Thursday, March 8, 2012

29 miles to E

My Thursday started at 4:30 am. My Wednesday, too.

I'm not complaining; just stating a fact. I have a 9-month-old who has no problem getting up at oh-dark-30 because he can go back to bed an hour after he wakes up. I, however, am awake (for good) the second he makes a peep because I worry that he'll wake the neighbors with his warbling, babbling and screeching. Likely, others don't find his early-morning vocal stylings as adorable as I do, because, let's be honest: he's got me snowed. I'm sleepless, it's his fault and I totally love him for it. Stockholm Syndrome? Unapologetically.

I honestly wouldn't change my mama- status for anything, even a better night's sleep, so I'll shut up about a minute.

I work four days a week, both to save on childcare costs and to have a weekday to catch up on stuff I can only get done on a weekday--banking, doctor's appts, etc. 4-10's mean that my working days are long, both for me and for the buddy. We're often awake before the sun comes up and not home at night until after it's gone down, again. It means that my time with him while he's awake is short and consists of utilitarian things like dinner, diaper changes, bedding changes, bath time, story time, prayer and bed. It means that after he's down for the night, I have to find the energy to do things I can't do while he's awake like laundry, dinner for myself, cleaning, taking the garbage out; and that's just the stuff I can do at home. I haven't mentioned grocery shopping, working out (yeah, right), oil changes or even refueling my car.

Most days, I manage to accomplish all that I want to for him, even clipping his nails, which seem to regenerate on one finger as I move on to the next, they grow so fast. Depending on the day, anything beyond meeting his daily needs feels like a virtual impossibility. I use the dishwasher as storage for clean dishes and just take out what I need for the day. I eat cereal for every meal or don't eat at all. I buy new underwear on my lunch hour because it takes less time than laundry. I shower only on the days that his dad has him, because I know I can be a little late dropping him off in the morning, and sometimes I don't brush my teeth until I get to work. (That might have been too much self-disclosure. Oh, well, I don't have to see any of you on a daily basis and you probably won't be able to tell if I've showered when I do see you. Probably.)

The old me cringes at the things I now let slide. I never used to leave the house without makeup. Now I don't even have time to go buy it when I run out. The old me would never have people over without having vacuumed the rugs. The new me will never vacuum while my kid sleeps and guess what? When we're home these days, it's mostly in observance of nap time (mine and his) so them rugs ain't never vacuumed! Who cares, come on over! My son is currently on the floor, rocking out to "Sweet Child of Mine," the Sleepytime Tunes version, when all that used to play around here was Jimi Hendrix or Fiona Apple, the big-kid versions.

Old me certainly would never have let it get this far:

Beneath the gauge, it said, "29 miles to E." Old me would have panicked and driven immediately to a station to gas up. New me sighed, put on her seatbelt, drove to the sitter to drop off the baby, got to work to start the day, then drove to a gas station later in the day when she had time, all without running out of gas.

This is by far the hardest job I've ever had, thankless, with the longest hours and no time off. Most days, I feel like I'm running just about on empty, careening around with only 29 miles left on this tank and no filling station in sight. In spite of all my fears and shortcomings, it hasn't happened yet, and like I said before, I wouldn't change a thing.

Now I've got to go. The dishwasher could stand to be emptied, but there's some baby Bob Marley on and somebody looks like he's ready to dance.

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