Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Bad Timing

I haven't written much lately. And what I have written is less than noteworthy (Not that my posts about James screaming about my burning butt is so memorable... just saying...) Chalk it up to a timing thing: When Nick is napping, Sophie is clinging to my leg like a jelly fish screaming "More! More" and throwing Elmo books at my face. When Sophie is sleeping, Nick is watching Thomas the Train and I'm furiously Ebaying, only to exit my office to find him on top of the kitchen counter, microwaving Kosher salt. When the kids are together, Nick is poking Sophie in the eye with back yard sticks, or throwing leaves in her hair, or hugging her so hard she can't even scream (a first for Sophie). More often than not she is screaming so loud I can't even hear the phone ring. I'm so mentally drained from giving Nick Time Outs that today I just pretended not to see him swipe Sophie's bottle then proceed to suck it down under the wicker outdoor couch. When my angels are playing together nicely so I can cook dinner, I look out the kitchen window to find them throwing Legos in our three legged turtle's tank. (At least if they get salmonella I can blame the tortoise and not my chicken). I know that motherhood is about giving up time. And I know that unless I have the funds for a nanny or maid, this is just how it is. But the past few days, it's been rough. I want to finish my writing without explaining that dogs don't need to eat raisins. I want to have normal conversations with adults that doesn't end with "And do you need to go poo poo?" Just today I was talking to Nick about strangers. I said "What do you do if someone you don't know comes up to you and wants to take you away?" He responded, "I'd say 'Take Me!' ". I am keenly aware that these years are all too brief. I cry at least once a month about the kids growing up and leaving me. When Sophie runs full steam ahead with her toothy grin and shrieks "Mama! Mama!" I wouldn't trade it for a fancy sitcom or all the Elmos in K-Mart. But right now I feel a bit hazy. Beaten up. Like my life consists of these tiny little threads of conversation and activities. If you put all the threads together, sure, there's a blanket. But the squares are all a bit uneven. And it smells suspiciously of sour milk. How do we find balance in our lives? How do we not live a life of excuses, but give ourselves credit for doing the best we can, even when the writing isn't done? Even when we ate sugar past 7PM, and our arm strengthening routine consists of hoisting a wriggling Sophie up and down in reps of 12, Pipsqueak squealing delightedly“Gen! Gen!” Even when the house is less than Oprah's designer, Nate Berkus-perfect? Because does Nate Berkus have it so good? He might be gorgeous with a glorious dimple, but his flashing eyes watched his lover drown in the Tsunami, and he now has to explain to his posh gay friends from art school that he's the official spokes model for Linen 'N Things. I know I'm doing the best I can. I look fine. I have accomplished more than some moms with one kid. And if I lived in a crap pile, that would be fine, too. I'm just tired. And I need to sleep. But sleep won't clean my house and get the writing done. Nor will it buy the new quilt I bought from my Ebay earnings. An insightful person would tell me that my list is too long. "Just focus on what you can do and that's good enough." And yeah, the logical side is nodding her head. She's brushing her teeth and going to close her eyes next to the piling laundry But her irrational side wants to forego Zoloft pills for magic pills that transform those two blissful hours after the kids are asleep into 10 hours, giving her time with James, time with her computer (well, James is a computer, so it’s kind of the same thing), time to work out, time to read, time to watch tv... the list of what I'd do is actually longer than my to-do list. On my way to Kaiser yesterday, for Zoloft refills no less, I asked my mom why so many women these days go through what I'm going through... this trying to do it all, even though we know it's impossible. She admits that in her days of mothering, there was no complaining about not having a maid. She just did it. While I happen to think she was a saint, I wonder, too, if all this sacrifice denied her from being something greater. But what is greater than having the love of your kids and family? For all my friends, and my, education and choices, we’re less contented then she was/is. And when I do manage to have a successful day, is it because I’m a really well rounded person, or is it really the self-delusion of the Zoloft, putting a happy spin on the mundane crap of the world – crap that women of older generations not only did, but didn’t complain about. I don’t want to be this mother who spends so much time worrying about her place in the world that she forgets to treasure her childrens’ fleeting childhood. At the same time, I can’t help that inside I have this raging spirit that wants to sometimes paint walls, not clean crayons off them. I want to talk on the phone to San Diego A., not keep Nick from jamming Sophie on the head with an Elmo phone. I want to go out for wine and pasta dinners with James, not deal with whining and macaroni and cheese. Somehow it will all work out. But it’s not going to happen overnight. And if you’ll excuse me, I have ten minutes to list 10 Ebay items, finish Act 2, and begin a query letter. And final note: Because my last few posts put me at risk of sounding like a whiny bastard, I really do want to find a balance in my life, as I’m sure everyone else does. It’s not about being rich, or wildly successful. We have one life to live, and I hope to live mine surrounded by the family and friends I cherish most. If can make some money off my writing to buy cappuccinos and maid service as well, that would be great, too. That’s all I’m saying.

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