I’ve had a lot of feedback lately about time. My time, in particular. Things like, “what are you doing calling me during the day? I’m working!” or “What, do you sit in front of your computer all day?” or “how do you find time to write a freaking blog?” Things like that. It would seem to most people that I have a lot of free time. Which is absolutely HILARIOUS. It is akin to the old assumption that stay-at-home mothers sit around all day eating bon bons (what the hell ever happened to bon bons?) and watching soap operas. (I’ve got to say that I totally should have done more of that before I had kids. Because that is not fucking happening over here now—it takes me an hour to finish my coffee.) It used to be a pet peeve of mine, all of the assumptions and judgments made about parenting and things associated with it. I feel a little less violent toward those people now, probably because I am medicated (due to parenting), but either way, I very rarely want to kick anyone in the ding ding any more. I guess that is a good thing.
I do have a lot of free time. If you add it all up. Not that the time actually belongs to me anymore or anything. I think it is important to give you an idea of how my time “rolls” if you will. For example, I will sit down to write a post and I will type, say, two lines. Then I get up to find out why Luca is crying, comfort him, come back and type one sentence, Luca crawls up on my lap and I type while he tries to pull my shirt up and stick his finger in my belly button. He thinks it is hilarious, so I humor him for six seconds and then tell him to quit it. No, really. Then Rowan comes in and says that he wants to get on my lap too so I put Luca on one leg, Rowan on the other and type 3 words while also answering the question, “how can a dog talk?” I convince the children to get off my lap by saying, “What is that? Is that a T-Rex coming? YOU BETTER RUUUUUUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and they hop off my lap and run away. I turn to the computer and type in a few sentences until Rowan comes in and asks me for some milk. I get up and get his milk and on the way see that I forgot to put the wash in the dryer two days ago so I quickly do that and while I am in the middle of doing that Luca falls while running from a “comet” and I go see if he is alright. On the way back to the laundry I glance at the computer and see that someone has e-mailed me so I quickly check to see if it is anyone I like. While I am looking at the e-mail I think of another thing I want to type so I flip to that window, type it, and when I am almost done, Luca comes in and tells me he has to go pee-pee in the potty. So, we run to that bathroom and do that, I put a clean diaper on him ONLY after chasing him around the house until I catch him, go back to the laundry and keep transferring that to the dryer. Done with that, I go back to the e-mail so I can respond. I respond to the e-mail, and as I hit send, I remember that I have to feed the kids. I make a quick lunch for them and once they start eating I load the dishwasher. I put one cup in and Luca starts to cry because his noodle fell on the floor. I pick up the noodle and he asks me to feed him. So, I scoop one bite in his mouth and then load a plate, another bite, load two cups….another bite, then I think of something else I want to write so I head to the computer and on the way notice that Luca’s milk cup has spilled a little on the floor so I head back to the kitchen, grab a towel, put a bite in Luca’s mouth, clean up the spill and then . . . I check Facebook, and just as I do, Rowan says something like, “Mama? Where is your vagina?” and voila! I have a status.
Later, after I take the laundry out of the dryer, I will smell it and remember that it sat in the washer for two days, and I start that all over again.
That is the kind of time I have, beyotch.
I tend to bathe in the gray area of most things (as I pointed out in my first blog post), so I like to sit back and observe the righteousness that a lot of moms give off, as a very interesting social experiment. (Okay, and every once in a while I get really, really, really pissed. But for the most part, I just find the whole thing fascinating.) And I have an enormous amount to say about motherhood. The first thing is that I have learned that most people feel about their decisions within the family as they feel about their politics and/or religion. There is surprisingly little grey area to work with. I see now that women who make decisions to breastfeed (for example) feel as if they need to guard and defend that choice, likewise women who either choose not to breastfeed or can’t breastfeed. (For me, I just felt lucky that my body worked in that way, since the actual birth process went to shit in a shit-basket . . .)
I understand now that early motherhood is the most vulnerable time for a woman. Everything seems so tenuous—even things that seemed so settled before children. Old friends fade quickly into the background, you are confined (or feel confined) to home for weeks and weeks, you get maybe 1.2 hours of sleep a night for months on end, you feel your marriage changing, you never feel sure that the decisions you are making are the right ones, your body feels as if someone popped a giant fucking balloon and you are the end result . . . And on top of all of that, you are utterly alone in it all. In this most vulnerable state you enter into the world of “other mothers,” who, unbeknownst to you, are feeling mostly the same way. But the really terrifying thing to me in all of this is that NO ONE wants to tell each other the truth about this. I once said to my mother something like, “How is it possible that people have continued to procreate for hundreds of thousands of years?! Didn’t anyone tell them how much it SUCKS?” (I was having a rough day.) My Mom, bless her heart, sighed and said, “Oh, honey! But your kids are so sweet!” She was missing the point—I wasn’t talking about my kids specifically, I was speaking in general. I don’t give a shit how cute kids are or even if they are mine; being a mother has been like taking every aspect of my life and sticking it into a giant machine of suck. I went through such a difficult time the first few months with Rowan, and after Luca, I struggled for the whole first year. “Who was I before kids, who am I now? How do they fit together? Who do I present to the newer people in my life? What can I share, what should I withhold? Can I be vulnerable around strangers? Can I ask for help? Do I take that advice? Why is my kid’s poop green?” And then, added to that was the judgment from others (spoken and unspoken), the days that passed without a word spoken to another adult for hours at a time, and the fact that no one was telling the fucking truth.
Now, though, I see the glory in being a mother. I’m more patient with the righteous for the most part—well, as long as they actually have (or at one time had) children, and I am able to step back and observe without judgment and without wanting to move to an island in a remote part of Shutthefuckupa. I see a new mother and know to be gentle, loving, and supportive. My relationships with friends that don’t have kids has improved since I realized that they actually don’t think that my kid’s poop shooting across the room and hitting the wall is awesome, so I leave that out. I relish the women who have entered this new life of mine and hold them as close as I can without freaking them out. And I look at my children and think, oh yes, this is the best thing I will ever do in my life.