Time is a funny thing. You think you have lots of it and then before you realize what’s going on, another day has passed, another week is ending, another month is almost a third gone.
Cindy, our housekeeper/Iman-chaser/Jill of All Trades who holds down the fort while I’m off pretending to have a job or two, has been gone for a week and we’re learning to adjust accordingly. I drop Khalid and Joy off at school in the way-too-early am. Iman and I run errands together. Then we come home and make lunch or something close to it. A part-time housekeeper comes for two hours every other day to help with floors and bathrooms and other tasks that my knee, back, and pregnancy don’t totally jive with. We use paper plates. We buy ten-dirham roast chickens occasionally. Sometimes the kids have peanut butter for lunch.
I remember, three years ago, crying on the sofa with a new-born Iman in my lap and Khalid whining at my knee, spit-up on my shoulder, still in my pajamas, nothing cooked for dinner and the house a wreck. HF came home smiling and spoke three magic words that helped me redefine my measure of success or failure as a mother: “Lower. Your. Standards.”
These magic words were not carte-blanche for neglectful parenting or non-housekeeping, but rather of realistic goals and priorities. And I have remembered them ever since, and HF, my HusbandFriend and superhero holds me to them, and and even good naturedly helps out and looks rather dashing in an apron with suds on his elbows. Also, he makes bath-time more exciting. And story time before bed perhaps a little too exciting. Come to think of it, everything he does is exciting to the kids, and when he worked from home today so that I could get a little rest and attend a meeting in the afternoon, the result was that he and Iman went out for parathas and nihari at Karachi Darbar for breakfast and Iman came home with a squashy, melted chocolate in her tiny fist and a delighted grin on her face. I got to sleep in to the extravagant hour of 9am, and after my afternoon meeting, even squeezed in a half an hour swim before rushing home to find the kids happily eating french fries, roast chicken and hummus. Alhamdulillah 🙂
So yes. Kids fed? Check!
House still standing? Check!
No food being left out or wasted? Check!
Table has crumbs on it? No prob!
Back screaming in pain? Email can wait!
Everyone alive, healthy, happy, and grateful to Allah for His Mercies, great and small?
Now all we need to do is help Khalid get over tonsilitis, Iman get over a throat infection, and help me get over whatever it is that makes me pout and stomp when it’s time to go to bed in Iman’s room every night because she and Khalid cannot sleep in the same room. They wake each other up, and after an all-nighter earlier this week with Iman crying that her cot was ‘yukky’ and Khalid waking up to see what all the fuss was about, HF and I took the cot down and put Iman back in her ‘bonk’ bed.
(We bought the kids a bunk bed. We told them to NOT jump on the lower berth. We told them they would hit their heads. They didn’t believe us. “Ow!” Iman cried two seconds after ignoring my warning,”I bonked my head onna bonk bed!”)
So now Iman and I sleep in Iman’s room, she’s got the top bonk, and I crawl into the bottom bonk, and in the middle of the night she wakes up and asks me for stickers (really, stickers!) and I tell her to go back to sleep. And she cries, but Khalid is safely outside of earshot, sleeping with HF IN MY BED so Iman has no choice but to stave off her sticker pangs and go back to snotty, tearful sleep.
And now that I’ve polished off a few important emails and (with HF’s always charming help) brought the house to within regulation minimums for cleanliness for the evening, I’m going to pray, change into my PJ’s, and crawl into the bottom berth of a child-sized bed covered in pink flannel and nearly obscured with stuffed animals. And I will try not to bonk my head.