I’ve been hearing from mothers all over the place this weekend. One seriously funny mom went on South Beach this week and complained, “For the record, motherhood requires alcohol, and Mr. South Beach is a very cruel man if he doesn’t understand that.” I’m reading about a mom who sometimes wishes she could just send her toddler off to live at his dad’s house most of the time, and then beating herself up for having these thoughts. And while enduring a day spent listening to my son talk non-stop for ten hours straight, I’m reminded of my own mother who (also a very seriously funny woman), after taking care of the King of Everything one day last year, asked me, “How old do you think he’ll have to be before I can tell him to shut the f*** up?’ and I turned on my best blank look and replied, “Hrm. I dunno–how old is he now?” I’m thinking of the mom who said she always loved her tween daughter, but sometimes found it hard to like her. I’m wondering if we make a mistake in having such small families. If you’ve got five kids, they can torture each other and leave you alone to drink your Cosmopolitan and watch a George Carlin DVD in peace, no?
No?? Well. It looked good on paper.
My worst time is bedtime. I’m so desperate for some silence, for some time and space to do all that stuff that needs to get done–you know, laundry, ironing, writing here in Solomother, cleaning the bathrooms, scrubbing the kitchen, vacuuming and mopping and putting together tomorrow’s lunch, grocery shopping (I do mine on line, it rocks, no more arguing with a five year old why we aren’t going to buy Lunchables! or Spongebob Squarepants pasta! Or Choco-Sugarbomb breakfast cereal!)… I’m so busy when my son finally goes to sleep that by the time bedtime rolls around, I’m out of patience. In fact, I’m damned near claustrophobic with his time stretching games of more snuggles! more kisses! more book! more water! more food! more this and this and this and finally I just leave. I just get up and leave, furious with myself for once again having let it Get. To. Me. And I can’t look at my partner and say, “I need a little time, can you take this shift?” Single mothers don’t have that luxury. We just have to suck it up and keep going.
So I think I’m going to have to be more strategic in my life. More streamlined. More organized. I’m going to have to make it so time after he goes to sleep is just me time. No chores. No obligations. I can slide housework into other time slots, like cleaning the bathrooms while I get ready for work. Straightening the kitchen while I make breakfast. And if I can get to a point where I have a place for everything, then I can be better about keeping everything in its place. I have a huge pile of clothes, both mine and the kid’s, to Freecycle. I have to wrap up the ornaments and finally put Christmas to bed. But really? With the pressures I’m enduring from work, and the very narrow window of time I get to spend with friends and loved ones, I need to take care of myself right now. The house can be a little messy. My heart, however, can’t.