Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Being a Mom

I got up at 5:30 this morning to write. I am determined to turn writing into a career but barely find the time. My days are filled with housekeeping and mothering.

For my seven-year-old, it’s off to school first thing most days, then picking her up, getting her homework done, engaging in her games of pretend – “pretend I’m your puppy” “pretend this is our new baby sister” – and fielding her increasingly difficult questions about the shocking things they show on TV these days.

Caring for my two-year-old is much more time consuming. He’s an eating, growing machine. He’s also a getting-into-trouble, not-listening, and putting-himself-in danger-frequently machine. Between preparing meals and snacks for him, and saving him from various tragedies throughout each day, I somehow get the dishes done and even wash the floor occasionally. And he naps, so for one to two hours I am free to bathe, write, pole dance, or read – the things I long to do each day.

Twice a week I get my two-year-old niece too. I love these days. They force me to revel in my motherhood. All day it’s kisses and hugs and games and snacks. On nice days we go to the park. On rainy days, we sometimes go to the play area at McDonalds. I revel in the cuteness of two toddlers chatting to each other and fighting over toys. I also cherish the time I get to spend with my niece, getting to know her. I wouldn’t think to ask for money to babysit her. The reward of spending time with her far exceeds any monetary value. In fact, I dread the day when her mom isn’t working out here anymore and my weekly visits come to an end. I hope she’ll remember how close we’ve become.

On days when my niece is here, there are no naps. She won’t nap for me, and my son won’t nap when she’s here. He naps after she leaves, but by then I’m so worn out all I can do is lie on the couch and drool. In fact, lying on the couch drooling is what I do at the end of every day.

My partner goes to work all day, sometimes in the pouring rain, working his ass off doing hard labour. He builds houses from 7 am till 5 pm every day expending an enormous amount of physical energy. And yet, each night, when we’ve finally completed the end of the day routine – homework, dinner, bathtime, teeth brushing, pyjamas, story, and bed – and we find ourselves alone with thoughts of lovemaking in our minds…I am the exhausted one. I am the one who drags my feet into bed at 9 o’clock and passes out immediately, apologizing for yet another opportunity for sex missed in exchange for sweet sleep.

Last night I mentioned this. I said he should be the one who is exhausted every night. And he awed me with his rare but appreciated understanding and said, “but yours is mental exhaustion.” And I realized he’s right. It’s an awful strain on your emotions, being a mother. Begging a two-year-old to let you put his shoes on and to please stop kicking you – or variations on that theme – all day long. Well, it’s tiring.

What am I thinking, getting up at 5:30 in the morning to write? I can barely make it through a normal day of mothering. But my desire is strong and my financial need is great, lol, so I must find a way to make this writing career happen. Maybe all this writing will release some of my mental stress and help me get through each day easier. I can hope. But for now, I must wake the children and start the day.

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