Monday, January 25, 2010
When I graduated from college I got a cat, I thought how wonderful it would be to have this sweet little thing to cuddle with on my lap while I’m at home. I had the cat for about a month before I realized that I never sit. I’m usually up cleaning, cooking, arting always doing something. (Except when I was pregnant, then I sat a lot….) I barely ever actually had a lap.
Babies often require laps, of different kinds for different reasons. Some to lie on while you nurse, others to be propped on while you make faces at them, other to be rocked to sleep on. Babies require a lot. Most of all they require you and your attention. Now Emma is still napping for most of the day and I can run around and throw dishes and laundry about. I still have yet to pull out my brushes and paint and create in that way.
I remember the dusk of one day in my house in Chicago, my roommate asked me if I had had a good day, I responded that I had. Her next question was, ‘Did you get a lot of stuff done?’ I kind of balked at this question. Is that the measure of a good day? Is the hour I spent talking to a friend on the phone is that worthy of my time. Did I get social stuff done? Does that count?
Emma has made me realize that I have an insatiable desire to create. I want to make my mark on this world, and do something for the record books. I also have this need ‘to do’ things. To get stuff done. In my head I have this rule that I can only read for pleasure or watch TV after 7pm, before that it’s task time. I have even felt that I shouldn’t even watch that much TV. I have found myself spinning a bit with having a child. What does getting ‘stuff done’ mean? What can I accomplish in a day? What are accomplishments that are worthy? How do I understand a day where I spent most of the day nursing and rocking my baby? How do I reconcile just letting her sit on me and nap for an hour or two?
Every now and then I will pawn her off on my husband while I go do some monumentally important task that needs my attention right now or the world will cease to spin, like doing the dishes or peeing. I feel a slight pang of guilt, but then I rationalize those dishes need doing and after all I can’t hold my pee all day long. Emma’s only two months old and really they don’t do much at this stage, she smiles and makes noises and can hold her head up, but that’s really about it, so after ten minutes of heart fluttering cooing she usually gets zonky and stops, this is about when I try to prop her up on a pillow or find willing arms. Then I feel like a dog. With all these important tasks, pieces of words to write or art to make I find it hard to focus on smiling for more than that. Still feeling like a dog as I think all these things. To compound all this usually when Scott is holding her she does something for the first time, like give her first social smile. I am totally in denial that he got the first smile. Or hold onto a toy. Then this mom feels like absolute crap. Dog crap to be accurate.
There is truth to needing to get ‘stuff done,’ dishes do need washing and peeing does need to happen. I am beginning to think that we are missing so much when we let that rule our understanding of success. By being so focused on stuff I miss out on her. Maybe ‘stuff’ should watching my baby and talking to my friend, or my husband for that matter. My baby is already teaching me to stop and smell the proverbial roses, or rock the baby. I think it may be a time in my life where I learn to sit; maybe I should get a lap dog….or a cat….or a baby.