I am home sick, again. I get all the colds that come through the house. Getting sick is at least one of the top 10 “things that derail” our house of cards. The precise life we have constructed, runs smoothy, well and just barely, but the caveat is that no one gets sick. The problem with building a house on a foundation of -we can’t sick- and having a two year old is that we get sick all the time. Now that G is in full time daycare there are 30 other little hands that she is around that creep and crawl with germs and bacteria and every single last one of them (it feels like) is yet another cold.
Least anyone think this is an “oh, poor me, the mom that works so hard and is so busy all the time that I barely have time to rest let alone enjoy life,” post, happily it is not, although undoubtably that will be a post sometime in the near future. No, this is an I accept it post. I accept the crazyness, the unravelledness, the sickness, the hectic, and the franticness.
For months I have been searching for a way around the carefully constructed life that relies on no one moving an inch in the wrong direction, no one coughing out of turn, but somehow miraculously this weekend I accepted that this is it. We were walking back from our only outing for the day. I was blowing the faucet that was my nose. G was insisting on pushing the stroller and at one point she pushed it toward a car. I caught it at the last moment and instead of being exasperated I laughed and then G laughed and then baby pappa. There was something about catching the stroller before it caused material damage to another person’s property that made me think, “I got it, I can do this. Even sick and tired and miserable it is manageable.” This is my life right here and I love it.
I recently read a book of essays, Torn: True Stories of Kids, Career & the Conflict of Modern Motherhood. This book assured me with story after story of mother’s trying to balance it all that there is no way to balance it all. Of course I had read before that you can’t “have it all,” but these stories showed rather than told me that I can’t balance it all. Whether you are in the workforce or stay out of the workforce you work, parenthood is hard, it is messy it is trying and more than anything I think it is wonderful.
Before I had G I wanted a baby more than I was comfortable with. At 30 I had no prospects of having a baby. There had been boyfriends, but it didn’t really occur to me until I was 30 that I actually needed someone else to buy into the whole baby idea and so far the men I had dated were either not father material or wanted no part of it. I knew I didn’t want to have a baby on my own. The idea of finding someone who I loved, got on well with and who also wanted a baby and would be a good father was daunting. I remember one particular moment driving in my car on my way home from visiting a friend who had just had her second child when it hit me: “Oh. Fuck. I need someone else to agree to this. Shit.” Feminism so had not prepared me for that moment.
All of this is a long winded way of saying I wanted a baby and I wasn’t sure for a while there, three or four very long painful years, if I was going to get one. Having a child has made me very happy. This is something that is easy for me to loose track of in the hamster wheel that is my life. This book of essays more than anything else showed me that I am not alone in the difficulties of parenthood and more importantly it will not change. There is no magic bullet that will give me more time, or when I don’t work, more money/adult conversation. There is no perfect job that will be just flexible enough, but still stimulating and lucrative. Not that we shouldn’t try to improve conditions for families, that we shouldn’t fight for universal daycare, that we shouldn’t find other ways to work in the world so that we can find more time with our children and leisure activities. There is no margin in my life, but this is the very full life I signed up for and I wouldn’t change it for the world.