Have you ever had one of those weekends where you can't seem to get anything done? Yeah, me too.

Yesterday my good friend R called me and asked if I wanted to see the symphony with her. Violinist Sarah Chang was in town to play the Sibelius concerto with the Madison Symphony Orchestra. I thought about all the work I have to do, so I hemmed and hawed and said maybe and even up to lunchtime today I wasn't sure if I wanted to go. But after an entire morning trying to work and instead getting interrupted every five minutes with phone calls and needy kids, I decided I just needed to go out.

So I called R back and said I'd pick her up at 1:45. When I got to her house, her son bounced up to me at the end of the driveway, and said, grinning, "My mom said I have to play outside for a while," and indeed when she got in the car, I could tell her morning had been a lot like mine. "It's not that I don't love being around my children..." she began, and I knew exactly what she meant. Somebody always needs something, whether it's a snack or a hug or praise for a scribbled drawing or help finding the scotch tape or an answer to a math question, and it's not as though we aren't willing to give these things but sometimes you so badly want an uninterrupted hour so badly you could just curl up in a ball and cry.

We went to the concert and had a fabulous time. The opening orchestral number was nice, Sarah Chang was stunning, and the final piece, a symphony by Carl Nielsson, was incredible. I was actually on the edge of my seat, it was that good. R felt the same way.

Then I came home and spent two hours cooking dinner, feeling guilty for having left my family for most of the day (Stuart ran the kids for a good part of the morning so I could work, then the whole afternoon while I was at the concert, so he deserves a lot of credit here.) There was a huge mess to clean up afterwards and when I saw their dirty clothes on the floor, a pile of books in the middle of the living room and their rooms in no better state than the beginning of the weekend, I just about lost it again. This is why moms have the reputation of being nags, I said, because nobody else seems to care if we live in squalor.

I shouldn't have said it. I know I hurt feelings, and I feel bad about it. I guess if I'm going to do something with my time other than the housewife stuff, I should just learn to lower my standards, what?


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