I've been absent for a while, not for a lack of anything to say, but time to say it. The photo thing has gotten complicated. I literally have no room left on my computer. Frequently, I'll be tapping along, watching something, reading something, and BONK, up comes the "you are almost out of memory" message.
So, I've not downloaded hundreds of photos from either my little Canon or our family camera. Mister has some on his computer, and I've posted from those, but that's a bit of a hassle. I've taken to using my iPhone like mad, and posting those to flickr (because I can't sync my phone, yea?), then getting links. Yep. I'm like a tin-cup phone conversation workaround.
There's also less time. Simply less time to do everything. I'm up before the sun with Rabbit (Pickle wasn't working for me) who still isn't sleeping through the night. Much of my day has been focused on Bama and her activities, but her winter/spring classes wound down, and I realized that Rabbit needed some time. Yes, a better mother would have known this from the start, but I'll get to that. Today, for example, up at 6am (not the usual five), back down at 7:45am. Everyone up at 9:40 (how in lucky hell did that happen, I wonder, because that's definitely not our routine), then activities inside because of rain. Rabbit down by 11:45 for nap, Bama and I throw in a load of laundry, make and have lunch, she's down by 1:30 because 12:45 never happens and neither does 1pm. I go upstairs to work on the second half of dinner prep using a recipe from Ad-hoc (more on that later, as well). Rabbit, up at 2:10 followed by, "Hello!" from Bama who never fell asleep. I try to finish dinner, fold dried laundry (not put away), interact with my children, and not drop an F bomb once; required after Bama told the chihuahua on my phone to "stop fucking around." At some point, I'm asking for just five minutes. Just five minutes. It occurs to me that Rabbit is acting like he needs a nap. Because he does. Off he goes, at 5pm (what?) for his last nap. Dinner was ready by 5:45. Beef stroganoff. Time consuming but delicious. Bring me a glass of wine and cup of tea.
I'm trying not to carry my phone around everywhere. Tricky thing because it's the only phone in the house, but since reception is terrible, it's not much of a phone. It becomes a thing to look at, tap at, while Bama or Rabbit are sitting with me, rolling around, doing whatever. I'm at home, I'm far away from most of our friends and family, I check in too much at times. What am I looking for?
"Everybody sounds stoned, because they're e-mailing people the whole time they're talking to you" (Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad. p123).
It's true, we do sound stoned when we're tapping away and not talking to the person we're with. Our house is silent so often because we're online. I answer people not with my voice box, but my iPhone. Tap, tap, respond. What must that be like to our children? The youtube videos of kids mimicking their parents on the phone (uh huh, uh huh, yeah, ahahaha, really?) are a dying breed. Now, it's babies sitting in silence, poking their fingers at their teddy bears. (For the record, that's my vision. Haven't found that yet, maybe because it's sad, not funny.)
Inferiority Complex. And I'm Pissed.
I fall down online rabbit holes all the time. Popsicles. Yes, I can make those! Thirty minutes later, I've fot 10 tabs going and a sea of bookmarks. Really? For popsicles?
Those links invariably lead to one of the hundreds of mommy bloggers who I decided are like the (early) 21st Century parent's equivalent of runway models. These are women who chronicle their lives, or a slice of their lives, in a way that makes people like me feel both inspired, but really shitty. I'm sixteen and looking at Madonna. I'm 35 and looking at Heidi Klum. Inspired, shitty.
They create impossible lives on (paper). I sew! I craft! I have a special room all to myself and my perfectly folded and sorted fat quarters. I homeschool! I can! I grow arugula! I love kale chips!
Come on. My friends teased me when I vacuumed a week before Rabbit was born. A friend asked how I have time to knit these days (really, I don't. I knit a couple of rows a night). I can tweet, FB, blog my completed projects and look like a righteous mama. But, what about how my eyebrows are shaggy, I never drink a cup of hot tea for it turns cold far before I'm able to finish it off, and that nifty thing I created took days or weeks longer than it should have?
I stumbled onto a quliter's site. She'd whipped up a pillow from quilt scraps a couple of days before having a baby. Um. And I don't want to name names, but there is that very popular mommy blogger who homeschools her children (she recently had her fifth), maintains her blog, has published two books, and knits/quilts/sews. I'm efficient, she says, and I do a lot of work at night. Who cleans her house? When does she have time to have a conversation with her husband? Who washes her dishes? How does she manage a homeschool lesson, let alone the curriculum preparation?
These mommies are, in effect, supermodels. Impossible standards by which the rest of us scramble to emulate, or at least bask in their completed project, amazing children glow. Oh, I know I sound bitter and fried. But, as I said to my friend the other night, I read through one after another blogs — it started with a tweet about SewLiberated's book Growing Up sew liberated and an interview with her on Simple Homeschool; soon enough, 15 tabs, several new (to me) blogs later — "These women inspire me and make me feel wholly inadequate."
Isn't that how most of us feel when we look at Heidi Klum or Gwynneth Paltrow or (insert name here)? Women who are impossibly glamorous and put together at all times. It's easy to forget that this is what they do for a living: they look glamorous. Mommy bloggers do this for a living: they blog … about the good stuff. I appreciate that, and I don't need to know that someone else is hand-wiping all of their baseboards while the babies nap as I did yesterday, but there is an impossible standard developing emotionally and socially for women. If it was difficult to be a mother all along, compound it with new visions of Mrs. Cleaver that aren't manufactured by television studios, they are of our own making.
Do you jam? Do you knit? Do your children watch the telly? When are you buying your first Bamboletta (oh how I would love one of those for Bama and Rabbit)? When are you going to (start and) finish the wee wonderful dolls you bought the patterns for?
Anyway. This week, for the record, I knit several more rows of Bama's Nova dress and another square on the Captain's log cabin blanket (the Captain being Aunty Cake's baby boy whose named, in part, after James T. Kirk). I baked banana cereal muffins from Good to the Grain. I made braised beef short ribs, then beef stroganoff from Ad Hoc at home. I went running three times. I had friends over for a pool party. Bama started speaking French fluently and Rabbit skipped crawling and went straight to walking. (Those last two I made up.) And, I washed the baseboards by hand and mopped upstairs. I did a crapload of laundry.
I was cranky, a lot, and unsure who was benefitting from my quasi-Herculean efforts. I think we all did, to a certain degree, but I think I'll save the braised beef adventure for a weekend. Or when they are in college.