So, strangely, I am the primary breadwinner right now. Honored as I am by this position, given that I am a self-employed circus freak with two kids under 4 at home and a husband in college… sometimes it seems just… kind of …crazy? At other times, harrowing (like around the 1st of every month, if you know what I mean.) Other times, inhumane; like when my 3 year old is collapsed in a slump on the other side of the door, bawling true tears because I have unceremoniously locked him out of a room in desperation to take a client call, which came in the middle of the perfectly lovely time we were just having when he had mommy’s total attention just moments before. (Which part of “This is our livelihood” doesn’t he understand?) Thank Heavens Above that the baby is so incredibly agreeable. And doesn’t crawl yet. Or for that matter, roll over. So wherever in the apartment I dump her for a few moments -crying or not- I can know she is safe, and not going anywhere until I get back. And thank God her brother is so genuinely kind hearted I know even at his worst he is not going to do anything to injure her. Right? (Right?)
And what a rich blessing that our son is in fact so precociously intelligent, such that in spite of his delicate age I can realistically pursue my ambition of turning those client calls which unscrupulously strike at any (suddenly adulterated) moment into *opportunities* for him -bless him- to earn rewards. Rewards for submissive behavior when mommy gets robbed away. I guess? *sigh*
Two days ago when my husband came home, we were all naked in the tub. How cute is that? Your wife, toddler son and baby daughter; wiggly, wet, clean and happy. Yesterday? Not so cute. All 3 of us crying, basically. Having missed some classes so he could take the kids during my gig, he is asking me -reasonably- how recently have they eaten, slept, pooped, gone outside? For a moment I got my back up; “You want me to do all this AND get them outside? I’m already a big enough failure of a mother as it is, I don’t need you piling this guilt on me!” Thankfully we have each had some life-training recently which enabled me to realize, and to SAY, “Woops, you were just doing a basic assessment, sorry. I’m just feeling terrible right now.” Whew! Integrity and decency recovered even amidst the very trenches. *That* time anyway.
I whirl out the door in all my gig get-up glory; spit-up, breastmilk, poop and tears just moments behind me. My experience carries me again as I improvise my way into the hearts of the audience and sail successfully through another performance. And although I nearly run over one of the audience members in my race back home to nurse the baby I just heard crying over the phone, the gig -as ever- puts me right and makes me feel human again. (Damn, I really could not pursue a different career, even if -as in my fantasy- it would be more lucrative.)
AND, THEN, AND… I get home and lo! My family is, of course, FINE. Even the baby. I feed the baby boob and daddy feeds us all steak. Yep steak. (This was one of our aspirations with the 2nd child; to achieve success with breastfeeding such that we could buy *steak* at CostCo instead of *formula.* Guess which is more expensive?) Daddy goes back to school for his late night class, my daughter feeds, my son regales me with Playdough creations. Then I get BOTH kids to bed (well, to sleep anyway; the baby I played where she layed, on the loveseat). And then? THEN? Nothing. From abject chaos earlier in the day, empathetically labeled by my mother as “intractable,” to total peace and downtime, at home, alone. By myself! I hadn’t realized what blessing it could be to have Dear Husband away at night class. You know what I did? (NO I didn’t email clients or draft contracts. My mind is in a suspended, floaty state after performing, not to mention MUSH once the kids’ are finally in bed; office work is OFF the table at this time.) I BRUSHED my hair. Literally I’m 40 years old and it occurs to me that brushing your hair actually makes it look neater, and that perhaps this is something I could/should add to my repertoire as I age. I also ATE ICE CREAM, fiddled with some photos and WATCHED TV. I even rewound and played an excellent commercial about 20 times, deconstructing it for every ounce of its performance value. Moreover I did this -and this is the real kicker and why any complaints about the aforementioned chaos are null and void- … I did this knowing my kids would be sleeping all night, because… (and I am always sheepish, afraid even, to admit this) that’s what my kids DO. They sleep through the night.
And so, voila. What are the chances I would be the luckiest woman on earth? And that my present life could possibly be -in spite of all appearances- at least at times, tractable.