S has had such a crazy work schedule for the last few weeks (conference calls at 4 am - can you beat that!), that I have begun to feel like a single parent. It’s a hard 12-hour shift everyday and the only “me-time” I get is a long hot shower after S gets home in the evening. Yes, a simple bath has begun to seem like a luxury!
I have to admit that it has gotten easier with time. Managing 2 small kids all by myself and playing the multiple roles of chauffeur, maid, cook and nanny no longer appears to be that scary. Part of the reason for this is that I have started working smarter and managing my time much better than I used to.
So we were plodding along and just when I started patting myself on a job reasonably well-done, Y brought me back to earth by sponsoring the “Day from Hell Part 1 (to be continued)”. She whined and clung and cried and was so cranky that she dragged me down along with her into her pit of misery. What compounded it was the fact that I could just not understand what it was that was so upsetting her, a fact that gave instant rise to feelings of being a bad mother because I could not diagnose the source of my daughter’s crankiness.
By noon, I was faint with hunger because she didn’t allow me to cook and decided I didn’t have the right to even fix myself a simple sandwich for lunch. By 3 pm, I was ready to climb to the top of the
and thrown myself
down into the Bay, thankful that I didn’t know how to swim. I did what I
usually do in these situations – packed all three of us in the car and head to
the nearest part – convinced all we needed was some fresh air. It always works.
And it did this time as well. Golden Gate
A bad day in the life of a stay-at-home mother is bad not simply because it’s - well, bad. Not simply because you want to throttle your kids and then throttle yourself – I know that all mothers want to do that at some point in their life, not that most of them would admit to such unmaternal feelings!
It’s bad because you are forced to confront the hard fact that your entire life has come down to this. Soiled diapers. The smell of milk and vomit (when your kid cries so hard she throws up on you). A frazzled you who looks worse than a Chennai ragpicker. And worst of all, a baby who is unhappy inspite of your best efforts to the contrary.
And when all of these things happen, it’s almost impossible to maintain perspective, a bird’s eye view so to speak, and not think about how your life would have been without kids. A glittering career (HA!!). A social life not involving playdates. Unencumbered travel. Sleep. Fine dining. The list goes on and on. I *almost almost* envy my friends who decided not to have children.
And then the moment passes. Y laughs as we watch a train pass by on the tracks near our apartment (I don’t know why that is so funny, but then she’s a baby) and looking at that dimpled smile, that snub nose and those big brown eyes that look at me with love and trust even though I am the lousiest mother in the world, I remember that there was a good reason why I had children in the first place.
So, my prescription (to myself) when a bad day gets worse: Get some fresh air. Take several deep breaths. Live in the moment. Remember that kids grow up.
(And leave you. And ignore you. And make you miserable all over again!)