding socks is normal cleanup protocol. After the living room is complete, I clean the kitchen and that procedure looks very much like bathrooms. After the house is clean, I usually park it on the couch and bask in all my glory.
Just when you feel completely proud of your cleaning accomplishments your oldest daughter comes in and asks you where you put their hockey cleats. The real you (Loraine not Mom) wants to respond with, “Well I have no idea because I didn’t wear them.” But the mom in you responds with, “When was the last place you saw them?” The response to my question is usually followed by a teenage angst …pshhhh… “I dunno!” So as Mom you suck it up and start the task of looking for shoes. Then, the next child comes out…. “Mommy, where is my soccer ball?” So now I am looking for cleats and a soccer ball and I don’t even know where to start. I have 15 minutes before we must be out the door for soccer, and I can’t find the ball, and I’m still looking for cleats. I eventually find them, of course in the weirdest places. The soccer ball in the toy bin with the Barbies, and the hockey cleats are in my closet, yes mine. I literally have no idea how or why they would be there. The kids don’t understand it either, but we don’t even ask questions because we must keep going. So, I do a mad dash to the refrigerator to grab juice boxes for the first soccer game of the day. I grab my juice boxes and then I go to the pantry for snacks, and boom … I find a carton of milk. Yes, a carton of warm milk. Again … we needed to be out the door like five minutes ago, so I just dump the milk down the drain, pack the kiddos into the car and coast to the soccer fields.
Loraine with her kids during their Saturday sports adventures.
After soccer is complete, we run home for round two of sports. We load up all the field hockey gear and make our way to the game. The car ride is the equivalent to MTV’s “The Real World.” It’s when people stop being polite and start getting real. Fifteen minutes into the 45-minute drive we have realized that we haven’t packed Gatorade for our athlete, the little kids haven’t eaten lunch, so we stop at Wawa. Wawa is wonderful to any adult but when you bring kids in there you come out with Slurpees, hot dogs, basically diabetes, but you don’t care because you need to get to the field. My husband usually works every other Saturday, but this specific Saturday feels like the triathlon I didn’t train for. To my surprise we get to Ava’s game a few minutes early so the little girls and I go up the bleachers. They color, play with their pop sockets and I watch the game. I think about how I wish I grabbed a coffee at Wawa and what I need to make for dinner. I also dread the trip to the store that I need to make on the way home but try to relax a bit an enjoy the game. I feel like my mind never shuts off, even when I am focused, I don’t stop thinking.
After the field hockey win, we pack up the car and head to Target because it’s my happy place. It also has everything I need with a built in Starbucks, and its only 10 minutes away from where the game was played. So, it’s a win for everyone. If you have never shopped with three little ladies after two games, you should know that you will come out of the store with things you didn’t plan to buy. But you have liquid gold coffee in hand and for 15 minutes you are at peace on your drive home. You may have just spent $200 on cleaning supplies, food and clothes, but the games are done for the day, and you can celebrate that you have survived. When we get home, the kids always help bring the bags inside but disappear when they need to be unpacked. I find it relaxing and annoying all at the same time. I usually empty out the things from the fridge that need to be trashed, wipe the fridge down and replace the missing items with the new groceries we just purchased. The same goes for the pantry, I always need to straighten it up before I put things away.
At this point of the day, I can start to see the finish line, but I still have so much to do. Thankfully, my husband John has arrived home and the girls are somewhat tired. So around 5:30 p.m. I begin to prep dinner. I believe in family dinners, that’s the one time of the day we can put all technology aside and just eat together and talk about our day, so cooking and preparing for that is easy to me. I thrive in the kitchen and find cooking to be truly relaxing. After dinner we start bedtime routines. I usually bathe the kids while John cleans the kitchen or vice versa. After that’s complete, I look around at my house that has been turned upside down in a matter of minutes, and I just want to cry. I have worked so hard all day. It takes 2.5 hours to clean the house and get it in order, but it takes five minutes to flip it upside down. As a mom, I feel like I carry the weight of everything on my shoulders. I cook, clean, transport children from point A to point B, shop, do my own real job and feel like I have not completed anything successfully.
This Saturday, I had a mom meltdown and I walked into my bedroom shut the door and just stared at my ceiling. I took a few deep breaths and tried to calm down, but it felt useless. I just needed a time-out. The fast-paced life that moms lead is not comprehensible to anyone but us, the ones who lead those lives. It’s a huge job caring for others, working nonstop and taking on the world one carpool at a time. But in my timeout, I realized I am human. I am not perfect. I am allowed to make mistakes, but I need to slow down. My kids need to help more, I can’t get mad at my husband for not cleaning properly if I don’t show him how I do it. I need to stop having high expectations and wearing myself down or finding milk in the pantry is going to become constant. As I’m having this realization, my oldest walks in and sees something that she isn’t used to. She sees Loraine: not Mom, but me. She thanks me for taking her to her game, making dinner and cleaning her room, and she gives me the biggest hug. That my friends is the cure for beating becoming a Mombie, love and support. From one Mombie to another, slow down … enjoy the game, leave the fishes in the couch cushion for a day it won’t kill you. I see you; I feel you, and I am with you fellow Moms.
Loraine Griffiths is a fifth-generation Hammontonian, graphic designer, wife and mother of three. She can be reached through email at LifeWithLoraine@gmail.com.