Saturday, September 29, 2012

After a while I suppose I’ll get used to the idea of marriage and children. If only it doesn’t swallow up my desires to express myself in a smug, sensuous haze. -Sylvia Plath

The laundry is coming. The laundry is coming. 

That’s what is going through my head right now. It feels like every moment as a mother is leading to only one thing – laundry. Making lunch for the preschooler equals clothes covered in hummus and finger paint tonight. Breastfeeding. Spit up on everything. Great husband. More laundry.  You get how this goes. And here I would like to insert a bow to all single mothers. 

Even as I write, the laundry is coming. Time spent writing is time not spent folding. But the laundry must keep going and as the dryer whirls, the pile on our couch grows. Sometimes, we need a moratorium on new laundry just to catch up. 

I love the moments that lead to laundry. I hate the laundry deeply.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the paradox that is motherhood. How we love all of it and hate much of it at the same time. How we want to spend every moment with our children. Or sometimes, not.

One Friday recently, after a particularly tough week in mamaland, my husband and I went out. Out for the first time in I don’t know how long, without either one of our children. It was fun and a little sad, and as we were walking around Harvard Square, I told my wonderful partner that I was sure I’d never be emotionally ready for motherhood, that it was too much for me and that I had no idea what I’d gotten myself into. His reply? “It’s a little late. You probably should have had a snake.”

But a snake wouldn’t have given me this:

It was ironic that the week after that very tough one, Ben started a five-day-a-week preschool schedule. This doesn’t actually lessen the amount of time we’ll have together, but it changes it, chops it up differently, and requires that I now, with baby in tow, drop him off in the morning. So in a world of emotional transitions, we’ve scored ourselves another one.

And we went from difficult times together to difficulties letting go. 

The first drop off went great. The second started with him asking to be carried in and ended with me crying. I don’t think you are supposed to let them see you cry, but I couldn’t help it. I’m postpartum and when I said “I’m a lucky mom,” he said, “I’m lucky too.”  And then we clung to each other.  

And then, his teacher gave us this book to read

After this, we exchanged stickers and I took my Kissing Hand home, where I thought of him all day. This week I’ll start some work and soon enough baby W will have his own variety of childcare, bringing more emotional tumult for me along with more pumping of breast milk and late night typing. Ah, the fun is yet to come, isn't it?

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