Day 1 of the Hostage Situation

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July 1st.

I am writing this from my kitchen table. The dog is barking. The kid is sticking his head in a box of sand on the floor. I have afternoon nausea. It’s fucking hot. And I’m regretting this whole “let’s save money and not have me drive 1.5 hours a day to get kid to daycare and back everyday. It’ll be fun,” I said. Besides, now with a new baby on the way, we gotta save money for the crazy expensive daycare. And six months of me not working. But I digress.

School ended for me two weeks ago, but with some work from home, and a meeting to go to, I’ve been shlepping Potamus to daycare four days a week. Which has left me time for myself, even if it’s just a haircut, or lunch with my sister-in-law, and some time to write. I’m in a manuscript writing class, so trying to get my words on paper is best while listening to a podcast, instead of listening to a 3 year old declare “look at me mommy, look at me,” as he climbs onto the windowsill.

But it’s now summer break. Day 1. Normally we have Fridays off together, so I figured this would be fine. We’d sleep in. Dink around. Get groceries. Watch a show. Play some games.

Instead it was watching shows and whining. So much whining. Our easygoing grocery shopping took 1.5 hours thanks to a question about every damn thing I put into the cart. And asking why I didn’t put other things into the cart. Seriously. “But why mommmy?” “Because I don’t need soap.” “But why?” “Because we already have enough soap.” “BUT WHY MOMMY?”

The highlight of the day so far was getting my kid to eat foods he normally doesn’t eat for me. English muffin pizza and cherries. It felt like a dissertation victory, which then makes me feel like a fucking idiot who has already lost her standard for self congratulations. Yay my kid ate 8 cherries. Big fucking deal. Last year I managed to teach a heroin addict.

Oh comparisons. My work self. My mom self. My self who wants to just watch the Kardashians uninterupted.

The pregnancy hormones are insane this go-round, and “keeping it together,” looks like sobbing. And yelling.

Why did I want another baby anyway?

My “saving grace,” is going to exhaust me even more I’m afraid. I signed up to counsel from 8-6 on Thursdays through the first week of September. I’m excited because the money, paired with the money saved from daycare, is going to be about five thousand dollars. Not something to scoff at. But working 10 hours in one day counseling students isn’t exactly a break in the way I like breaks…ya know?

I know I’ll get in the groove. Already this afternoon I’ve enjoyed some time weeding the backyard, and reading some stories while he sits on my lap. I am sad for these moments already as I experience them, for this time next year, there will be two grasping at me for everything.

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Resistance is Futile…

The waves are coming. Don't try to fight them.

The waves are coming. Don’t try to fight them.

I can recall a hot day, sipping chai with my favorite Ukranian (link, in case you read Russian) in Delhi. We called ourselves “The Revolutionaries,” and were discussing the difficulties of ‘thinking a lot,’ that is, being interested in philosophy, religion, history and politics…the basics of  our ideas around trying to save the world, or at least, trying to impact our small little corner. I remember her saying, “life is difficult,” and being impressed (or baffled?) by those we saw around us who just…lived without seeming to analyze everything to death. These people seemed happy with their lot in life, though, of course, I’m leaving room for that to be an illusion, too.

I’ve noticed, lately, that the straining and analyzing I do is actually causing suffering in my life. Now I’m not advocating becoming a doormat, but I have realized that it’s taken a good 6 weeks for me to really find rhythm with this whole…play-at-home-mom-summertime gig. There’s been nights of “FUCK YOU” to Boof, where I text in anger, or grump when I have to get up YET AGAIN TO BREASTFEED, and the long, hot days where all I focus on is making my kid another damn meal.

There’s something about the straining for something to be different. The resistance to what simply is, without labeling or judging it as good or bad. When I’m sitting at home with my kid watching another episode of Jake & the Neverland Pirates, why do I strain and grouse and grump about what society thinks about stay at home moms? Why do I feel like I have to have ALL THE IDENTITIES happening at one time? Because, when I surrender to what is, this moment of being at home or this moment without Boof around, or this moment of being hot outside by the “pool” (aka a bucket of water), I am actually so much happier.

There’s been several moments this week where I’ve felt this contentment. Content is something that I really strive for, and can tell that people around me are possibly perplexed by it. I think I can read a tone of…apprehension when Boof texts, expecting me to be pissed that he’s not home NOW. I’m sure my bitchy resistance mood will return, but for now I’m just going with the flow…not fighting what is. Not trying to judge what this moment is compared to moments that could be.

Summertime SAHM

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I tried to cheer myself up today by taking a walk around the neighborhood. We got half a mile before it started to sprinkle and we headed back inside. Rather than use the stroller, which Potamus rejects most often (and when he DOES ride in it, he often falls asleep and we’re not wanting that too early!). Instead, we did a little bout of toddler-wearing, which stopped a car with some lovely ladies who wanted to chat and admire my child and a-hole dog. I guess the site of a 6’1 mama carrying a large toddler is more reserved for the pages of National Geographic, but at any rate ,the walk was to get my mind off the day’s activities.

Because, today was the last day of class. My students did their final presentations and we had some yummy food and handed out certificates. It was lovely and just right, and then, when everyone left, my boss told me that the funding for the summer program isn’t happening, and so I don’t get to teach the 2 days a week that I had been asked to, a few weeks ago.

I’m super bummed.

Teaching two days a week would have been the perfect opportunity to get out of the house, keep working, and have Potamus keep a daycare routine…and one that’s not too out of my way, since I’d already be commuting that distance to work. Not having a job means $5,000 less over the summer and no real need to keep him in daycare, except my desire for him to have routine and for me to not be at home every-single-day with him.

So, my options are to spend the $ and keep him in daycare and spend those 2 days a week doing random non-mom things, or doing housework or whatever. Or send him to daycare and try to get another super part-time job. Or… be a full-time summertime stay-at-home-mom.

What’s hard about this decision, and one I’m not making overnight (because, fingers crossed the funding might get approved and I’d be able to teach the class…or find another on-campus class to teach), is that I had been excited about being a full time summertime stay at home mom (though I did still want him to go to daycare) . And then I was offered the job and realized that that was what I really wanted to do. So to have that taken away from me…I had gotten my hopes up and disappointment isn’t something I really like to deal with. And not just disappointment, but the though to of having to re-identify myself internally during the summer months to embrace a full-time with toddler routine.

Sigh.

The walk was lovely, though. I know it’s not the worst case scenario, but it was still pretty bum-tastic.

 

How do you deal with disappointment? How do you deal with changing roles or identities in parenting?

A Regular Zoo around here…

We got the nicknames Boof and Monk-Monk while on a trip to California a few years ago. Boof’s cousin’s son had these adorable little blankets with animal heads on them, an elephant and a monkey (you can guess which one Monk-Monk was, ha!). We thought they were cute and so we playfully started calling each other Boof and Monk-Monk.

We were a family of two, an elephant and a monkey (plus our real life doggy), and then we had Baby Boof, which we have begun affectionately calling Potamus (short for hippopotamus). We make quite a little jungle family, an elephant, a monkey, a hippo and a real life dog. I’m even thinking I need one of those window decals that are so popular, but instead of stick people, we need cute little jungle animals…

So in a turn of events, Boof has had the opportunity to stay home with our little tribe for the past week.I realize now how hard it must be for a single mom to raise a family, as it is nice to have adult company around the house (even if it is wating him play video games) and to have the ability to hand the Potamus off to someone when I want to pee or shower or put mascara on. I’ve noticed that my mood has increased dramatically with the additional help around the house during the day (and the sunshine that we are having currently), but then I have moments of sheer boredom and restlessness where the house feels like it is not quite big enough for a monkey, elephant hippo and real-life dog to co-exist peacefully. Perhaps it’s cabin fever, so I’ve gotten outside on a walk the past few days, but sometimes I feel like I’m living in a zoo!