Before I was a mother, I was a babysitter. A nanny. For years I had parents telling me that when it was my turn I’d be a great mom. Well, here I am: I’m a mom.
And yes, the nanny business did prepare me for a lot of things. My baby was (and is) generally treated like a fourth child. You know how they say you sterilize everything for the first child and with each subsequent child you relax? It’s true, later children are basically eating dirt and running with scissors all day. I’m not saying mine runs with scissors but the dirt thing may be true.
A great mom. I don’t even know what that would be, but I suspect it isn’t me. At least not today it isn’t. Today was a hard day. The type of day where by 11 in the morning you’re counting down to bedtime. I’m afraid I was a rather mediocre mom today.
Over coffee this morning I cruised through Facebook and Twitter…a hit of Instagram. The online mommies were doing well. Special weekend activities were going on… Organic pancakes with free range eggs and hand tapped maple syrup were being served at breakfasts all across town.
We gave you a donut for breakfast. An Entenmann’s donut – I didn’t even buy it myself.
I left for a theater rehearsal to the sound of you protesting my abandonment of you mightily. I spent the entire rehearsal wondering if I was being selfish by still trying to participate in the New York City theater scene. A scene that rarely pays, and if you’re not being paid you can’t really call it work, can you? And if it’s not work – is this just a hobby now? If this is a hobby, is it fair to my family to take hours away each week for just a HOBBY? I’m supposed to be your mom, damnit. I’m supposed to be there wiping your nose and broadening your mind and feeding you healthy, organic foods! What am I doing here?
I missed a cue again – I blame my absent mindedness on your complete inability to sleep through the night. I suspect the other actors are growing weary of this tale.
My mind wanders back to the problem at hand: Is this me time? I know you’re supposed to get me time, but surely no one meant you get 15 hours of that a week? Or do they? WHY AM I THINKING THESE THINGS?
Back home I learn you never napped today. You wanted to play soccer and then basketball and then fire trucks.
It’s your father’s turn to go out, and you and I descend into a nightmare of a two year old who didn’t nap. We’ve passed the point of no return. You cannot nap now – it’s late afternoon and I have no desire to stay up to midnight with a child who had a late nap. You hate me. The cat hates me. I hate me. I hate your father who couldn’t get you to nap and left me with this mess.
You refuse to eat dinner. You want another donut. We can’t do donuts for dinner. I’m afraid I have to have some standards here – you have to eat something reasonably decent now. We settle on crackers. Organic, whole wheat crackers with the face of Elmo.
You take the little bowl of crackers and kick it across the kitchen.
I give up. We move on to bedtime.
In the bath we have a brief moment of pretty good. We blow bubbles and giggle and you hug me and give me a kiss and I feel pretty awesome right then. Do these tiny moments of blissful love make everything worth it? Does this complete me? Yeah, it kinda does.
But in the next moment, with little plastic bath toys being fired at my head, I have the distinct feeling that a month’s sabbatical in Paris would be equally fulfilling. Possibly more.
It’s been one of those days where I wonder why no one ever explained this to me before I gave birth. I knew there’d be little sleep and lots of body fluids. I knew there’d be temper tantrums and challenges, but I didn’t know that there would be days where I would desperately yearn for me. For the me who used to be.
I was prepared to have my heart break wide open from the weight of love for you. I knew I’d worry endlessly over you. I was prepared for these things. I was not prepared to have moments where I wonder if I’ll ever just be me again…and then feel guilty that I wondered that at all.
We read stories and cuddle and tuck Teddy and LaLa into bed, you whisper “wuv you” back to me and there goes my heart again. Then you’re sleeping.
I start to clean up the day’s mess. I pick up the Elmo crackers you so cruelly rejected and absent mindedly eat one.
And. Oh. My. God.
They taste like ass. These organic, whole wheat, made for my precious snowflake of a child crackers suck. Tomorrow, I’m buying preservative laden animal crackers. With frosting. And sprinkles. I don’t even know if they make crackers with sprinkles, but I will find them. I will make them if I have to.
I love you – I’m sorry those crackers for dinner sucked.
And I’m sorry I wished I was in Paris when you threw the bathtub toys at my head, but I’m only human, kid. I’m your mom. I’m not supermom.