How an Online Guitar Lesson Gave a Stay-at-Home Mom a Lesson in Gratitude

Kristen Mae
Written by Kristen Mae

The other day, I learned to play my first song on my husband’s guitar. His guitar, as in, the guitar that we bought “him” last Father’s Day.

I learned to play his guitar… while he was at work.

If I were him, I would be super pissed and insanely jealous that he had learned to play my guitar before I even had a chance to try it out. I would quit my job in a fiery rage, start a blog that focuses on some nonsense about being “real” and demand that he get out there and support our family while I fulfill my dream of becoming a “writer.”

But he’s not like that. He listened to my song when he was home on his lunch break and gave me a kiss because he thinks I’m cute.

But this shit ain’t fair, you guys!

Here I am, strumming his guitar in front of a YouTube tutorial, while he busts his ass at work. I do other crap too, like: Playing Little House on the Prairie in my teeny, suburban organic garden, stripping and refinishing furniture that I salvaged from the roadside, playing a little violin and viola here and there (I do have a degree, you know), and keeping our two children alive.

I spend substantial hunks of time cleaning, laundering, cooking, paying bills… and sure, the kids with their ridiculous, incessant need to be taken care of make me want to fling myself out a window sometimes (they’re so needy!)… But I pretty much make my own schedule. No one’s breathing down my neck to finish a task; there are no deadlines, no billion-dollar projects that I could ruin just by daydreaming for a few minutes. Hell, sometimes I feel like all I do is daydream. For Pete’s sake, what do you think writing is?

That’s why I don’t understand all the bitching and moaning that goes on by so many stay-at-home moms. I know mothering can be stressful and mind-numbing sometimes, all the goo-goo ga-ga and stop-annoying-your-brother and all that—the other day I refereed an argument about My Little Pony for God’s sake. Losing your body to pregnancy and breastfeeding, yeah, that sucks. Wiping asses all day long… I’ll be the first to admit there are several million other things I’d rather do than that.

But still, you guys! Once that infant stage passes and you can teach your kid to turn on the TV and find the kid section on Netflix, you can sleep in! Over the summer, when I don’t have to get up at the ass-crack of dawn to get the kids ready for school? Don’t tell my husband because it might make him cry, but sometimes I sleep ‘til nine o’clock! That’s like two in the afternoon in college kid time! Sweet, succulent, undeserved luxury… BVLDYGOOGLDEEBURRRRRRP

…Whoops, sorry, that was me slipping into a state of ecstasy and drooling all over the keyboard.

And kids eventually learn to wipe their own asses. I only had to wipe my son’s ass for five years! See? There’s an end in sight! So quitcher bitchin’!

And what about our dear friends who work AND take care of the house and kids? I don’t freakin’ know how they do it! I worked full time for two years, so I should know how they do it … I remember I was super-stressed and my house was an effing pig-sty… but I don’t have any lucid memories of the logistics the operation, like how groceries got in the fridge or how laundry got clean. I think maybe my mind did one of those post-traumatic memory-blocker thingies so I wouldn’t have to remember it all and be traumatized all over again. Or maybe we just didn’t eat and we wore dirty clothes. That seems more likely.

You know what time my husband got off work last night? Two-thirty in the morning. Yeah. He worked for sixteen hours yesterday. And the night before that he worked until one. While I was sitting on my ass in front of the computer learning to play his guitar.

Guess what the first song was on the tutorial, the song I learned to play.

Bruno Mars, The Lazy Song.

Is the universe trying to make some kind of thinly-veiled accusation here?

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This post first appeared at abandoningpretense.com.

About the author

Kristen Mae

Kristen Mae

Kristen Mae is a novelist, freelancer, classical musician, and artist. Follow her on Abandoning Pretense, and check out her books, Beyond the Break and Red Water, available now at most online booksellers.

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