Learning to have an opinion

I’m not trying to sound pathetic when I say this, but when you are the mother of small children it is so much easier if you have no needs or desires.

Babies can be very sweet, and they can also be ridiculously helpless and demanding.  Any ideas you might have about the purpose of evenings or weekends–or NIGHTS, for that matter–are best left repressed.  Just go with the flow.  If baby is hungry, baby gets fed.  If baby needs a fresh diaper, by gum she gets it.

If you are at the playground and the bathrooms are locked you simply do not need to go to the bathroom.

If you are at the zoo and everyone is happy, then it does not matter that you forgot to eat breakfast.  And lunch.  Or that the only snacks you brought are teething biscuits and boobs.  You just wait until you can pry your child away from the lemurs.  It’s not like you’re going to die.

On the weekend, you dump the baby with the spouse and race to lay in groceries and supplies for the week.  Who knows when you might next escape unchaperoned.  It is so much more bearable to drop a small fortune on pre-landfill when no one is screaming or battling diarrhea in your orbit.

If your infant does not nap or tolerate being set down, any serious business just has to wait for the spouse to return.  And if he happens to be in Japan like mine often was, you’re just fucked.

Around this time, a friend asked me if I had seen the movie Kill Bill.  I laughed maniacally in her face.

“I’m on house arrest,” I explained.

She looked at me quizzically.  “It’s out on dvd now,” she countered.

“I know,” I sighed.  “It’s just that–”  I cut myself short.  How could I explain that even if I did manage to get the kid to sleep without dozing off myself, I was still going to have to get up two or three or five times during the night.  I wasn’t about to squander the opportunity to restore my sanity on 111 minutes of choreographed violence.  Chances are, if something was published, released, sung, built, or exploded between 2003 and 2008 I’ve never heard of it.  You can ask, though, and I’ll do my best not to get huffy.

Now that the girls are six and eight, I am realizing that I have completely forgotten how to figure out what I would actually like to be doing.  Not only is my spouse willing and able to step in, the girls can amuse themselves for an hour or so, yet I can’t decide how to spend my precious sixty minutes.  Occasionally I figure it out at the end of the day, when it’s too late.  Oh, yeah.  It would have felt great to write and exercise, but I spent the whole day playing with the dollhouse and schlepping the kids around town.  If I set clear goals, I could squeeze in dolls and exercise, right?

Lookout world.  I’m thinking about formulating an opinion.

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Published by

Beret Olsen

Writer, photographer, teacher, and part-time insomniac.

8 thoughts on “Learning to have an opinion”

  1. At least we can have friends now right? Even if they are only blog friends because we no longer can afford to get a coke with a real person due to the never-ending snack supply we must provide for our school age kids. 😉

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  2. Brilliant! After having four kids, I cannot think beyond PBS and FaceBook. I get a ‘night off’ and I give myself a panic attack because I can’t think of anything fun to do, so I decide to match socks instead!?! I don’t remember who I once was and I can’t decide what I wanna be when I grow up. “Who are these kids and WHY are they calling me Mother”?

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    1. Thanks! I’m assuming that if you they call you mother, you’ve probably met before, but I understand that feeling. Back when my oldest was teeny tiny, she would occasionally doze off in the car, and I would just drive around, listening to NPR or rap or whatever my kid would normally not tolerate. Sometimes I would forget I had a baby for a second there. I might pull over and read a book for a little while, or let myself have one continuous thought. It was a moment when I was the center of my universe. Over the years, though, I seem to have forgotten how to do this. In the meantime, I am enjoying your blog! Love it.

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  3. Mother of 20 and 18 year old and then a special-needs (of varying degrees and types) 3 year old. Thanks for reminding me that it does get better. I loved this post. Loving on your blog and on your writing tonight, within my 60 minute interval afforded me as the husband puts 3 year old to bed.

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