Living for Me (My Family)
This week my life has felt like the best metaphorical definition of an absolute train wreck. Just when we feel we may be able to hop back on the tracks another spark flies tossing us into yet another swerving frenzy. As a stay at home mom with a full time nanny you would think I would have time to do it all, I know other moms picture me relaxing my days away child and care free, but this is not so much the case.
Sometimes when the subject of my nanny comes up at the typical Bunco night or chit chat amongst my girlfriends a mom will go, “oh what do you do?”
“Uhm..nothing…I mean I’m at home…”
That is generally followed by a blank stare, but that blankness in my head is translated to the harshest judgements of my laziness and lack of love for my children. “But you have a nanny? It must be nice.”
“I mean, I write.”
I become a little quieter, “you know blog…” ugh, I hate that answer as a career, because it is not one, not to me at least, though it drains enough hours out of each day to count as two from time to time. Trying to redeem my previous statement, “and books, books, yes I write books, I want to publish them in spring..” err…isn’t it August? “I mean next year.” Then the little voice in my head whispers, are they convinced or are they judging us…I glance at the prosecution, they have moved on with the conversation back when I finished the t in write…definitely judging us.
My to-do list is so long each day/week/month, that it is more like a “you-wish” list. Between writing, one-on-one time with the girls, diaper changing, breastfeeding/pumping, baby food making, showering, errand running, and answering and placing lengthy phone calls from my family back home, (certain members insist that since I have a nanny I have time to talk four days a week) I find myself at the end of the day worn out and then frantic when I notice once more not one item marked off my to-do list, in fact there was only more added.
This weekend was no exception to the chaos, in fact, it was a contender for the blue ribbon. You see we have had a terrible case of the fleas upon the adoption of the adorable and incredibly gentle Professor Danger this past summer. And when I say a case of the fleas, I don’t mean a flea jumping on me from time to time, but instead hoards of them swarming mine and my daughters’ legs around the clock. We have bombed, sprayed, bombed, had a professional exterminator, and sprayed again and they don’t seem to go away.
Wait. What was that? Oh sorry I saw your face and just knew you were judging just what a disgusting household I must keep to live in such third world standards. I assure you, my nanny and I are changing out sheets almost daily, we have contractor bags full of laundry to continuously do, we have purchased a new vacuum and must disassemble it and wash it after each and every run per room. We are wiping down the floors, trying different methods such as anthrax…errr…I mean Borax, Front Line, home sprays, furniture sprays, and so on. Tomorrow morning the exterminator comes once more, you know the one who guaranteed he could rid them permanently…well that is until he walked in our house and saw the old creaky hardwood floors. “Oh, no one said anything about hardwood…I can’t guarantee with hardwood, you still interested?” I looked at him Do I have any other options?
On the nanny’s day off last week I, Lil A, and Baby K all had a cold (gah, quit judging me, we went to the doctor last week). Just as I laid down to catch about five minutes of rest and blogs I hear the pitter patter of toddler toes and I turn to find Lil A standing in my doorway proudly bestowing her glistening skin. From the standing strands of her hair, to the tips of her grimy toes she was absolutely covered in Vick’s Vapor Rub. Ofcourse, the only non-water soluble substance in the house meaning my toddler now permanently reeks of menthol. As I attempt to comb it out I am of course simultaneously picking fleas off her scalp.
The next day after three baths of baking soda and dish detergent I’m still judgmentally asked by the fifty year old woman who works as a cashier at Target, “What is wrong with her hair?” I felt mortified, she probably thinks I never bathe my child, she can probably see a flea I missed crawling around amongst the blobs of grease and just assumes we are unhygienic and neglect our toddler’s lice problem.
When I come home to prepare dinner Lil A promptly throws my iMac down on the ground, of course throwing my poor husband, who just learned we were denied the loan for our dream house we had been attempting to purchase all this past month, into a panic, “The hard drive!!!” Well there goes that awesome blogging career…
In the middle of the night that night we find Lil A on her bed, a line of baking soda surrounding her as if she was protecting herself from the evil demons she had summoned to terror the rest of the household. She sat up awake in her bed until five that morning. Yes because I let her stay up, because I just decided not to use my magical powers to force a two-year-old to sleep.
The next sleep deprived day I pick up my iPad to read some blogs while breastfeeding, (ya that’s right, I’m most likely reading your blogs topless) and find that my brand spankin’ new iPad has a crack across the top of it. At that same moment I hear my husband cry in the most panicked voice I have ever heard, “OH GOD Lil A, NOOOOOO!” I am stirred to stand but trapped as Josh is swooping in to save our daughter from taking another gulp of the delicious (or as she would say lishy) purple gatorade labeled Pine-Sol. The lady at Poison Control (I had Josh call, I didn’t want to feel judged anymore this weekend) was certain to warn us that Pine-Sol was the premium poison of choice for these tiny lushes due to it’s sweet flavor that keeps the toddlers coming back for more.
I found Lil A this morning in a puddle of pink acrylic paint which blended well with the baking soda in her hair, and all over the play room were tiny polka dot like finger prints. I took an honest look around and considered my mostly clean and happy house and then meditated for a moment on forgiving myself. In motherhood we wear a target of judgement on our back. We are stopped in public to be told “our baby’s toes are too cold”, “unless you’re on dialysis it is pertinent they have their vaccinations Wednesday not Thursday”, or “It’s 7pm, isn’t it too late for a one year old to be out at dinner?” And that just has to be okay. I will have to start taking life a tad less seriously, and find that happy place of letting go of things that are beyond my control. Will I be able to stop my self-judgement, most likely not. That inner critic will always be in there, but I should take some more time to laugh at its absurdity.