Repetition

For almost five years now I have been a full-time, stay-at-home parent. I have never, ever held the same job for that long. I think my record in the workforce was 52 months. I have more than doubled that as a parent. And I have to tell you, it is getting a bit, well, repetitious.

I know that there are people out there who hold the same job for years, decades even. My father is one of those people. He has been with the same company for 34+ years. The company has been bought out multiple times, but he has stayed through it all. For all intents and purposes, he has done the same thing at the same desk for as long as I have been alive. I can’t fathom.

But yet, here I am. And clearly there will be no job hopping. Day in and day out I do pretty much the same thing. I make one of three breakfasts, one of four lunches, and one of five dinners (for the kids anyway). I serve the same snacks, pick up the same toys, wash and fold the same laundry and empty the dishwasher over and over again. I vacuum and mop floors. I ignore the dust on the pictures. I drive to the same playdates and activities, read the same books and sing the same songs at bedtime. I feel like I have hit the great brick wall of parenting.

If I try to vary our activities, say go to the park with the blue car instead of the red, a massive meltdown occurs. If I serve a meal not pre-approved by the food critics, it gets returned to the kitchen with a extra serving of whine thrown in for good measure. If I suggest that we try to branch out in our TV show repertoire, hysteria ensues. “But we LOVE LOVE LOVE (Curious George, Dragon Tales, Dora). I know that children learn from repetition, but how many times do we have to watch the same Curious George episode to learn all that there is to learn from it? If there is anything to learn from it, which I somehow doubt.

I seem to go through this “woe is me” stage every fall. Fall marks the beginning of the cold. The months that we are trapped in the house for much of the day. The sunlight is limited, and the lack of color makes the landscape of the backyard a dismal view. Every trip out of the house requires the application of layer upon layer of clothing, and then the reapplication when we arrive at our destination. And since this is my fifth year of doing this, I can’t really delude myself into thinking that this year will be different.

Nana is going to tell me that this will all get better. That once the kids start school full-time I will be able to branch out, challenge myself with new things. That they will be more flexible, more interested in doing different things. And I am sure she is correct. But right now, the repetition is mind-numbingly boring. The thought of doing another winter of this is almost more than I can bear.

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