cafe mama

entering the mind of the married mom

it's not easy being mommy - June 18, 2005

Today my hubbie went to his last bit of AT (Annual Training) in the morning and then came home feeling terrible. I was afraid he was coming down with the stomach bug that rocked my world last week (wondering why you haven't heard from me in a while?), but urged him to come with me to garage sales and the farmer's market, anyway.

He gamely showered and helped pack up the car, but his heart wasn't in it. He tired of the garage sale smorgasborg after about three, despite my longing looks down every side street. At the farmer's market, as I furiously spent money and gathered fresh-made goodies, he grew more tired and impatient at every step. He couldn't abide Everett's inevitable meltdown (I told him not to touch the amazingly delicious chocolate cake with his hand or his balloon sword) and was ready to haul him off to the car that instant. I had to separate the two of them and calm everyone down so I could corral my delicious treat in a cardboard cage.

When we arrived home, it was obvious my dreams of turning the boys over to daddy for the afternoon so I could devote every moment to working were for naught. I sent him to bed and started the long process of juggling a hungry baby, a not-feeling-berry-good toddler, a filthy kitchen, a cluttered living room, and, oh yes, 300 hours of work needing to get done on my lonely laptop. I was going to have to be mommy, because, after all, no one else could.

As I set Truman in the sling to breastfeed while I quietly put away dishes and microwaved hotdogs, I let myself be resentful of my husband, who just six days before had watched Everett while I slept off my bout with the terrible stomach destroying flu with Truman. He hadn't cleaned much at all, and though he'd kept me with a full glass of water and the occasional cheery thought, he spent most of the day surfing the web and watching TV.

But I'm mommy, and so I organized the silverware drawer, mentally cursing the many hands who have put utensils and baby forks and corkscrews away so inexpertly, railing in my head against the in-laws who left my best most favorite glasses outside to sprinkle their cigarette ashes over, worrying about the farm-fresh produce that surely wouldn't be turned into a lovely meal that night, wondering how to prevent my husband from my own terrible pain.

And later, I walked with both boys to the store, because Truman was fussy and couldn't be comforted sitting still, and Everett was desperate, truly at his wit's end desperate, that we drink milk NOW. We had to bring his cup to the store with us and put him in the stroller because he couldn't be slowed down by the putting on of sandals. I fed Everett orange pieces and remembered things not on my shopping list and kept under budget. As I walked home balancing Truman in the sling by holding the stroller handles at just the right angle, and I breathed in the evening air and watched the sun glint off the rain-battered roses, I realized, I'm pretty good at this mommy thing, after all.

So tonight, as I breastfed and pecked emails and listened to seminars on my laptop, occasionally shouting for Everett to come in for a (goopy poopy) diaper change or running in to feel my husband's forehead, I realized that mommy is the only way I could possibly be. It's frustrating as hell but in the end, being mommy is a pretty cool way to be.