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.

Back to our Regularly Scheduled Programming

The quality of this blog post depends entirely on how much longer Baby Bug takes a nap. She’s already been down for an hour so I’ll be lucky if I can type for a half an hour longer.

She is so sweet when she’s sleeping. She’s sweet when she’s awake too but there is no way I can blog or do anything else other than pay attention to her when she is awake. She’s started to climb up on things and pull herself into standing position. Her favorite thing to climb is my wooden chair that I’m sitting in at my desk right now. There I am typing away, answering an email or something and I start to feel these little fingers on my lap. I look down and there’s a little person staring right back at me! Up! She wants up! She wants up in my lap.

I oblige and lift her up so she can see my desk and laptop screen. In my imagination I think we could type away happily with her sitting on my lap. In reality there is no such thing. She wants to eat my mouse. She wants to climb up onto my desk and slobber onto my keyboard. She wants my pencil and my cell phone and the tail of the cat that just happens to be sleeping near by. She doesn’t want to play quietly with her one hundred and one toys on the floor. She wants to play with my toys. The ones that have cords and plugs and go beep and click click. Silly Baby.

So where have I been these last few days? I have so much unfinished business to blog about. I apologize for leaving this blog in a lurch last Wednesday. Those of you who guessed pms were right. Blakety-blank you!! Why do you have to be so right all the time? Can’t a girl have a little mystery and dignity? Apparently not.

Apparently I can’t handle my emotions all that well either. Thankfully, I didn’t blow up at anybody. In fact when Toby called me on the road, after I just packed up and left town without so much as a note, I was calm cool and collected and told him I loved him and that nothing was wrong. Nothing is wrong. Ha!

Poor Toby. He is so understanding of me and my crazy zig zag moods. I told him how hard it was for me to distinguish between what was really making me upset and what was just my hormones making me super uber sensitive. He said he understood. “It’s kinda like being a teenager all over again, isn’t it?” he says. “You don’t know which way is up.”

He’s right. Now that I’m feeling like myself again I can’t for the life of me figure out what made me so upset in the first place. What, a little over-worked from housework and a demanding baby! Pshaw! What’s that! You can’t finish your freelance work and your clients are starting to get worried? That’s just another day at the office. Big deal! You don’t know what to fix for dinner and you have no money left in your checking account! Whoopti-doodle doo. There are people all over who don’t even have checking accounts! Get over it Brenda. Life is tough and then you move on.

So this is me moving on. I’m trying to keep myself “centered”… which reminds me of a funny story about a girl I used to work with. But I guess I’ll have to save that for another blog (along with the saga about the 70’s crib) because the baby just woke up!