By: Shannon Ralph
I should be rich. I really should. I should be a high-powered CEO somewhere bringing home a high six-figure income. If I were, then Ruanita could be a stay-at-home-mom. That woman has truly found her calling in the domestic arena. She is a homemaker extraordinaire. I don’t say that as any slight against her skills as a therapist. She is an amazing therapist and is one of the few people I know who has actually found the perfect career to utilize her skills and talents. That said, however, Ruanita really shines in the area of domesticity and has often indicated a desire to be a stay-at-home-mom. It seems as though, in every family, there is one person who is the heart of the home. There is one person who makes a comfortable life for the family. It’s not always the mom. It’s not always the dad. In my house, that person is most certainly my partner, Ruanita. I am afraid we would all crumble without her. If not crumble, we would at the very least be wallowing in our own filth.
Ruanita has an energy level that amazes me on a daily basis. She will typically get four or five chores done before she has even had breakfast. She really should live on a farm. The girl needs some cows to milk. She wakes up ready to go at the crack of dawn. Not me. On weekends, I stumble down the stairs with one eye still closed and head straight to the kitchen to get a Diet Pepsi. I usually sit in the living room chair in my early-morning stupor, sipping my Diet Pepsi with my daughter Sophie—who inherited my lack of morning functionality—lying on top of me. Sophie and I stare blankly at the television screen while Ruanita picks up, polishes, purges, and purifies the house around us. I may toss a couple of Pop Tarts at the kids, but that is usually all I can muster before I have my morning dose of caffeine. Even then, I am nowhere near the whirlwind that Ruanita is. She is a chore-finishing powerhouse. And she tackles chores that would never even occur to me. Yes, the dishes and laundry are obvious. I hate them, but I understand that they are a necessary evil. But dusting the fans? Cleaning out the refrigerator? Vacuuming under the couch cushions? Do people really do these things? I always assumed there were tiny mythical fairies somewhere that magically completed these tasks. In my house, the fairy is most certainly real. And her name is Ruanita. (Yes, honey, I just called you a fairy, but you’ve been called worse.)
Not only is Ruanita a rock star when it comes to housekeeping, she is also an incredible mom. That is not to say that I am a horrible parent. I have my own specific, albeit it small and highly specialized, skill set. I am a talker. I am good at talking the children down from a ledge. I am proud to say that I can emotionally manipulate my children. If you need someone to quell a tantrum, stroke an ego, heap on the guilt, or discuss God, sex, or “feelings” of any variety, I am the woman for the job. I am better equipped than Ruanita at discussing emotionally charged issues with the kids. She tends to see things very much in black and white, whereas I am gray all the way. So I end up handling most of the difficult discussions with the kids. Not that there are a ton of deep issues to discuss right now with my eight- and four-year-olds. We’ve briefly touched on God and where babies come from, but for the most part, our discussions consist of me repeatedly saying, “stop strangling your brother” and “pick up these Legos before I throw them in the trash” and “get your hands out of your pants.” I anticipate weightier discussions as they get older, however.
Whereas I am the talker, Ruanita is the doer. She is the one who will get down on the floor and wrestle with the kids. She is the one who will take them outside for a snowball fight. She is the one who will play Play-Doh and princesses and tea parties. She is the one who will have Yu-Gi-Oh card duels with Lucas. She is the hands-on, fun mom. But she is also the organized mom. She runs a tight ship. She turns off the TV and forces the kids to play. She does “activities” with the children every day. She feeds them a healthy breakfast and lunch. She is this amazing amalgam of mom, preschool teacher, disciplinarian, clown, and uber-skilled housekeeper. I come home from work, crash on the couch, turn on cartoons, and can barely muster the energy to keep the kids from killing one another. Dinner on my shift often consists of cereal or frozen waffles. Ruanita is the mother I would like to be. She is the domestic diva I aspire to become one day.
In the meantime, I need to find a high-paying job so Ruanita can stay home and cultivate those invaluable homemaking skills of hers. Anyone want to pay me a high six-digit salary to surf the web, blog, and Facebook all day?