a blog post from the trenches

I drank a bunch of coffee, sure that with enough caffeine in my system I could finish all my work and knock out an entertaining blog post. But here I am staring at the virtual white paper of my text editing program and all those blog posts that I wrote in my head over the last few days are gone. They’ve vanished into cobwebby brain space. I can see white gloved Mickey Mouse cartoon hands swishing back and forth inside the cavity where my brain should be and there is nothing there for the Mickey Mouse hands to grab. Just space. Swish, swipe, swish.

You know that saying about giving a drunk coffee to wake up? It doesn’t work at all. All you get is a very awake drunk person. So I guess this is me. I’m a very alert zombie. I will probably sit here in my uncomfortable chair picking at my arm hair for two hours, accomplishing nothing. Why? Why do I do this to myself?

This is why: All day long I think, if only she would take a nap I could get something done. My list of things to do spins in my head like a hamster wheel. It makes that flipping sound like a baseball card stuck in your bike wheel. Silently, with a fake happy smile on my face, I beg my darling little monster of a baby to take a nap so I can get something done.

When she finally does take a nap, I stand there completely paralyzed by the sheer quantity of things I should be doing. Make baby food! Balance check book! Scrub encrusted food off cupboard walls and floor! Clean coffee maker! Plan dinner! Put away laundry! Work on freelance work! Eat lunch! Clean scummy refrigerator shelves! Vacuum! Put photos in photo album! Answer emails! Take a shower! Dress yourself so you don’t look like such a haggard old slob all the time!

On and on my silly list goes. And I get absolutely nothing done because by the time I finally prioritize the endless list and pick something to do, she wakes up. Every time. She’s been taking half hour naps these days and I think she is plotting on giving up the art of napping all together. My mom says I did.

How am I going to cope? I hate to admit this here but I really thought I would take to motherhood better than I am. I wonder if I decided to have kids too late. Maybe I’m like an old dog who can’t learn new tricks. I think I got too set in my ways. I had my career and I got used to getting things done the way I wanted them done. I wonder if motherhood would have been easier for me if I suddenly found myself in it in my early twenties instead of my thirties. I’m sure that’s a silly question because when I was in my early twenties, I had to worry about having enough money to EAT. I remember living off biscotti and coffee because that’s what they had in the break room of the office I worked in. I don’t think Baby Bug would fare too well off biscotti and coffee. It must just be a case of the grass is always greener.

I hate to complain so much. I’m very conscious of the fact that I complain a lot. I’m very disappointed in myself. I always thought I would be such a natural mother. I’ve loved and loved entertaining kids my entire life. So why is it so hard for me on a day to day basis?

When I’m “on” I do great. We play and make up all kinds of really fun games. I love to hear Baby Bug’s laughter and delight when I show her something new or we make up a new game to play. The problem is I’m just not “on” all the time. I’m “on” a lot, don’t worry… Baby Bug is getting plenty of quality mom time. But Sometimes I catch myself staring into space. And then I have to get up and rescue her because she snuck away and climbed up on my chair again and fell down and bonked her head on the chair leg. Her poor little head!

Sometimes I just run out of gas mentally. And because I can’t just turn off being a mom, I think I turn off doing the things I want to do. That list I was talking about… it just gets longer because I can’t cross anything off it anymore. When I’m done being “mommy,” it’s like my brain runs into a mud wall. Can’t. Go. Any. Further.

I know everybody always says, “Do something for yourself!” “Recharge!” “Take a break!” I do. I got my toes painted today. While Baby Bug sat in my lap and made friends with everybody in the entire nail salon, I got my legs massaged and I started to feel human again. It was nice. But I didn’t get anything done on my stupid list.

But please don’t give me advice. I think I’m just putting this down here because it just needs a place to go. I know I should do x, y, and z. I know I should think about hiring a babysitter or getting Toby to take care of her for an hour here and there. I already know all about that and I’m working on it. It just isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. It really is true what they say, being a mom is the hardest job you’ll ever love.

On that happy note, look at my little girl standing up in her crib! Isn’t she just the picture of defiant independence! I love my little monster. This is the look she gives me when she wakes up from her nap. I thought that maybe I could just pat her on the back and she’d go back to sleep but I was wrong. I’m always wrong. I’d also like to note that since Toby took this picture, we have raised the crib rail. It’s always up now, even if I do have to bend myself into two pieces just to lay her down. We’re thinking we better be safe than sorry. She has that look like she might just launch herself up and over the side one of these days.