Archive for August, 2009
Yes yes, I am guilty of long blog hiatus. What can I say? Having a baby eats up a lot of time.
In some strange way, I feel as though being a stay at home mom means spending a lot of time doing “nothing”, and yet, at the end of the day I haven’t blogged, worked on my novel, read that book I’ve been promising myself I would. I have laundry to do and bathrooms to clean.
What do I do all day? I play with Parker, feed Parker, occasionally feed my husband. I attempt to keep up with the housework and then play with the baby some more.
OK, so I am not devising solutions for the economic crisis, or thinking deeply about the global climate. I am not working toward a thesis, or plugging away at a desk for 8 hours. But I am doing something important. Are we all hardwired nowadays to see some kinds of work as real “work”, and others as nothing but wasted time?
I do try to tell myself often that rolling around on the floor like a beached whale in order to make Parker fall over laughing is a worthy enterprise. And a little bit of exercise.
The truth is, that a lot of the work that goes into motherhood is indefinable, indescribable and often, unnoticed even by mom’s themselves. I don’t know any mom that doesn’t question her decisions and actions constantly. Any mom who feels like they have the answers to the myriad of problems that crop up daily. Any mom that doesn’t feel like they could just do it a little better. And this, this is exhausting work. The constant worry- am I talking to him enough, teaching him enough, letting him play independently often enough to encourage his independence? Is he ready to be disciplined, is this bad behavior, do all babies say “Uh oh” as they hold a handful of food over the edge of the high chair and THEN drop it on the floor, laughing hysterically when you say, “oh no!”
And then there all of the logistics of raising a baby from the ground up, so to speak. No matter how good that book on parenting is, you will never have all the answers. Things that seem completely obvious and intuitive aren’t. I cannot tell you how many times I have found myself asking, “God, where is the handbook?” Teaching a little guy how to eat, for example. Seems pretty easy. We eat food. We digest food. Food is good.
Ok, when do you start? What if they won’t eat it? What if it upsets their stomach? Why does he insist on poking his eye with the pointy end of the spoon, and how do I stop that? Once you have the baby eating his watery mix of rice cereal (which to me, looks like watery snot, thank you very much), then you are onto other cereals, then puree’s, then horror of horrors…solids.
Then you worry, is this enough fruit, vegetable, fiber, dairy, red, blue? Is it too much? How do I get him to eat something other than oatmeal and bananas? How do I get my husband to stop feeding him nothing but oatmeal and bananas when I am not around?
This all sounds pretty easy, but trust me- when you are the person entrusted with the sole responsibility , day to day, of feeding, caring for, loving, teaching a brand new person, it is exhausting and terrifying, and mostly, mystifying.
So I say again, “God, where is the handbook?”