When I wrote before, I was just beginning to process being a working mom. Now I am the only mother of a young child (under 3) working at my organization. It’s a weird place to be, and often, it’s a source of internal strife.
My morning alarm clock is the sound of my toddler saying, “Wake up! Wake up! or “Get up!” or simply, “Aaahhhhhhabbbbbaaaaaaaaaaa up down! Airplane!” My limbs are limp from a dose of melatonin. Something clicked all weird in my brain over the past month or so, and I have insomnia. This makes for a slow dragging in the morning, until I’ve made my tea.
If it’s my morning, I go in, milk in hand, lift my child from his crib and into my arms. I sit down in our glider and watch my baby as he gulps, wide eyed and serious. He twirls his hair and makes contented noises as he drinks. This reminds me of when he would nurse late at night and hum, “Um, um um” as he drank. It reminds me that, even at over 30 inches tall and 30 pounds, he is still such a baby. “All done!” he trumpets. He’ll hug me for a moment, maybe let me sing, and then he has to get down quick to find his book, his trains, his elephant and run, quickly, away from me.
I struggle to get him and myself ready in the morning. I never fail to think about being home with him, and how I wouldn’t have to change out of my pajamas or force him out of his before noon. But I carry on. He fights me and sometimes he hits. I look him in the eye and tell him to say he’s sorry. “Sowy,” he says, looking away again. “Kiss?” He kisses me, and grabs for his truck.
After wrangling him into clothes and talking about his shirt — the color, and if there is a snake or a firetruck or a puppy on the front of it — we wrangle shoes on. He spreads his toes, trying to help. It does not help. By this point, I have grabbed something from my floor that looks reasonably professional, and I put it on. My hair looks weird. I never wear make up. I’m not trying to impress anyone, and I figure my husband is probably already impressed. I mean, look at this baby. We did that. That’s impressive.
I coax him out to the car. “Sam,” I say, “Let’s go outside! I bet we can see a school bus! Or the garbage truck!” Sometimes he is fooled. Other times, he remembers we are going to day care. If we are lucky, we see a bus or a dog when we get outside, and outside is exciting. If we are unlucky, the sun is too bright or the rain is too cold, and the indignity of being a toddler is simply too much. I have to hoist him into his car seat, a rabid monkey, red-faced and arching his back, all his tiny muscles straining against me, screams piercing the humid morning air. “Sam!” I say, sweating, my hair even weirder, “Let’s sing! We can listen to music! Florence and the Machine!”
“Machine! Music! Song! Music! Sooonnnggggggg…. MUUUUUSSIIIIICCCCCC!” I hustle to get the car started and I plug in my music. It starts. He goes silent for the rest of the ride, listening. Near day care, he starts to sing. “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Ooooooooooooowwaaaaaa!” He says. Tears may or may not come to my eyes.
Sam may or may not refuse to walk down the stairs to greet the other children at day care. He may or may not wail when I leave. He may or may not hold onto my legs for dear life. Drop off is a crap shoot.
I get in the car and drive to work. “Au revoir,” I call. “Au revoir, Camilla! You see, you can’t hear him crying anymore! He is playing!”
I blast “Shake it Out” on the short drive to work. Traffic is bad. I think to myself that I’m glad I don’t give a shit if the music I listen to is cool. Why did I ever care about that? I sing, badly. It is wonderful.
When I get to work, my advisee comes by my desk. She tells me that it is hard to leave her little girl at day care, and she thinks about her all the time. My advisee is funny and loud. I understand her. I tell her I will bring her extra diapers, when I remember.
When I pick Sam up from day care, he doesn’t want to leave. But in the car, we listen to music, and we sing. He watches Eric play the guitar in wonder when we arrive home. “Ditar!”
We dance in the kitchen while I am making dinner. He throws all of the food I have made from his highchair onto the floor, or feeds it to the dog. He asks for his hand to be wiped. “Hand?” he says.
When we put him to bed, he drinks milk again, contented, hungry, wide-eyed. He asks me to sing to him, Eric to tell him about his fire truck. We read stories. “Bed?” he says. He rolls over and goes to sleep, smiling.
Welcome to the Savvy Mom Space
I’m a liberal feminist that believes that liberal, feminist ideals should gel with embracing your gender and motherhood (if that’s what you feel like doing). I support all kinds of moms and dads and parents. Oh and, although I totally love that natural vibe and not harming the environment, I supplement my organic milk and fresh fruits and veggies with the occasional Twix, the frequent Oreo, and the daily Coke Zero. I’m opinionated, not easily offended, and a loudmouth in person and on the internet. I am what I am. Welcome.