Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chain of Fools?

I remember someone telling me that the first three months of motherhood are the hardest. You pay your dues in infancy then develop a bit of a life for yourself again when they reach school age. What rubbish! Oh sure, you can plan your week like you’ve got from 9 till 3 to yourself, go food shopping alone, start your 5 loads of laundry, pay bills, slip in a manicure or, dare I say it, have lunch with a friend – but don’t think it can’t all be taken away in a nanosecond. The leash of motherhood may be pretty (some of you have bedazzled it in rhinestones- you know who you are) but it is SHORT. Kid gets sick - YANK; Snow Day – YANK; I volunteered for what now? – YANK.

There are whole, phenomenal days when I feel like I have mastered it: the morning goes smoothly, lunches are made, bags are packed, someone says something thoughtful to somebody else and I think (phew) finally, I get how to do this. Without yelling too! But it is a false sense of security. Within an unreasonably short amount of time we have returned to complete and utter Greek-mythological chaos.

My first foray back into the workplace after 9 years, failed spectacularly. I was heading into the city to work for the day (hours of ironing were involved). I had all the kids ready to go to school/friend’s houses and was performing last-minute ablutions (which, honestly, is when things usually go wrong) and my son ran right through an interior glass door lacerating his forearm from wrist to elbow. Seriously, I can’t have two minutes to use the bathroom in the morning????!!! I called the taxi company, I called my boss, and I drove like an idiot to the hospital. Thankfully, he didn’t do any permanent damage and was the epitome of bravery. And, yes, my first call should have been an ambulance.

I have such a tenuous grip on freedom that it’s hard to make decisions well sometimes, like when your child says they don’t feel well but there are no apparent symptoms. Do I keep them home or do I not? Do I go to the doctor or do I not? I do go and it’s just a virus. I tell my daughter she’ll be fine and then she develops bronchitis. Why can’t they invent one of those medical scanners they had in Star Trek which tells you EXACTLY and IMMEDIATELY what’s wrong with you and sell them at a ridiculously low price at participating drug stores? Fact is, I should have become – or married – a doctor.

Before you condemn me to 30 lashings with a wet noodle and perhaps dial Children’s Services, I get that this is what I signed up for. I’m just griping about some of the fine print. I love being a parent and my kids are great people. I read somewhere that you must stop and savor your children every moment you get because the days of childhood are long but the years are short. Fine, but some days are just harder to palate than others.

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