Posted on | September 19, 2013 | 10 Comments
As a new mother, sleep-deprived and leaking from… let’s face it, almost EVERY orifice, I was convinced that if I could just make it through the first few months, I would find a pattern that worked for me and things would get easier. And for a while, they did. I became a pro at pumping in the office, in the car, and even perched on the edge of a filthy courthouse toilet. I could change a diaper with one hand while talking on the phone. I could unsnap, pull off, and change my child’s clothes with one arm tied behind my back… not that I tried, but still. It got easier.
Work was mostly flexible, in that I could bring my sweet baby to the office and tuck him into his pack n play, letting him coo and cuddle against the sides of the protected space while I met my billable hours. On the days he was well enough to attend daycare, I would pick him up with a spring in my step because just having him in my arms was enough to make everything else worth while.
And then he began to crawl.
And then walk.
And then talk.
And during all of that madness, I changed jobs… twice… changed houses… twice… and became a single mother.
And those days of sleep-deprived madness and poop on the backside of everything I owned seem like a distant nightmare, made cautiously pleasant with time. “But he was stationary,” I tell myself. “But he couldn’t talk back.”
The routine I crafted for me and my infant, then toddler… that routine just isn’t working anymore for this larger than life pre-schooler who has invaded my home and heart. What used to take twenty minutes now takes forty because there is attitude and tears and bribes and exasperation. What used to be the sweet moment of reconciliation at the end of a long day has become a tentative peek around the corner, bracing myself for the onslaught of almost pre-teen angst that will pour from my child’s every movement and sound the minute he is out of sight of his school friends.
My “I’m totally rocking this working mother thing” has turned into “Dear God someone please help me and can I up my meds or maybe drink for breakfast?!” The moments of success seem fewer and farther between and the ends of my days are spent in tears… his and often mine… as we struggle to find ourselves in this new landscape of new schools, new friends, new responsibilities and even new boyfriends. I used to feel that I was floating on a prickly raft; safely above the turmoil of some lives but still with the occasional prick of reality that I don’t have a spouse to step in and share the burden.
Lately, my raft has sprung a leak.
Now I find myself mired in the turmoil, pricked on all sides by my steadily sinking raft and I am constantly shouting “BECAUSE I SAID SO” like they’re the only words that make any sense any more.
And I think, perhaps, they are.