After School Special

I have always said that working part-time was the best of both worlds.  I got to have my career and contribute financially to my family, and I got to spend time with my kids as a stay-home mom three days per week.  But since the car accidentn in 2011 made it impossible for me to work, I have become a full-time stay-home mom.  Of course, I don’t have any stay-home kids this year.  Even the youngest is in full-day preschool four days per week.

I’ve heard other stay-home moms say that the best part of the day is when their kids arrive home at the end of the day.  Either those women are lying through their teeth or else their kids are nothing like mine.

Let me give an example of a typical after-school assault at my house.

Child #Two hurtles through the door at precisely 3:36 and informs me that Child #Three is crying in the driveway.

“Why is he crying?”  I ask.  Foolish question, I know.

“He’s mad because I ran ahead of him.”

I feel one eyebrow go up.  “You ran?”


“You ran?”  He’s lying.   He hasn’t run since early 2008.

“I . . . had to pee.”

The boy hasn’t urinated indoors since he discovered the joys of peeing in the yard.  I feel my other eyebrow climbing as high as the first one.

At this point, Child #One dances through the door and also reports that her youngest brother is still crying in the driveway.  “He’s going to get kidnapped or run over or something, Mom.   You have to get him.”  I can see him through the window, throwing pine cones for the dog.  No sign of rampaging kidnappers or out of control vehicles in the driveway.

By this point, Two has shoved my dinner preparation materials out of the way and is microwaving an enormous plate of last night’s  leftovers.

“I’m making supper!”  I protest.

“But I’m starving.  I’m a growing boy.”

“Do we have any salad?”  One asks.  “Don’t we ever have anything healthy to eat in this house?”

“I’m hungry,” the youngest announces, having given up on the pine cones and joined us inside.


“Am not!”

“No vegetables at all, Mother?  We are so unhealthy.  When I grow up and get an apartment with my bestie, we are going to have fresh, healthy stuff around all the time.”

“I want string cheese.”

“Too bad—I just ate the last one!  Ha!”


And then the starving horde is gone, moving on to the living room to fight over TV shows.    I can hear indignant squeals and howls as the youngest tries to steal the remote from his siblings who are determined to watch a zombie movie.  Which will give him nightmares so severe that he ends up sleeping between The Big Guy and me for the next week.

My blood runs cold with the realization that they will descend upon my kitchen again in about an hour for supper, and again sometime between supper and bedtime.

Author: A.J. Goode

I am a romance novelist, single mother of three, and a high school lunchlady. To be completely honest, I have no idea which of those jobs is the most rewarding and which is the biggest challenge. I love them all. I write romance novels about the kind of people who might pass me on the street every day. My characters are often hurting in some way, and need to learn to trust others in order to heal themselves. I also blog about trying to focus on writing, and about my day-to-day experiences in small-town America. I write about life. The good, the bad, and the just plain odd.

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