Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Entropy & The Mom Valve

On a grand scale, there are three laws of Thermodynamics. The First Law of Thermodynamics states that matter can neither be created nor destroyed. The Second Law of Thermodynamics is dependent upon the first law and states that, in a closed system, "all things tend toward disorder." For the purposes of this particular rant, the author will be focusing on the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The First & Third Law will be addressed another day.

Okay, all things tend toward disorder. (GREAT! NO FREAKIN' KIDDING! TELL ME ALL ABOUT IT, I HAVE TWO KIDS, ONE DOG, AND A HUBBY.) So while the quantity of energy and/or matter may remain the same, the quality of matter will degrade over time. Translated, this means that the amount of useful energy or matter degrades into useless energy or matter. This explains why I feel so tired at the end of the day!

How does useful energy/matter become useless? It is used towards productivity, growth, and repair. It may also be used in food preparation, dirty laundry, and picking up everyone else's stuff. Thus energy is converted into useless energy and cannot be reconstituted into useable energy again. It should come as no surprise that as the amount of useful, quality energy decreases, the amount of chaos rises correspondingly. DUH!

Let me sum up....it took Nicolas Leonard Sadi Carnot, a French physicist and military engineer, until the 1800's to formally publish this as a scientific principal? IF anyone had bothered to listen, (which clearly they didn't) they would have been able to learn that from your basic, run-of-the-mill housewife and mother. I have had it up to HERE with Entropy. As far as I can tell, I am the one thing that stands between the closed system of my household and absolute chaos. Behold the mom valve!!!

Today, I was informed that I am not a planner. My feelings were hurt (while at the same time part of me saw a glimmer of truth). Just because no one can see my plan doesn't mean that one doesn't exist. My plan just gets inundated and overwhelmed by three meals a day, lunches, herding two beautiful kids to and from school, to and from sporting events, laundry, ironing, exercising, and so on. By the end of the day, I can say that I've been busy. Sadly, I have very little to actually 'show' for what I have done. As far as I can tell, all of my energy is converted from quality energy to useless energy undoing entropy (mostly matter) for myself and at least three other people. Who has time to execute a plan? Just give me a template and let me follow it for Pete's sake!!! (sorry Pete whoever you are)

Furthermore, as far as I can tell, all of this spinning my wheels only keeps the entropy at bay. I am merely a hamster on a wheel, running in circles. It takes me all day to reconvert the postproductive energy and matter for this beloved family. One might say that I am the aperature of the otherwise closed system. At the end of the day, my strength is sapped and I feel just a wee bit ill tempered! To top it off, entropy is showing itself in more and more places, like on the back of my legs and my backside. Maybe I should postulate the Second Law of Momtropy....Keep your entropy to yourself.

Certainly, there are mothers and wives who are planners and administrators. I've seen them and I can attest to their ruthless efficiency. These are women whom I greatly admire and of whom I am slightly afraid. They have the ability to label, categorize, and organize not only their home, but mine as well. They write books on "Organization for Dummies" and launch websites like www.geturpoopinagroup.com. When I am invited to their home, I sit in awe of the ease with which they walk, chew gum, pat their head, and rub their tummy at all the same time. I run into them in the grocery store and they have their computerized grocery lists and menus and coupons with them.

What I can't decide is, is it just me? Am I the only one who sees the futility of keeping a perfect house? Does anyone else have a dirty laundry pile the height of Mt. Everest? Where is the fun in that?

I want my kids to grow up feeling loved and safe; confident in who they are and in their value. Is my inability to control chaos going to result in a failure of this fundamental goal? When I die, I hope my family will find something better than, "She kept her house clean" to engrave upon my headstone! I hope the inscription will read, "She made me laugh!" or something pithy like that.

You may ask yourself, why is the author sitting down at the computer typing away? I think it is because I feel as though words matter. The words I say to my family, the words I put in writing will endure long after my clean house gets dirty again. Writing essays allows me to create something new. I feel like I am adding energy and matter to my universe. It helps me chase away the despair at all the entropy I see around me. It helps me to reduce the level of personal chaos that I experience on a daily basis. Writing prevents me from running naked down the road, screaming TOHECKWITHYOURENTROPY! at the top of my lungs.

While the scientist in me is impressed with Sadi Carnot's ability to 'discover' and describe thermodynamic principles, it might have been better to have left the genie in the bottle. The mother in me really, REALLY doesn't want to know how useless all of my cleaning efforts are.

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