It’s been nearly a year since I went from employed, Wisconsin mom to stay-at-home sub-tropic mom, and I guess that thought alone can be summed up in one concise and happy line from a most beloved classic, Waiting, that I am “Slowly slipping into senility”. See, even that first sentence is a borderline run-on, bursty with things to say to anyone with adult ears who will listen.
I had a glimpse (a long glimpse) yesterday of my future where a fellow SAHM (sorry, I know. I know.) prattled on and on for ages in some form of crazed, sleepless, caffeinated dialect I couldn’t translate. I should probably add that I’ve never spoken to this woman before. I don’t know her name. I don’t know her kids’ names, what they look like, what their ages are, if they even go to the same school as my kid. I mean, I hope so seeing she was at my kid’s school, but hell, you weren’t there so don’t jump to any rash conclusions. This poor soul glommed onto me so hard with a bunch of nonsense I couldn’t hope to comprehend and English happens to be both of our first languages. I wish I could have told you I exchanged phone numbers with her and offered to be her best friend, but I am not that friendly (sober) nor that crazy (yet), and instead I continued to walk the green mile beside her before pausing to check my phone as she walked, bleary-eyed, the rest of the way to get her child.
I saw this woman yesterday, and though I’ve most likely been her having played the role of sleepless and over-caffeinated for years with my two under two–two boys twenty months apart who didn’t like to sleep at the same time or eat at the same time, but always got sick or hurt at the same time–still, I feared for my future.
I wondered how it was that working two jobs was easier than this? Perhaps I just have the sort of memory recall that stores long term things under the most pleasant of memories? Memories in which I felt like I had a life other than cooking and cleaning and doing homework with kids who’d rather do anything else. How many times can I wash the same load of laundry? How long can it sit before it develops the smell?
Why can’t I just learn how to switch the damn load? Why is this my life now?
And as I contemplate all the things I could be doing and want to be doing, it’s so easy to become overwhelmed. The way the world expects superhero status at all times. All the things that you are supposed to be teaching your kid? If you’ve forgotten, don’t worry, someone will remind you. And if they don’t, your kid will. Oh, I’m supposed to teach them how to whistle? How to snap their fingers? How to do common core math (without looking like an imbecile)? How to calm down? How to be confident? How to not talk to strangers? How to not be shy when I tell them to talk to a stranger? How to make good choices? How sometimes what seems like a bad choice is a good choice? And vice versa? How to not get hurt? How it’s okay to get hurt? How to take risks? How to be safe? How to not make mistakes? How it’s okay to make mistakes?
This is why parents drink. And don’t worry, someone will shame you for that, too.
And what about the footprint you’re leaving? Aren’t you green yet? What are you doing to positively impact the world? Why aren’t you making a difference? Why aren’t you making a change? Is that bottled water? You don’t buy organic? Your kids don’t eat candy? Why doesn’t your kid know how to (insert ridiculous expectation that is dependent solely upon the individuality of the child)?
How does anyone parent? I mean, really. How does anyone get anything done while also being a good parent? I feel so exhausted at the end of the day, and I’m still supposed to exercise, fold all the stupid laundry, take time to read, and write x amount of words. Most of the time I simply fall asleep watching Mulder and Scully pretend that they aren’t falling in love with each other. Sometimes I have nightmares about the Flukeman, and I wake up, in a sweat, terrified of lamprey eels.
This is my life, for now. And if I close my eyes I already know that I’ll be remembering all the hour-long sessions of hide-and-seek, blanket forts, and obstacle courses. I know it. I just hope that when I come out on the other end, someone will still want to be my friend, senility and all. 🙂