My Family of Five + Six Houseguests = Some Pleasant Surprises. Who Knew?

posted in Around the House, Fall, Writing on by with 2 Replies

Things have been getting a little bit on top of me lately, and I’m feeling kind of out of balance.  I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like, but my mental energy just isn’t there when I do actually have a few minutes to sit down and think.  I didn’t do a book review this month partly because I haven’t read anything great lately and partly because I just couldn’t muster up enough enthusiasm to review something I read a while ago.  Maybe it’s the transitional time of year that has me feeling so out of whack.  Maybe once fall is really in full swing and I’ve fully accepted the inevitability of the long winter months, I’ll have some of my creativity back.  Maybe, just maybe, it also has something to do with the fact that as soon as we got home from our long weekend trip to be in a Big Family Wedding, we began preparing the house to have six adults and five children ages three and under living in it.

I was a little worried that our normally spacious house maybe develop this kind of a feel.

I was a little worried that our normally spacious house would maybe develop this kind of a feel.

That’s right, folks, it’s houseguest time around here, and I’m sure you all know how crazy that can be.  There was lots of stress about getting the house ready for all these friends to join our already chaotic household, and I had a fair amount of anxiety about how it was all going to work out, but guess what?  So far, it’s been surprisingly awesome.

The biggest reason it’s been awesome, and this didn’t surprise me, is that we have great friends.  These are friends that my husband and I have known for years.  We have all seen each other at our best and at our not-so-great.  We’re all the same age and most of us have kids now, so everyone has reasonable expectations for “fun” activities.  They completely understand the difficulty of planning and scheduling things around naps and bedtimes and the mass distribution of apple slices and Goldfish.

What has surprised me though, what has been unexpectedly spirit-lifting for me, are these things:

People actually thank me for doing the same household crap I do all the time.  It’s so amazing!  I went around the upstairs and grabbed everyone’s towels and threw them in the laundry.  They were like, “Oh my god, you didn’t have to do that!  Thank you so much!”  I made muffins for breakfast and people said, “These are sooo good!  Thank you so much!”  I took the little girl who is not my own outside to play and her parents said, “Thank you so much!”  I really don’t know how I’m going to go back to doing all this stuff without the praise and appreciation.  I’m starting to see how overpraising your kids can be a problem.  Next week, I’ll be all like, “Why do I even bother doing the laundry?  No one around here thinks I’m a goddamn goddess just for folding a towel!  This sucks!”  Plus, other people help with the cooking, grocery shopping, and meal clean-up and since there are so many other people here, I’ve actually been doing less of those things than I would normally do.  Sweet!

The Baby has developed an adorable infatuation with one of our friends and has officially made him her servant.  She has a serious crush on this guy and I’m pretty sure it’s mutual.  She’ll be playing on the floor and the second she starts to fuss, he’ll talk to her and pick her up and lug her around.  She freaking loves it.  She may be getting spoiled, but it’s heartwarming to watch them bond.  I’m just not sure what on earth I’m going to do with her when he leaves.  She’s going to be looking around for her Personal Servant/Nanny and there’s just no way Mommy is going to fill that role.

Other people’s kids can be just as cranky and unreasonable when they’re tired or hungry as mine can.  Thank god.  It’s so nice to have another family staying here so I can see firsthand that my kids are no whinier or weirder than anyone else when they’ve decided to lose their shit.  The chaos and noise level in our house have definitely increased, but it doesn’t bother me at all.  I’m just like, “Phew!  It’s always crazy when your kids are this little!  We’re normal!”  I mean, my mom-friends and I all talk about the craziness of our households, but seeing living proof of what it’s like for other parents has been kind of a relief.

So that’s what’s been going on with me.  Writing inspiration comes in peaks and valleys and I may be in a bit of a valley right now, but life is good.  I’m sure I’ll get my groove back soon.  In fact, it will probably happen when I get to see this guy:

It's David My-Writing-Hero Sedaris.  If all goes well when I meet him this time, he'll sign my book and then ask to be my best friend.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

It’s David My-Writing-Hero Sedaris. If all goes well when I meet him this time, he’ll sign my book and then ask to be my best friend.  Last time I saw him, he signed my book, “To Kate, I’m so happy you’re alive.”  That’s a good sign, I think.  He’s not indifferent to the fact of my existence, and not even just plain happy about it.  He’s SO happy.  So, yeah.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

I’m going to see him read in November.  I’m so very, very excited about it.  I’m also very, very excited that it means I get to go out with my sister and a girlfriend for several hours.  I hope I don’t die of excitement when it actually happens because I know you’ll want all the details.  Stay tuned.  Now you have something to look forward to.