mama speak

it’s much like shorthand
only, you know, not written
mamas on the phone

It’s Friday. It hasn’t been a particularly crazy week, really, but even so, it’s Friday. I called a friend of mine today to see if she wanted to gather up her kiddos and meet me and the Wee One for lunch. Our conversation went something like this:

*begin phone call*

FRIEND: Hello?
ME: Hey, it’s me. You wanna
FRIEND: YES
ME: Me too
[random children noises on both ends of the conversation]
ME: Can we go to the place with the [get your finger out of your butt] uh, with the… food?
FRIEND: [I don’t know where the glue is honey] Sure. Food.
ME: You wanna
FRIEND: Let’s go now
ME: Yay [don’t touch the TV screen] Now. Food. [Please don’t put your sock in your mouth]
FRIEND: OK
ME: If we get there first you want me to order you a
FRIEND: Yes
ME: Great [well then, GO POTTY]
FRIEND: See
ME: You soon! [Please don’t do tha—–]

*end phone call*

End of the week playdates and cheeseburgers…. Saving sanity one mama at a time.

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Oh, it’s going to be hard, isn’t it?

it all becomes real
when he can’t understand why
things are different

It’s going to be hard. Harder than I ever let myself think or imagine or even plan for. I see it in his eyes, his expressions, his new ways of trying to get my attention… the Wee One is in for a dose of "holy shit my world is upside down" and I think it’s already started.

Our relationship is growing stronger – almost fiercer – as my belly grows larger. The Wee One hugs me harder now, and he’s not angry when I don’t get on the floor to play with him, he seems… resigned… to it.

This morning, for the first time since the first week of school, he cried when I dropped him off at his classroom. He said he didn’t get to spend enough time with me this morning. And his crying wasn’t the wailing, flailing freak out it was when he was scared of school, it was quiet… solemn… sad. And, oh, does that break my heart into a million tiny pieces.

I’ve started to wonder how I could do this to him? How could I cause such change and uncertainty in his life? I’ve started to wonder how could I do this to another child? How can this boundless, protective, doting love be shared equally? Logically, I know it must be possible. I know that people have babies everyday and they find a capacity to love all of their children in equivalent and infinite ways. I know that when my sister was born and I was four years old, my world didn’t end. I didn’t feel less loved or suddenly alienated.

But logic be damned. Right now, emotionally… emotionally I am a disaster area. I need caution tape and orange cones carefully placed around me. At every turn I worry that I’m letting the Wee One down, that it’s not that I can’t do everything for him that I’ve always done, it’s that I somehow just don’t anymore. I mean, I could get on all fours and play with him on the carpet. I could set the computer down, say no to another viewing of Zoboomafoo, and kick a ball around the backyard with him. I could endeavor to cook him something to eat other than pasta or peanut butter (even though he won’t actually eat anything other than pasta or peanut butter). But I don’t.

I feel like I’m using my giant belly as an excuse to be less of a mom. And that sounds so ironic and ridiculous, I know. But could it be so ridiculous that it’s true? I know I need to rest, to keep my feet up, to do what I can to prevent the bed rest and pre-term labor and PIH I had when I was pregnant with him, but…. but…. but….

He cried at school. He tells me he loves me about a thousand times a day so that he can hear me say it back. When we watch TV he sits in the chair right next to me even though there’s not enough room. And though I don’t think any of this is conscious on his part, I know his subconscious already feels this baby coming. His subconscious is preparing itself as the Mack truck of Little Sister zooms towards us.

And there has to be something I can do to soften the blow. But I don’t know what. We talk about babies and how special big brothers are. We talk about how smart he is and how he’ll be able to teach his sister all the cool things he knows. The whole family is taking a one day, "sibling course" in a few weeks where we’ll all get a tour of the hospital’s maternity ward, and he’ll learn how to diaper his favorite stuffed monkey.

Yet I still worry about the rug being pulled out from under him. I guess it’s inevitable. And he’ll be unhappy, or confused, or displeased, or not cool with it. And then he’ll adjust. But it hurts me to know I hurt him. And I like to think I’m not doing it on purpose. But the pregnancy was purposeful. The decision to grow the family was purposeful. My choices to sit in my chair and not stagger to the floor to play Lincoln Logs are purposeful. But not malicious. It seems silly to even point that out, but I feel like I have to. I feel this overwhelming guilt to confess that I’m not a super mom right now.

And where the guilt comes from, I don’t know. I guess it’s just part of the mommy thing. But I need him to know that even if I sit in a chair all day and only half-assed play dinosaurs with him, it’s not because I love him any less. I guess I could just tell him that (without the "ass" part) and see what he says. When he writes his tell-all memoir in 20 years, I’ll find out if the straightforward approach worked.

Oh man, forget about pimps. It’s hard out here for a mama.

What I didn’t do today

wily temptation
trough of chocolate booty
so beguiling, wrong

I did not eat an entire half dozen, chocolate iced, Krispy Kreme donuts today!

Well, I haven’t eaten the whole half dozen yet.

Shit. It’s only 2:00. I’m so gonna eat that whole half dozen before tonight.

Nevermind.

What do YOU do?

a smile and a shrug
is what people expect when
they ask what you do?

I was reading Marrit Ingman’s new column over at Austinmama, and she got me to thinking. No one ever asks me what I do anymore. It’s not like I go to a lot of social functions where the question comes up all the time, but even so. When I go to the doctor’s office, when I get my hair cut, when I meet anyone for the first time and all of the usual pleasantries are exchanged, no one ever asks, "So what do you do?"

Do all stay-at-home moms smell of paste and burned cookies and therefore surreptitiously inform people of "what we do" before we are even asked? Is there some kind of vibe? Are folks afraid I might whip out a wallet full of baby pictures and bore them all to tears while they’d rather be bored to tears by a conversation on high-tech marketing tactics?

Sometimes I’d like to be asked what I do. And not so I can make the tired bon-bon joke. I’d like to really, seriously talk about what it’s like to try and make a living as a for real and true writer. I’d like to talk about career paths for women who work AND stay at home. I’d like people to understand that staying at home doesn’t mean I’ve suddenly lost all capabilities of having a conversation about Web 2.0 technology or about the latest trends in book publishing or reasons why the US version of The Office is nowhere near as funny as the UK version.

I don’t know that people immediately assume moms who stay-at-home don’t have things to talk about other than their kids, and I’d like to hope this isn’t the case. But I miss being asked what my opinion is. I miss being able to brag about what I do.

And I don’t mean to sound like like I DON’T want to brag about the wee one and his accomplishments, because, obviously, I enjoy doing that very much. I just don’t think it should be assumed that a woman who stays at home with her children only "does" that everyday.

I want to meet someone, smile awkwardly, listen to their question and answer, "I’m a mama and a writer, what do you do?"

And then I will make a tired bon-bon joke.