Insert standard parenting disclaimer here about how I absolutely adore my child and my stepchild, and I've never been so sure about any other decision in my life blah, blah.
But oh my god, the to-do list! My daughter is only a year old, so right now, I can't talk about how being a parent is going to impact my long-term career or my relationship. I know that these are topics that people stress over, but right now, work is well, working for me (in the balance sense, not the right fit way), and I have faith that YG and I will be able to remember each other in the midst of all the chaos. It is the day-to-day activities, though, that make me a little insane, and make me question the idea of adding more people to the mix. In six pages of the article, the one quote that jumped out at me like a big bold exclamation point was:
“I have two really great kids”—ages 9 and 11—“and I enjoy doing a lot of things with them,” she told me. “It’s the drudgery that’s so hard: Crap, you don’t have any pants that fit? There are just So. Many. Chores.”
YG is traveling right now, and that tends to make me feel like I am deeply mired in the drudgery and all bitchy and moody, but here's what the last 48 hours have looked like here:
* Up at 6:30
* Coffee/breakfast for me, breakfast for Z
* Play on floor with Z because she screams bloody murder when I stand up, never mind leave the room
* Dress Z. Avoid showering because it means baby meltdown and I don't smell that bad, and even if I do, church is filled with hippies.
* Z naps for 2 hours. During this time, I make both of our lunches for Monday, clean the breakfast dishes, fold some laundry, pay bills, clean the litter box
* Take Z to pool
* Target stop -- cat litter, bread, milk
* Give Z bath. Let her run around naked because she has raging diaper rash.
* Z shits on the floor.
* Clean shit floor.
* Make bottle. Read story. Z in bed by 7:45.
* Take out garbage and recycling, balance checkbook, eat dinner.
* Take shower because I know tomorrow morning is not going to be easy.
* At 10:30, decide I want to read my book (Judith Warner's Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety), but am too exhausted. Watch Real Housewives of New Jersey instead.
* Get up at 6:15 to beat Z and get myself cup of coffee
* Z morning bottle. Bottle leaks all over our bed.
* Get dressed, get Z dressed. Nearly break leg trying to put on underwear, due to squirmy crying thing attempting to scale my leg
* Get stuck behind recycling truck on our one-way street on the way to bring Z to daycare
* Daycare drop off. Z is smiley and blowing kisses and ma-ma-mama-ing, so I play on the floor for too long.
* Of course, there is traffic on 95.
* Work day.
* Leave by 5 to beat traffic to daycare.
* Take Z home, put her in the Ergo, and do errands (mail, depositing checks, blah blah)
* Introduce Z to the wonder of the Chipotle burrito bowl, and have brief worry over whether or not this is baby-appropriate food. Say 'fuck it.' She enjoys.
* Z home. Z pre-bedtime meltdown.
* Read Z her story. Doorbell rings -- it's our neighbors wanting to know if they can use our grill. I really like them so I chitchat for a bit, while Z whines.
* Cat gets out.
* Cat chase. Crying baby.
* Bedtime routine part 2.
* Make lunches, clean living room, think about changing the milk-stained sheet from this morning.
* Think it's time for a High Life instead.
* TBD: shower, maybe some reading, more likely another episode of Real Housewives
And folks, I had a GREAT weekend and a pretty good day today. Despite her meltdowns, Zygote is pretty fun to be around. It wasn't bad. It just is what it is, but when you think that every day is going to be this race of activities and chores, it can feel a bit overwhelming.
Sarah Wildman wrote in her essay on Politics Daily,
Parenting and Happiness Pair Well, Despite What You Read:
"Parenting all joy and no happiness? Not at all. It's all happiness and joy, but also all frustration and anxiety and, yes, anger. It's schizophrenia, it's mania."
"Having a kid is a little like being an expat in the world -- the highs are that much higher, the lows that much lower, the intensity like nothing else. Joy and pain; tears and laughter; everything that much sharper than it was before."
This is how I prefer to see it. The drudgery is much more intense than before, but the happiness factor is way higher too. I look at this kid, and she's pretty cool, and I think, "hey, I helped make that. Neat."
And I'll leave you with this quote from the New York article about parents in other countries being, on average, happier than American parents:
If you are no longer fretting about spending too little time with your children after they’re born (because you have a year of paid maternity leave), if you’re no longer anxious about finding affordable child care once you go back to work (because the state subsidizes it), if you’re no longer wondering how to pay for your children’s education and health care (because they’re free)—well, it stands to reason that your own mental health would improve. . . .“We’ve put all this energy into being perfect parents,” says Judith Warner, author of Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety, “instead of political change that would make family life better.”
And maybe, because that is Something I Do Give A Shit About, it's time to get involved in forcing that political change. What that means, I don't really know.