Yesterday was a daycare day for Riley (he’s still going part-time, which is nice because it doesn’t completely screw up his usual routine, he gets a couple days a week of fun activities and socialization [as opposed to home life, which involves plenty of loving ministrations but let's be honest, a complete absence of glitter glue and probably an overabundance of brain-rotting television], and it gives me some space to focus on the baby without drowning in guilt over the fact that I can’t give Riley all of my attention any more or even 50% of it) and all morning long I felt like I was getting my sea legs with this newborn business. I whipped through a bunch of chores with Dylan in the front carrier, then he took a catnap in his bouncy seat while I caught up on writing tasks and whatnot and I even managed to brush my teeth.
Then it was afternoon, the long dark tea-time of the stay-at-home-mom soul, and I felt like all I did was feed the baby, feed the baby, feed the baby, hey what am I doing at any given moment FEEDING THE BABY, and I’ll say this about bottle feeding, there is pretty much no way to free up one hand because one arm has the baby and one hand has the bottle and so which hand can bring the Diet Coke to the bottle-wielder’s mouth? WHICH?
I got bored of sitting and staring off into space while feeding Dylan so I flipped on the TV and watched a TiVo’d Intervention, and that left me feeling weird and filled with bad memories and basically sinking into a mire of woe, so I changed the channel to MTV Cribs and then I was just filled with hate for C-list rap stars and their tacky-ass houses and their stupid Godfather DVD collections. Plus, self-disgust for watching television during the middle of the damn day.
Eventually JB brought Riley home and when I came to the door with Dylan once again in the front carrier (I get sick of wearing it so much but it’s like an instant fusskill, as long as I keep moving) Riley took one look at me and wouldn’t give me a hug, wouldn’t even acknowledge me and in fact pushed me away and whined for his dad until I finally peeled off the carrier and stashed the baby elsewhere.
We did our evening routine of a harried dinner and playtime in the family room and Riley getting progressively more cranky and pre-emptively announcing that there is NO NIGHT NIGHT RIGHT NOW (a sure sign that bedtime has in fact become medically necessary to all involved parties) and we put him to bed accompanied by his usual screaming protests followed almost immediately by a full-body coma and since the baby had just been fed JB buckled him into the swing and left for the garage to do Man Things and I was going to have, like, twenty whole minutes to do some yoga or something and right about then Dylan barfed a geyser of pure horror all over himself, the fabric swing seat, and several inches of carpet.
I took him into the bathroom and gave him a quasi-bath and called JB back in to help me clean up the swing and the carpet and then of course Dylan was starving because hello, no more stomach contents, and I fed him for about the eleventy millionth time and it was around 9 PM and JB asked if I wanted to watch Survivor and I said you know what, I’m going to bed.
I went and took a bath and startled myself by sobbing sort of hysterically for a few minutes and finding myself thinking, I’m angry. I’m angry that there is so much drudgery to life right now, I’m angry that I can’t seem to consistently enjoy motherhood at the moment, I’m angry that my attention is constantly pulled away from Riley, I’m angry that JB gets to escape to work every day and I don’t, I’m angry that I spend so much time cleaning and picking up and cooking only to have to do it all over again the next day, I’m angry that I have to get up two or three times a night and it feels like that’s never going to end even though I know for a fact that it will, I’m angry that I have these selfish moments of despondence over the things I don’t have time to do, I’m angry with my body for being such a mess, I’m angry that I sometimes feel like such a shitty mom and a complete and utter failure at this whole parenthood thing, and I’m angry for feeling sorry for myself when my kids are healthy and our life is so good.
Then I blew my nose and crawled into bed and I read more pages of my book than I have in weeks and then I fell asleep with the luxurious knowledge that no one was going to wake me up in the next five minutes and by the time morning came I felt about a thousand times better. And this morning while I was holding Dylan and doing this thing where I gently bop my nose against his he smiled at me, big enough to pooch out his squirrel cheeks and show off his dimple, and even though he ripped a painful-sounding fart immediately afterwards which proves the old smile = gas adage it made me feel sort of punch-drunk with love and filled with excitement and wistfulness for the months ahead.
Things can feel so slow, the minutes crawl and linger and I wish them away one by one, only to think, wait! Oh god, I didn’t mean it! Come back, because it’s also going so fast.
Well. I have no pithy ending to this post. I have no idea how to wrap this up so it’s some kind of Meaningful Parenting Essay. I don’t want to clarify anything with declarations about how it may be hard but it’s so worth it, because I get sick of hearing that shit and I get tired of having to say it, too. The truth is so much more complicated than can be summed up in a bumper-sticker sentiment. And those of you who get it, you don’t need me to explain it.