A Day in the Life of a Pioneer Mom
Today I was up at four in the morning to start the dough rising and stoke the fire so that we might have the bread baked by the time Pa and the boys got in from milking and feeding the livestock. I fried some salt pork, what little we have left of it from last fall’s hog slaughter, and we had enough fresh milk for the littlest ones, which was such a blessing. I still think sadly of the baby that starved when my milk ran dry and we had no milking cow nor any goats at the time and the nearest neighbor who might have helped was twenty-three long miles across the prairie. I would have done anything to have had something to feed her. She was such a fair little baby.
She is buried by the vegetable garden along with the other three children we’ve lost (four in all): one lost to measles, one lost to scarlet fever, one trampled by a bull, and then the baby that starved. I wish we had something that could prevent these terrible diseases. I try to put the lost children out of my mind, though, and to be thankful for the seven children we have that lived and are able to help out here on the homestead. I don’t know what Pa and I would do without them. I am also thankful that I’ve lived to the old age of thirty-four so I could see my firstgrandchild born this past year. Three of my sisters have already passed: typhoid, tuberculosis and childbirth, sadly. I feel very lucky.
Pa jokes with me that for an old gal, I still look chipper. I’ve never gone a day without my corset (often even to bed) and my sunbonnet to keep my skin as pale as a linen sheet. I try to rub tallow on my hands at night when I can to help the bleeding cracks on my palms.
This morning we hoed the garden and sowed a new row of potatoes. After that I set the littlest girls to churning the butter, while the older girls helped me make headcheese. We made six pies, five loaves of bread, a pan of crackers and a pot of hominy, so we should be well fed. Thank the Good Lord in Heaven. Food can be so scarce this time of year.
Pa had to whip all of the boys because he caught them throwing stones when they should’ve been plowing the oat field. We have no time for fooling. A good whipping should teach them right, I daresay.
Later in the day I allowed the littlest girls to play with some sticks and corn cobs on a stump near the clearing, but I warned them to watch out for panthers in the trees above. Luckily the older girls were nearby doing the wash in the stream. While they did the laundry, I boiled some ashes that I’d been collecting from the cookstove and hearth into lye to make soap and I carried six buckets of water up to the cabin from the well.
Pa has been talking about next week possibly making the long journey into town (25 miles) to trade some pelts so that I might be able to purchase some new calico. The children are growing quickly and I haven’t had a new dress for myself in three years. I would also be pleased for him to stop by the post office and see if there is a letter from my sister back East. I miss her so and look forward to our yearly letter exchange. I’ll have to make myself some ink from pokeberries and set to writing her immediately.
Last night Pa shot a bear that was poking around near the chicken coop and we were ecstatic. It had so much meat and we can use the fur to make winter coats or perhaps a new blanket. It was such a gift from God. I roasted some for dinner and the boys ate well after a long day in the fields.
After dinner we will read scripture by lamplight and go to bed. Tomorrow I must iron, complete the hats I started sewing yesterday, mend socks, bake bread for the weekend, change the straw and feathers in the mattresses and sweep the dirt floor of our house, so it really won’t be such a busy day at all. Perhaps when I finish I will be able to sit and have a cup of warm water. I’m saving the last scrapings of tea leaves in case we ever get company, which is quite unlikely, but one never knows. I can hope.
A Day in the Life of a Modern Mom
I’m so annoyed, like seriously. I can’t even. I have had the worst day. I need a Xanax. I don’t even know where to start.
This morning when I got up, Ava and Jake totally refused to do anything I asked and I tried to tell them we were going to be late for preschool drop-off, which would then mean that I would be late for yoga – okay, not late, but too late to get my favorite spot right in front of the mirror next to the teacher. Jake wouldn’t put on his shoes, and Ava gagged on the green juice I made her, which really upset me because do you even understand what a lug the juicer is to drag out of the cabinet, not to mention how much I freaking hate cleaning the thing? Neither one of them would take their Omega-3 chewables OR their probiotic drinks, either. It. Was. Nightmarish. On top of that, I can’t even believe I did this. I FORGOT to charge their iPads overnight so that on the way to school they could watch videos of that family who unboxes toys while I try to use my Headspace app to meditate while I drive. Or listen to Beyonce. The kids were near hysterical that they had no iPads for the drive.
I SO needed yoga. You don’t even understand. But after I got the kids into my Honda Odyssey I saw that they had spilled vegan cheddar bunny crackers all over the floor. Then we got stuck in traffic because I have to pass three Starbucks on the way to the preschool and all of them have a drive-thru line that gets so long that it overflows into the actual road and causes atraffic jam. It is too much, and I really wanted a Venti cold brew with coconut mylk, but today it just was not happening. Of course. On the day I needed coffee the most.
I got the kids dropped off for the day and at yoga there was a sub, and it’s this new teacher who plays too much dubstep and I can’t stand her.
Not only that, I have to tell you. I am really pissed because yesterday we had a playdate all set up with my friend Laurynne and when we get to her house, all three of her kids have runny noses. I was all REALLY, LAURYNNE??? You couldn’t let me know in advance that they were seriously ill and you risked my kids getting exposed? That is not a friend. I’m sorry, but friends don’t do that. You don’t know how cranky Ava gets when her nose is stuffy. It’s miserable for me to deal with her. So. Yeah. Buh-bye, Laurynne. Like I said. NOT A FRIEND.
On top of that, I am extremely worried about vaccines. I had Ava vaccinated because I just did not know better, but now I think I know better, so I’m trying to do better, and I didn’t vaccinate Jake, but I am truly agonizing over this decision. I’m just not convinced that vaccines don’t cause all kinds of horrible diseases and look at poor Ava. Maybe she would be reading by now if it wasn’t for the MMR? I wanted her reading at four so it wouldn’t ruin her chances at the Ivy Leagues.
After yoga I had to go to Whole Foods and there were no parking spots. I almost had a panic attack and I was out of Chromium and Resveratrol, so it was definitely an emergency. Besides that we need more organic orange scented butt wipes and I wanted fresher microgreens, so it wasn’t like I could skip a shopping trip today. And I had to get home in time to let the cleaning lady in! I was almost late.
When I got home, while Yolanda cleaned, I went online and ordered myself a waist trainer. They’re awesome. All the Kardashians use them. They’re the newest thing and they make your waist TEENY. Then I ordered two shirts for $500.00, so I got a good deal, and by then it was time to pick up my birth control prescription at the drive-thru pharmacy and then go get the kids so I could take them to creative movement and imaginative play class, followed by a playdate at the park.
Except, when we got to the park I couldn’t stop worrying about how dangerous it is there. There were bees and mosquitoes (Zika virus!!!!) and a kid could totally fall off a swing and get really hurt. Like skin their knees or something, hurt. Besides that, the slide was hot from the sun. Not cool. The heat actually caused Jake discomfort.
I noticed that my Botox is wearing off and I need to book another appointment, and I am SO PALE, eww. I need to get a spray tan, and I was so fried out by dinner time that I completely slacked and made the kids grilled cheeses. I know. Gluten and casein. I was so ashamed. I wish I had picked up a pack of vegan almond cheese at Whole Foods, but my kids are so picky…
But like I said I was tired, so I gave them a bath, then gave them their iPads while I zoned out with mine and participated in a heated debate in a Facebook comments thread with some bitch in Ohio who thinks it’s okay to give a baby freaking formula. She claimed her milk dried up. I bet she was too lazy to even call a lactation consultant.
Then I facetimed with my friend Julee, and after that I took a cute pic of Ava and Jake with the dog and posted it to my Instagram before they finally went to bed and I could finish my bottle of wine.
Such a long day. Honestly, I don’t even know how I do it. The life of a mother is exhausting.