that we read this month.
Everyone who was participating in the Book Binge? Get your lists organized, because tomorrow’s the day!
“Here she is. Gotta go. Boys have to get to their bus. Philip’s away for a few days and I’m a single mother and it’s just so hard.”
All this is delivered in her usual quiet but rapid-fire way. She’s looking considerably harried. I smile sympathetically and ask when Philip will be back.
“He’s gone for three days. He’ll be back on Sunday evening.”
A few seconds more commiseration and off she flies, secure in the sympathy of another woman.
Except she’s not getting it. Not really. Not from me.
Not her fault. She doesn’t know.
She’s on her own with three kids for three days. That’s all. Not a cakewalk, but not verge-of-desperation, either. She may complain about her husband, but it this is telling: she misses him when he’s gone.
I’m now in a wonderful long-term partnership (we’re getting married next month!) but I’ve been a single mother of three. I’ve also been a married single mother of three.
What’s a ‘married single’? A married single has a husband in theory – and we will not discount the advantages of having someone to pay the bills – but really, he’s an absence, not a presence. He’ll work 70, 80, 90 hours a week. Because he’s tired and stressed, he’ll be short-tempered when he is home. Because he works (while, presumably, you sit at home with the three kids watching TV and eating bon-bons) the children have to be kept quiet when he’s around. And there can’t be any mess, because that interferes with his ability to relax.
And you can’t expect him to assist with cooking or cleaning. And he doesn’t have time “right now” (and it’s always “right now”) to talk with you. And he’s too tired “right now” to play with the kids. And when the children wake at night, you deal.
And even when you get a ‘real’ job, and are also working outside the home, all this remains your job. Of course you’re the one who found the caregiver, and who interacts with her, who gets the kids there and picks them up. And you’re still getting up in the night with nightmares and wet beds, and you’re still keeping them quiet because daddy is tired from work. And it’s never a good time “right now” for him to leave work when a child spews all over the caregiver’s living room floor.
(And sometimes, if you’re truly unlucky, when things are really bad, he may even find it necessary to express his tensions not just with shouting but with pushing, slapping, kicking, and punching.)
That’s a married single. Did I miss him when he travelled? Not so’s you’d notice, no.
Nope. My harried client has nothing to complain about. But she doesn’t know that. And you know what? I hope she never does.
“Anna, you little noodle, get your foot out of the kleenex box.”
“Why?” (My good example? My refusal to tolerate sarcasm? My insistence that every interaction, even conflict, can be conducted with respect?)
“Every time we want to diss someone, we end up calling them ‘meatball’ or ‘wumpus’ or ‘noodle’ or ‘goober’. Words like that just don’t work!”
Ha. I am succeeding as a mother.
*This being something the kids will do for entertainment. As was in the beginning, and is now and ever shall be, world without end. In other words: Same game, new name.
Or so they say…
Consider this pingback* I received this week:
HerFirstAnalSex » Blog Archive » Motivation for the Inert | youdon’tneedtheirURL.html
[…] baby, you’ve convinced me. Let’s get our butts out there… http://daycaredaze.wordpress.com/2007/04/1…Technorati Tags: butt, […]
Real, actual ‘baby’, and footwear, not backsides? Aren’t some butt-happy people going to be disappointed when they get here? Scrape-bots can be so undiscerning. Heh.
*notification one gets when one’s post has been linked on some other site.
Emma and I are in the park. Emma has taken Nigel and Malli (the Big Kids) across to the Big Kid play structure while I remain with the littlies at the Baby Play Structure.
Rather than scream from one end of the park to the other, when it’s time to go I give Emma a call. From my cell phone to hers. (Spoiled and effete, I know, I know.) My cell phone has a dignified and retro old-black-dial-phone ring. Emma’s has some bizarre, frenetic and raucous – though catchy – modern
I wait for Emma to pick up. Suddenly, across the playground, Nigel starts to do the Whirling Dervish. Spinning round and round, swatting at his head, yelling. A bee? A piece of grit in his… ear? Except he’s not crying. From where I stand, it looks like he’s laughing.
Emma certainly is. She’s practically doubled over with it. She does manage to stagger over to Nigel, though, and … pulls her cell phone out from his hood. When you don’t have pockets, toddler hoods make great storage. Until they start to sing and dance…
How’s it going??
…to build a country in.
Remember last Monday?
Well, cast an eye over the forecast for next Monday:
(Conversion calculator here, for those who have yet to catch up with the rest of us.)
Nigel lies on the floor in front of me, a fresh diaper under his newly-clean bottom. We’re reached an impasse: his hand is firmly attached to his nether bits.
“Okay, Nigel. Let go of your penis so I can close your diaper.”
“Dat’s not my penis, dat’s my doodle.”
“At Mary’s house, we call it a penis, okay?”
“O-tay. Is a penis.”
“Yes, it is. Good man.”
“So, Mr. Man. You planning on letting go of that thing any time soon?”
He removes his hand, but gazes at me sternly.
“Mahwee. Is not a thing. Is my penis!!“