Wednesday night Hawk was in his play zone happily banging on pots and pans. I was split into about a dozen people, simultaneously making dinner, picking up toys he tossed over the edge, cleaning, thinking about my next 400 things I had to do. At this moment I happened to be wielding a knife. A big, fat dull knife. And a stubborn, slippery onion. You can figure out the rest.
Lots of blood, a good amount of pain, but nothing too horrendous. I didn't need stitches or a trip to the ER. As I ran my finger under water in the kitchen sink I spied the mess of rice under Hawk's highchair that I hadn't swept up yet. So, I quickly wrapped my bloody finger in paper towels and tape and swept up the rice one-handed.
I felt delirious. I had one hand held above my heart with a throbbing, pulsing fingertip and a broom in the other. Pans on the stove top, a vocal toddler talking to me, a hundred things going through my mind: what time will anthony be home? my feet hurt. the floor's a mess. is it bath time, yet? oh god, i'm still so sore. why am i sweeping when 30 seconds ago i spurted blood?? damn, my finger hurts! shit, i didn't finish chopping that onion.
Inside, I was laughing and crying like a crazy person. On the outside I was resolute and all business. I couldn't afford not to be all business. If I wasn't a housewife soldier I'd break down sobbing. For a moment I thought, "Is this really my life? Constant cleaning, cooking, laundry, shopping, cleaning, cooking, laundry, shopping?" Then, the requisite wave of guilt washed over me. Hawk is here, sweet and pure. Cherub like in every way. I don't resent his existence even a little, but I'm beginning to resent mine.
I want a vacation from my life.
A place I can go where I don't have to clean up after my toddler tornado every hour of every day. A place where all I have to do is give him his food, not research it, shop for it, and prepare it. A place where the bed gets magically made, along with the floors cleaned, the fridge stocked up, and the dishes cleaned. A place where all the bills are paid for, the budget balanced for me. Just for a few days. That's all I want.
I want to be with my son and play with him and teach him and run around, but I don't want to have to worry about a goddamned other thing in my life.
I'm run down and disenchanted with what I've built for myself here. And I'm confused. How can I at once be content and unhappy? Because I am. I am wholly content with Rooster and our little family. We have money in the bank, a wonderful relationship, a great house, all the trimmings. We're just missing the picket fence. But yet, I'm unhappy with the repetition, the isolation, the burden of complete responsibility. I need a fucking break.
How does a stay-at-home mom get a break, anyway?? At what point did I learn that I had to do it all? And do it all perfectly? I'm running out of steam.
Rooster's always begging me to relax, to not multi-task, to just CHILL. I can't NOT multi-task. I can't NOT do, do, do. There are things to be done, damnit! At any given moment in the day I can think of a dozen things that need my attention. It drives him batty.
When Rooster's home, and he's not moving, he's napping. I call it Manertia (as in, Man Inertia). My step-dad has a similar propensity for napping, as does my sister's fiancé. I'm not throwing them under the bus, by any means, but it's certainly a difference between the women and men in my family. I have friends whose men do similar things. When Rooster isn't working or doing something around the house like mowing the lawn, he is napping. If he isn't moving his body to do some thing, whatever it may be, he's napping. I have hundreds of pictures of him asleep around the house: on our bed, the love seat, the floor, the couch, the chair, wherever he's overcome with the need to close his eyes he does.
And if he naps and awakens surprised that he dozed off he doesn't feel bad about it. He figures he needed it and goes about his day. When he's so tired he can't keep his eyes open he doesn't question his ability as a man, a father, or a husband. He thinks, "Hmm. Guess I was pretty tired," scratches his butt, sniffs, and goes on his merry way. - Well, not really. I added the butt scratching part.
It is such a gift, this idea we bestow upon little boys and young men, that they don't have to do it all and that it's ok; that their needs are legitimate and worth nurturing. Little girls are conditioned to take care of everyone first, themselves last. What they need and feel can always take a backseat to other things, like the dishes. To do so means you love purely, fiercely, and wholeheartedly, right? Well, yeah, ok, I guess, but what about me??
Why do I still let this be my m.o.? After years of feminist, anthropological, and sociological research and talking to every girlfriend I have who struggles with the exact. same. thing. You'd think I would have figured out how to slow the fuck down for myself by now. But you'd be wrong.
I wonder if it's as simple as taking a nap when I felt like it. If that could be my break. If I listened more closely to my body's cues for rest I might not feel so overwhelmed and run down. But then I think back to cutting my finger and sweeping up the rice. I had to sweep up the rice. I'm not willing to let that kind of crap just lay around on my floor. - See? The m.o. is still there.
Having said all this, I'm feeling better.Rooster hasn't snored in three nights and so I've gotten large chunks of sleep as opposed to an hour here, an hour there. He didn't always snore. It's a new development in the last 6 months. I don't know how all those women out there can say, "I can't fall asleep without the sound of my husband snoring!" Bless their little hearts, 'cuz I want to push Rooster right out of the bed when he snores. I've been known to kick him out to the couch some nights. It's like having a newborn all over again. But like I said, it's been better the last three nights, so I feel a bit more rejuvenated.
And talking about this weight I've been feeling has helped immensely.Rooster is a wonderful partner who always knows when to just hold me and say, "It's tough right now, but we'll get through it." He adds immeasurable contentedness to my life and I'm lucky to know him. Sharing my feelings means I don't feel quite as overwhelmed by a nebulous and secret dark cloud. I'm beginning to identify it. Now, I just gotta keep working towards sweeping it away.