Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Random Musings

A friend of mine describes parenting as driving through the Baltimore Tunnel on your way to New York City. Before you get enter the tunnel, you're listening to music, you're singing, you have the windows rolled down...Then you get in the tunnel and suddenly you become very tense and focused. You have to drive. No radio. No chatter. You are just concentrating on getting safely through. And once you get through, then you can go have check out all the fun in New York City.

There is some dumb movie out there starring Bruce Willis and Michelle Pheiffer that came out years ago. A line in the movie haunts me. Bruce and Michelle are married, but a few kids later, their marriage is on the rocks. Bruce turns to Michelle and says, "What happened to that fun girl I used to know?"

T and I recently went to dinner at a childless friends' apartment. Not only was it totally clean, it was the most organized space I had ever seen. It was like their apartment was drawn on a piece of white paper with a gray pencil, using right angles only. I mean, even if you don't have kids, where are your months old stashes of New Yorkers that you haven't read but can bring your self to throw away? Where are your nostalgic high school sweatshirts that have more rips and more memories than your college sweatshirts right next to them that you can't possibly throw out lest you forget that one frat party that one time where you stood on the radiator and danced with P to, what was that song...?

When we returned to our own place that night strewn with colorful stuffed animals and toys that play slightly out of tune songs that get in your head for weeks, I felt a little defeated.

Whoever said women can have it all must have been a man.


I had a lovely lunch today with G and a couple of our friends at a very cool neighborhood spot full of very good looking people working on their macs and ordering second and third lattes. (Wow! No recession here!) G has the energy of someone high on cocaine, so I spent most of the time running after her, maneuvering around messenger bags and faded couches. But the day was lovely. My G is charming and happy and loving and so full of life. She is so worth all the crazy that she has made of my life.

I don't need to see New York City anytime soon.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sometimes I Throw Things

When I was a kid, my Mother, on occasion, would say through clenched teeth, "I quit motherhood!" I always picture her saying it over a basket of dirty laundry in the basement. It never sacred me. I knew it didn't mean anything, really. But now as a mama, I know that that was my Mom's way of voicing frustration with her job.

There is a little dent in the wall of G's bedroom, right behind the door knob. I don't remember the particulars now, but at some point, out of frustration, I threw the door open so wildly that I made that dent. The chipping paint stands as a symbol of a crazy moment that I prefer to dismiss with a laugh.

I have been known to throw things: cell phones, books, and most recently, I threw a raw egg against the side of the dining room wall, out of frustration.

Such actions worry my dear, stable and calm husband, concerned for my sanity. But from conversation with other mamas, I do think there is an element of crazy that comes with the territory. A mama from work confessed to throwing a glass of red wine against the wall. A friend admitted to not being able to deal with her girls after 5 in the afternoon. Tina Fey's character in "Date Night" concedes that she would like to trade her daughter for a life time of wine.

There is nothing like mamahood. Nothing.

I have never had to do anything very trying in my life: lay bricks for a living, escape genocide, survive a mud slide, so I do feel a little weak on the days that I just can't seem to pull it together and be ok with 12 hours dictated by the whims and whines of a toddler, but I do find the job pretty challenging and I wonder at the women who appear to think of motherhood as a bowl full of cherries.

I love my grl intensely. I hate that she won't let me pee in the morning without freaking out. I love that she can sing the melody to the ABCs. I hate when she demands "tunes" and then throws a fit if I play a tune not to her satisfaction. I love that my grl pats me on the back as I hold her, as if to say, "I know you're working hard mama. Thank you." I hate that she whines if I try to wash the dishes and let her play alone.

I will try very hard in the future to stop throwing things, but I know it won't be easy. But then I have to remember, anything worth it isn't really easy: triathlons, a gourmet dinner, a byline...And Mamahood is no different.

Ultimately, of course, it's better than all those things combined, even if I don't always recognize it, and even if it makes me want to throw things once in a while.