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.