Yes, it has finally happened: I am now capable of walking through my kitchen, feeling that my bare feet are picking up little pieces of crumb and debris, and- gasp!- keep right on walking into the computer room and plop myself down to websurf instead of scrambling to fetch the broom and mop like some kind of deranged maid.
Maybe this is a bad thing, but some of my stay-at-home mom guilt must finally be slipping away, allowing me to sit idly at the computer for hours on end, oblivious to the pile of dirty dishes and granola bar wrappers surrounding me. (After rereading this sentence, it seems that yes, indeed, no "maybe" about it, this IS a bad thing.) For the past nine months, I have always had this nagging fear in the back of my mind that someone is going to catch on to the fact that my job is actually not that hard! That, especially in the early months of Addy's life, I had hours on end to do with whatever I pleased. I just had this vision of my husband, returning home from work one day to tap me on the shoulder and say ever so gently, "Um, hon? The gig it up."
And so, acutely aware of my husband and most of the other moms I knew who were out there somewhere in the land of working people, slurping coffee and multitasking, I resisted the urge to watch daytime television (okay, I resisted the urge to watch it while sitting- I left it on, but simultaneously bustled around with cleaning supplies and laundry baskets.) And I admittedly got a little OCD about it (how many times a week does the living room need to be dusted? As many times as you see a lone strand of dog hair lying on the coffee table, that's how many!) I was high on the scent of orange oil Pledge and Lysol antibacterial wipes.
But now, in these days when Addy's naps and fewer and shorter, and I spend a great deal of my time spooning food into her open, bird-like mouth and then wiping it off of every surface in a five foot radius, I find that my instinct is to use those precious naptimes not to scrub the kitchen, but to drink tea and read parenting journals on BabyCenter. And I hardly even feel a flicker of guilt about it.
But I suspect that I may be trading one obsessive-compulsive tendency for another: so in love am I with my favorite online journal (Bringing Up Ben and Birdy, which can be found at aforementioned BabyCenter) that I would prefer to sit and read endlessly about this family that I do not know or care about than to actually talk on the phone to someone in my own circle of family and friends. That's a little weird too, right?
I think my problem is that I am not capable of managing my own time in a reasonable, balanced way without someone standing over my shoulder. I am either working myself into a sweaty, self-righteous cleaning frenzy or I am lying around in my pajamas all day, moving away from the computer only to change diapers and dole out fruit puffs. (I am exaggerating, but not as much as I wish.) And I know, I know, the solution is a detailed schedule to which I, the mama, am devoted, with regular mealtimes and bedtimes and bathtimes and play/mental stimulation times. But I am just such an unscheduled, follow the spirit kind of person that I find this directly in opposition of my nature.
Surely, though, there is a happy medium. I will never be the woman with the day planner, true. But that doesn't mean I have to be the unshowered, ratty-haired trailer trash sorting through the sink full of dirty dishes for the "cleanest" bottle, does it?
Oy vey. I'll let you know how it goes. Right now I'm going to go do the dishes- by which I mean, unload the dishwasher just in time to load it back up with the dirty dishes that have been accumulating in the sink while the clean ones sat, pristine and untouched, still in the dishwasher. How sad am I?!