Me time, We time, No time

Let me start from right now (10:46 p.m. on Friday night) and move backwards.
I just heard a whistle outside. I hope it’s not the paper lady, returning to remind us that we left another light on. About 10 minutes ago I was seriously freaked out when I heard a strange voice yelling outside the window, “Hello! You left your lights on! Hello! You left your lights on!”

“What the hell?!” I thought. “Run and hide!” When I saw the paper trolley, then I figured out it’s the kind-hearted, knows-no-boundaries, chatty paper lady who lives down the street from us. Knowing that another shout was inevitable, I stuck my head out the door (still a bit freaked out) and said, “Thank you, we’ll get it.” And she left.

Husband was in bed with baby. It was his van, naturally (I never even considered that it might be my car). So I got to drag myself out to the street and figure out why on earth the dashboard light was left on. Good grief. And I’ll leave it there.

Prior to that I had just enjoyed a complete shower. By complete, I mean I washed my hair. Yes, at the age of nearly 40, I still clearly distinguish between showers where I wash my hair and those where I don’t. I have never liked washing my hair. Never. My hair is really quite great hair. Thick, healthy, wavy/curly, grows quickly. But also: thick, wavy/curly, grows quickly. Washing my hair has always meant

1) Taking a long time to do the washing, bored before I’m half-way through.

2) Taking a long time to dry it. Not that I usually use a blow dryer. But it WILL take a long time to dry, no matter what I do.

3) Trying in vain to style my wild hair that soon outgrows any shape the hairdresser has cut into it. If I don’t wash it, I don’t have to style it, therefore not washing it has a definite appeal.

4) Add baby. When I take evening showers, it requires husband to watch the baby and she wants to nurse as soon as I’m done. In the mornings, forget it. Busy baby, busy rush. Rare washing, rarer styling. My body’s clean enough but the hair is doing its own thing.

So earlier today, I had a brief moment of what could have been despair but was more an intense wondering combined with yearning: I wonder when I’ll be back to a time when I can take a shower when I want one without having to plan days in advance or get “help” with childminding. Any ideas when that will be? Because it sounds dreamy.

I’d love to shower as soon as I come home from work. Wash off the grime of the day, warm up my body, step into cozy sweats. Then prepare dinner, drinking a tea, and enjoy at leisure.

OH the dreams I have!!!

On the other hand: today was mainly super great. I had wanted to rush out early with baby and tackle some chores, but she didn’t want to leave the house. I asked her. She said no. After 4 days of dashing off in the morning, she wanted to relax at home, play with her toys, play with her mom. I had another moment, this one closer to despair, where I thought I was a complete failure as a mom. I can’t even get my child out the door to buy groceries. Good grief!

Then I reframed. My child loves being at home. I’m communicating with her and respecting her wishes. Though I might want to be in “go” mode, I don’t have to be – none of the chores are urgent, and in fact, I want to get out of an obsession with getting things done and focus more on enjoying where we are. So we relaxed and ate and played until around 10:30 when, while nursing, she started whining and pointing at something. I asked her to show me what it was and she went over and hit the stroller. Yes, it was time for a walk.

And it was great. We walked, talked, did errands, played. She’s so fun and cute and smart and funny and chatty! She wanted to read the magazines in the accountant’s office, so we flipped through some old Reader’s Digests. We went up and down stairs, then the elevator. Picked up shoes in the shoe store (a question about stretching straps). Just fun fun fun. Then she fell asleep on the way home. I tackled some urgently-needed cleaning, talked with my sister, and she was awake. So, more playing, including playing outside.

And then I got the chance to do my chores! We went together and again had super fun. She loved riding the cart in the grocery store. We walked across the driving lane in the parking lot a few times. We played a game where she’d tell me when to stop and go. The dollar store was full of fun things but she was okay with leaving them there – we said good-bye to them and walked out.

Finally, evening and bedtime. I knew she was really tired. But we seemed to have missed the bedtime window as we were super-busy and had a late dinner. As a result, she nursed, bottled, then popped up, wide awake. Once again (see a theme?) I felt ready to give up. I’d messed up bedtime again. I was a failure.

So I gave up completely on bedtime and started doing some cleaning (the place is a STY, people. Smaller, yes; neater, no). And she started playing. She let me dress her, though she had refused the sleeper earlier. She relocated all her small animals to a stool and chair in the kitchen, talking with me about the process. She then raised her hands in triumph at the new set-up! She was having so much fun. So was I. So I relaxed and let it be. And she’s sleeping now; all, so far as I know, is well. And tomorrow, thankfully, is another day.

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