Friday, June 09, 2006

You Know, Samantha Was A Witch

Monday I woke up vile and poisonous. I didn’t want to get out of bed; I didn’t want to hear any yelling or running in the hallway. I didn’t want to give anyone breakfast, except myself, and then I wanted absolute quiet while I ate it. I didn’t want anyone standing on my feet as I did the breakfast dishes, or throwing Tupperware behind me. I didn’t want anyone rooting through my purse, finding some half-eaten Goldfish (which were not mine in the first place) and spreading the crumbs like a new carpet through the living room. I didn’t want anyone smashing our bedroom fan. I didn’t want anyone searching in the kitchen garbage for an applesauce container that had already been in there two days, and licking it. I didn’t want to hear even one second of Elmo’s high-pitched fake laugh. I didn’t want anyone keeping me company in the bathroom. I didn’t want anyone pulling down my underwear after I’d just taken the trouble to pull them up. I didn’t want anyone jamming their fingers in my mouth when I picked them up. I didn’t want to pick anyone up, period, and I certainly didn’t want to listen to anyone scream if I didn’t. I didn’t want to carry bags of poop to the outside garbage. I didn’t want to chase anyone into the street screaming “Nooooo!” while they laughed and laughed. I didn’t want to buckle anyone into anything, particularly while they struggled. I didn’t want to haul anything weighing 18 pounds out of my trunk and fill it with crap that I would then wheel around.

What I wanted was to stay in my pajamas for a really long time, hearing nothing but the birds and the tea kettle, and read all the newspapers stacked behind the kitchen table. I wanted to watch my shows that have stacked up on Tivo. I wanted to go to the gym and zone out on bad morning talk shows from the elliptical machine. I wanted to go shopping and linger before making up my mind. I wanted to drink a cup of coffee in a public place, with a book. I wanted to call a friend and have a long, dishy chat. I wanted to meet someone for lunch and eat something complicated like salad really, really slowly, and drink two glasses of iced tea. I wanted to hear an entire story. I wanted to tell an entire story, complete with hand gestures and dramatic pauses.

I probably sound ungrateful to you. I may even sound like I have no business being a mother, particularly one who had to work as friggin’ hard to become one as I did. I don’t know what to do about it if that’s how I sound. Some days I just feel overwhelmed by the boredom, the repetition, the drudgery. Yes, there is drudgery; I don’t know how else to put it. Some days it takes me an hour to move 10 bites of food from a plate to a very small mouth. I spend an inordinate amount of time smelling someone’s bum. I do not have any family helping me; I do not have a regular babysitter; my husband works a 45-minute drive from our house.

It’s very confusing that this ennui settles either over or under my growing feelings of love for my daughter, depending on the day. I can’t imagine her being more perfect for us. She is gorgeous, smart, talented, fearless, fun, saucy, and a great dancer. I couldn’t ask for more, truly.

Monday I woke up vile and poisonous. I fretted my way through the steps of morning; the bottling, the breakfasting, the cleaning, the changing, the dressing, the diaper-bag packing, the car-loading, the frantic pulling of myself together. I fretted my way from home to the science museum, where I fretted Jarrah into the stroller and on to the lobby, where I met Lisa and Anton. When I saw Lisa, I fretted to her, too; what a relief it was to say, out loud, “I’m so depressed this morning. I am just not in the mood for any of this.” Lisa is a wonderful listener, and never seems to judge me for my awful thoughts. We made our way up to Kid City, where we turned the kids loose. I continued my fretting, really warming to the topic. Lisa nodded sympathetically, lord love her. Finally I was able to tear myself away from my fretting to look for Jarrah. She was sitting on the rug in the “library corner,” holding a book about a spotted dog, pointing at a picture of grass and babbling to herself with great delight. I knelt down beside her. “Grass!” I said softly. “That’s grass. You like grass. You didn’t used to, but you do now.” She looked up at me, pointed back at the grass, and said something else that I didn’t understand, but was probably about grass.

I looked at Lisa. “And then they have to go and be all adorable when you least expect it.”

“I know,” Lisa agreed.

Making it really hard to stay focused on my fretting.


Anonymous said...

Oh, the boredom, the repetition, the drudgery and, I would add, the loneliness of being a mother...sometimes it's overwhelming. It detracts NOTHING from your love and adoration for your child, it just IS. I think it's best if we're able to admit these things, mother to mother. And realize that we're bound to feel better the next day (or even later in the day, when you hear your little one laughing a belly laugh at her daddy, as mine is now!).

See you soon,

Anonymous said...

It's because my sons looked like angels while they slept that we all lived through their childhoods.

What you have written is true of almost all mothers without nannies.

Love, Gail

Unknown said...

You Commented, you Commented, I can't believe it, you Commented! I'm so glad YOU were my first. I love you.

I have these days too, but for every one of them there are ten more when you have the "just fell in love" feeling. Please, please call me when you feel one coming on and I'll come "borrow" Jarrah, or take you out for coffee, or both!

Type (little) a aka Michele said...

Anyone who says you "have no business being a mother" is either a judgemental asshole, or someone who is not being honest with themselves about JUST. HOW. HARD. THIS. IS.

Don't worry, I get it. And I'm not the only one!

Kim said...

It is so wonderful that you can put into words that which most of us are afraid to admit: motherhood is hard, alternately unrewarding and beautiful. I completely understand your feelings and I also feel that heavy veil of judgment that insists "You worked harder than the average person to get these kids--now appreciate their every waking second!" when the ones I sometimes seem to REALLY appreciate are the sleeping seconds (now, for instance). What the books never tell you is that, yes, Pampers may be essential to motherhood, but so are all the Lisa's out there that help keep us sane between the "grass" moments.

Alleen said...

I know it must be hard to have those feelings, but at least in the end, the cuteness wins over!!

It is obvious you are an amazing, dedicated mother.

Amy said...

I echo all the other mothers' sentiments of confirmation. I often feel on an emotional see saw from hour to hour between the drudgery and delight of motherhood. I feel you babe!!! But I am so glad you and Jarrah hopped in the car and came a callin'. Let's work on getting my outdoor patio play area in order so we can enjoy our "latte moment" in the summer sunshine very soon.

Anonymous said...

Sam, I have to tell you... I have 4 and it is hard to believe but it gets worse before it gets better........ If you don't take some time for yourself... you may pop.. Oh wait - mothers are not allowed to do that. WHAT THE @#$%^&*... Here is my advice from experience....GO TAKE A DAY OFF... IT's SOO OKAY, once in a while you just a day of PTO...or a massage or a book or a beach day or a shopping, or just a couple of hours to re-rememeber who you are... day off. If this were a job (which it is - and the biggest one you ever have had) you could take a day of PTO..Just do it. You didn't stop being a person because yo have a child...Everyone needs battery refresh and don't let Tom Cruise tell you otherwise!


aaryn b. said...

Ahem. I'm right there with you.
And I just had two days off...
What the F**K?!?

Anonymous said...

You could never be vile and poisonous, even if you tried.

Thank goodness, bad days are short-lived and make the great days VERY sweet.

suebdo said...

You say "vile and poisonous" like its a bad thing :) ... That's just "momming" You just earned your stripes Seargeant. It breaks you down and builds you back up :)