I wear many hats as a stay at home mom. Most of them I anticipated when I took the job: cook, nurse, laundress, disciplinarian, entertainer. But some other chores have fallen into my lap by virtue of the fact that I stay home all day and my husband does not. For instance, I routinely patrol our large front and back yard, blue waste bags in hand, picking up our dog’s poops. Not a job I relish but neither do I want my children to step in said poop while playing and have it fall to me to clean their shoes. I mean really, cleaning poop off shoes? Does it get any worse than that? The answer, as most SAHMs know is yes, it can always get worse. Read on.
Today, I was doing my usual recon work around the the backyard with Katie in tow when I looked down and saw a dead mouse. A teeny, tiny dead brown mouse with its four little paws up in the air and bloody, empty sockets where its eyes had been. Now, while I have no issues killing spiders or baiting worms on hooks or even eating a plate full of organ meat that most people wouldn’t feed their pets, I DO NOT DO RODENTS. Let me say that again, I DO NOT DO RODENTS. My immediate reaction was to scream like a little girl. Like a scared, terrified, I-am-going-to-pee-in-my-pants little girl. Katie, curious at this rapid turn of events, came to see what the fuss was about and also proceeded to scream like a little girl. Which is appropriate, because, you know, she is one. I, however, had no such excuse.
Our screams died down and I realized we had an audience. Two of our lawn care workers were in the backyard for our scheduled lawn aeration. I quickly gathered my wits and explained to them as calmly as I could that I had just seen a DEAD MOUSE!! Ok, so my voice broke a little at the end but really, it was all I could do not to run away, lock up all the doors in our house, and dive under my covers.
I showed the lawn guys around the yard and then, had to do some serious soul searching. What the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks was I going to do about this mouse? Chris was out of town and not due to be home for another 26 hours. It figured he would be hundreds of miles away in a time of crisis!!!! Should I do nothing and leave it for Chris to dispose of when he got back? If I did, I risked our dog Ellie finding it and deciding it would make an excellent chew toy. Or, the lawn guys running over it with their aeration machine, chopping it up into a million tiny pieces, and strewing dead mouse parts over our backyard. Should I ask the lawn guys to help a girl out and get rid of it for me? I may just be a stay at home mom picking up dog feces on my time off but really, even I have my pride. None of the scenarios seemed appealing.
I could “put on my big girl panties” as my lovely mother-in-law is fond of saying and get rid of the mouse myself. I don’t know if my words can adequately convey to you, dear reader, what a momentous decision this was for me. It was time to show Katie that her mommy can handle whatever situation came our way. I grabbed a shovel from our garage, marched with firmness of conviction to the backyard, and proceeded to scoop the little varmint into the shovel. It was already stiff with rigor mortis and was surprisingly difficult to get it onto the shovel. I might have let out some high-pitched little yelps during this phase of the operation (did I mention IT HAD NO EYES!!) but otherwise, I remained strong. After several botched attempts, I got it onto the shovel, quickly walked it to the woods behind our back yard, and flung it out as far as I could. Katie let out a triumphant, “HOORAY MOMMY!” and with my heart pounding in rapid staccato beats, I let out a big smile. The lawn guys saw me go back into the garage with my empty shovel in hand and gave me a knowing nod of approval. And while I was proud of myself for my small but significant victory, all I could think was, “I don’t get paid enough for this shit.”