airing out my laundry

I should change the name of this blog to “Tales from the Laundromat”.

Really there’s nothing new on the laundromat front, thankfully. It’s just that we were there yesterday and I thought Baby Bug looked cute in the laundry basket. I could only keep her in the baby carrier for so long while I was folding all the clean clothes. I thought my back was going to break. This motherhood thing is back breaking.

I saw another mother there with a thirteen-month-old. We chatted for a little bit and she eyed the parasite-baby growing out of my chest enviously. She said she tried to fit her baby in the carrier one last time before they came to the laundromat and he just wouldn’t fit. By the looks of her long face, I take it that doing laundry while trying to keep a thirteen-month-old happy is a lot more difficult than carrying around a ten pound three-month-old attached to your chest. I have a grim future ahead of me.

I’m struggling lately. Not so much with the baby… (although, who stole my happy quiet baby and replaced her with the yelling baby? Can you please bring her back, stat?) but more so with the million mile long list of things I want to do and can’t. My freelance work is killing me. All the clients I got rid of before the baby, by referring them to somebody else, have all come back to me saying my referral artist just isn’t good enough. That’s great for my ego but the work load is just impossible. And maybe I should do better research before I go referring people.

The thing that really gets me is that all the work I’m getting is fun, easy work and easy money. If I wasn’t a full time mom, I’d whip it out in no time. But add a baby to the mix and I’m slower than a snail trudging through molasses. Baby Bug only takes so many naps a day and at least one of those naps has to be spent blogging, right?

I know a bunch of you are going to say, why don’t you ask Toby to help? Or what about your mother-in-law or hiring a babysitter? Well, here’s the rub. When I decided I wanted to be a mom, I decided I really wanted to be a mom in the biggest way. The good and the bad and the never-ending-ness of it. Toby and I made an agreement that I would be the major care-giver ALL of the time. No daycare, no babysitters (other than grandma) and no every other-night-you-watch-the-kid-so-I-can-take-a-shower. That’s just the way things work in our marriage. I knew what I was getting into long before I even got married and way way way long before we ever started trying to have kids. So what I’m basically saying is I made my bed and now I have to lie in it and I’m stupid to be complaining about it on my blog. (Like that’s going to stop me.)

The mother-in-law thing was working great but Baby Bug has turned into the shrieker lately and she’s getting heavy for her grandma’s frail arms. Her grandma loves her oh-so-very-much but she’s just a little too much for her. I spend a lot of my time rescuing Grandma from Baby Bug. It’s easy to deal with a baby crying when you are holding them but when somebody else is holding them in the next room over, it feels like your finger nails are getting peeled backwards. The babysitter thing just isn’t going to work unless I leave the house and the baby. But that doesn’t fit into my pre-baby agreement I made with Toby. Baby comes first, work comes second. And there will be no escaping to Starbucks just to earn a few extra bucks.

I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I knew Toby wouldn’t be able to help me. Toby has his own business that takes up 80% of his day. The other 20% is taken up with him trying to get over his 80% work day. We don’t have weekends here. Saturday and Sunday are work days too. Not to be all stuck in the 50’s but Toby needs a wife who will cook and clean and not hand him the baby when he’s trying to decompress from shooting the house that belongs to the owner of Broadcom. We have a crazy life. This is just the way it is. Everybody has a simple solution that they think will fix everything for us but the reality is that we have to make our way to those solutions in our own slow and exasperating way.

I knew I’d have to put my career on the back burner. The error I made is that I didn’t know how hard it would be for me to turn my back on it. I guess I keep secretly thinking I can do it all and be so successful that Toby will have to start taking my business seriously and he’ll be okay with me hiring a babysitter now and then. But I have to do it all secretly because of our agreement. I promised. I made a deal. This is my life. This is what I get in exchange for getting to take long walks on the beach every day.

The problem with my secret plan on becoming successful behind Toby’s back is that the money is just not coming in as fast as the work is. I can’t let him know that I’m bursting at the seams. On top of all my clients who just won’t go away, I do some work for Toby’s clients too. And I’m a mom and a full time housewife with a house that is falling down and a landlady who is crazy. I just don’t know how I can keep it up.

Then fun things come along like making mermaid tails and developing a website to sell them just in time for Halloween. How can I say no to a fun idea like that? I’ve already gotten a few requests without even advertising a peep about it. When I tell Toby about my fun mermaid tail idea he gets mad at me and calls it my “arts and crafts crap”. (Except he uses a different word and the only reason I don’t type that other word on this blog is because I’m thinking of you, Mom and you, Aunt Kathy up in Canada who don’t like to think of your little Brenda using potty language.) In a way he’s right. I am a mother and that is my most important job of all time. But stopping all the fun jobs that come along is like cutting out part of my heart. I love making things. It’s who I am. And yes, a happy mom is a good mom. So somehow I’m going to have to do it all or figure out what to do and what not to do.

Anybody need some freelance graphic design work? Send me an url to your online portfolio.