Heretofore, a “good” day started with me being awake long before Huggy Bear. It’s a real bitch to wrestle with two Labrador Retrievers who desperately need to relieve themselves AND a wailing baby before coffee.
By the way, when I adamantly proclaimed “There is no amount of sacrifice I’m not willing to make if I can stay home with the baby.” I didn’t really think through the shitty coffee I’d be forced to consume for budgetary reasons.. .or apparently a few other key concepts.
I’m typically awake before Mac most of the time. I’ve come to label these as “good days.” It’s quiet. I can get my thoughts in order. The bed gets made. The dogs get fed timely. My teeth get brushed and copious amounts of borderline-disgusting coffee are consumed.
Yes, I’ve tried adding cinnamon.
Sometimes, I even have time to do a little bit of my workout DVD. This basically involves me lying on the basement floor like a slug staring at two perky, freakishly flexible women doing a variety of yoga poses. Namaste, bitches.
The other days? Those I consider the “bad” ones, when I awake late to Mac’s urgent wailing, I’m left feeling like I’m rushing the entire day. Typically I have nowhere to be, no real agenda, but I still feel harried, annoyed, unsettled.
Why? Why should I feel so put out that my adorable little butterball is awake before me? Shouldn’t I be thrilled that he’s healthy and awake? Shouldn’t I relish his sweet smile when stand before his crib? Shouldn’t I marvel and his squirmy, chubby stout legs becoming more and more coordinated by the day?
Why do I feel bitter? Why does his getting awake at a particular time dictate how the rest of my day might go? What the hell is wrong with me? I have a beautiful, healthy little boy, a remarkable husband and presumably not a care in the world. What is my major malfunction that I feel cheated if I don’t get the bed made or the dishwasher unloaded or my coffee in PEACE and QUIET every morning?
I’ve done some meditating on this. And by meditation I mean I’ve bitched a lot to my own Mother about how I never have a moment that is truly my own any longer. She, single parent of three, must wonder how she raised such a selfish idiot. She mentions that pretty soon I won’t be able to use the bathroom in peace either. “Just wait” she keeps saying.
WAIT FOR WHAT?! Wait for him to start dismounting from the crib, crawling into my bed? Wait for him to finger paint with spaghetti sauce the minute my back is turned? Wait for WHAT?! Jesus, what’s next?! My coping skills are going to have to improve.
Or perhaps my priorities need adjusted?
I come from the self-centered world of finance. I’ve spent the past 11 years working in risk management at a big full service brokerage firm. A premium was placed on time management, cost control, attention to detail, efficiency, ego. None of these things seem to translate well to new-motherhood.
Does it really matter when or if the bed gets made? Does it really matter if the house is only vacuumed twice a week? Should it matter to me if I have any quiet time right now? If I’m worried about making beds, or vacuuming, or sitting around reading my Twitter feed (while I’m supposed to be doing yoga), then I’m not focused on my Son.
Being fully focused on my Son, being fully present for him should be my top priority. I didn’t quit my job so I could run a household with military precision or corporate efficiency. I didn’t quit my job specifically so I could sit around alone for an hour every morning selfishly drinking shitty coffee.
I quit my job so I could focus on my Son. So that I could give him the best up-bringing I was capable of providing him. So I could be present.
Soon, he’s going to be racing off to kindergarten, to play dates, to sports practice. He won’t need me as much. He won’t want to play with me and old Nandy Bear. He will be hurling himself ever closer to the “real world” I just left. A world that demands that if you aren’t producing, you be selfishly consuming. And when he finally gets there, he should always remember his Mom tried her hardest to be present. . .Even if his socks weren’t always perfectly matched. . .