Friday, October 3, 2014
Thursday, October 2, 2014
I woke up this morning to this
I then battled the desire to yell and the need to motivate 3 persistently distractible boys to do 4 tasks in 45 minutes:
1. Get the fuck dressed.
2. Brush the damn teeth.
4. Leave the bloody house.
In the process, Matthew needed 5 reminders to do #1 and lost 4 days of screen time. Ayden needed to be admonished to get OFF THE DAMN STILTS 8 times and needed reminders for all 4 steps. Riley did nothing without prodding. I lost my battle to the desire to yell several times.
There has to be a way to get these fuckers to focus. We have reward charts and routines, alarm clocks and clear expectations. Some days it comes together but most days, it looks like I'm pushing three boulders up a hill at the same time. While making lunches and navigating a mess that looks like a herd of crows tore apart a garbage can.
I didn't sign up for this! I signed up for baby cuddles and preschoolers making applesauce with me and nighttime cuddles and artwork that says "I love mommy." I signed up for cheering on dramas and going to science fairs. Not hating the messy, impossible task of getting kids out the door fed and dressed. Not worrying about Oppositional Defiance and ten year olds the size of four year olds and emotionally distraught six year olds and eleven year old preteen arguments over syntactical omissions that make him believe he can distract me or win an argument over a technicality.
I didn't sign up for the overwhelming personal identity crisis I've been wrestling since last fall, where I'm rethinking (too late) my choice to have a large family instead of other things. I could have done more with dance if Ayden hadn't come along when he did. I could have focused on my career more and been earning an full time salary for the past seven years instead of choosing to have my career sputter and then finally stop, mid sentence, because I wanted to be around more for my kids. I could have made so much more art.
Until this point, I've never understood people who choose not to have kids. I respect their right to choose in theory, but in reality the choice dumbfounded me. How can you choose anything over people? How can you resist the babies? Why would you want to? How does life have meaning and multiple dimensions without multiple generations running around, enriching each others' lives? I mean, I'm a good feminist and all, so I respected the right to choose, I just so profoundly didn't identify with it.
What I didn't really understand is the amount of work involved. How all consumed and tired and wrinkled and sagged out and overweight and underqualified for the job I would feel, and how ten years would go by in a heartbeat and suddenly I would feel young inside but on the outside irrelevant and hyposexualized and have nothing to show for it that is wholly mine. How the drudgery would get to me. How my retinas would blister from the stress of feeding and sheltering the proginy with not enough money. How I might feel lost watching my coworkers lap me career wise while my conviction that the proverbs about time with your children being something you will never regret crumbles around me and tears roll down my face.
I'm not saying I regret any of these little people in my life. I'm not saying I did it poorly or that any of this is irreparable. But I am saying that some days it is hard. Some days I wonder if a parallel path would have been all that bad, and if saving more lives or creating more art could have been something I focused more energy on. Some days I love these children but I don't really like them that much and I'm restless.
Being a feminist is hard. Being a feminist breeder is harder. So is holding on to that magic in the sunrise while I'm cleaning up toilet water before I've even had a chance to start my coffee.
That is all.