So I’ve been at this parenting thing for four years now (five if you count pregnancy) and have to tell you: it’s a demanding gig.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids to pieces, but it’s like doing a job you love while being on call 24/7, without weekends, vacations or sick leave. The fact that my children fill my life with heartwarming wonderment doesn’t meant I don’t long to sleep in every once in a while or pee by myself.
It’s especially rough when you’re trying hard to be a good parent, because 1) you never get any promotions, raises, or ego-boosting progress reports, and 2) no matter what you do, your choices WILL be criticized (“You actually let your daughter RUN AROUND WITHOUT SHOES? Well, with that kind of blatant disregard for social standards, I guess we’ll have YOU to thank for draining our tax dollars when she ends up in prison. Now ex-squeeze me while I spend my weekend dancing and drinking to oblivion while you’re scraping dried rice off the wall.”)
I had surgery recently. Nothing major or life-threatening, but it does mean I can’t use my shoulder muscles to pick up anything heavy for several weeks, which is a problem when you have two 30+ pound toddlers running around the house. I can’t lift them into car seats or grab them before they dive off the roof.
My parents have very generously offered to drop them off at preschool then look after them until my husband picks them up after work while I’m recovering.
So my kids are getting lots of grandma and grandpa time, which looks something like this:
It also means that I’m getting the first “Me-Time” I’ve had in 4+ years, unless you count those few days I was in the hospital squeezing out Bridget. Which I don’t.
And what does Me-Time look like?
It ain’t pretty, folks.
Normally, I’m the kind of mom that buys organic meat and vegetables for home-cooked meals that I expect everyone to sit down at the table to eat. Yes, THAT kind of mom.
I did pre- and post-natal yoga, breastfed and blended my own baby food (with dashes of cinnamon) and cook elaborate meals that my kids stare at as though expecting exploding worms to come wriggling out of them. I know my husband secretly thinks I’m crazy for all the effort and sometimes I suspect he’s right, especially when scraping said meals off the floor.
It’s a lot of work, so I was really looking forward to the break, when I would finally get a chance to meditate and exercise and read all of those good books that had been piling up. Because that’s what I thought my vacation would look like.
What does it actually look like? Me sleeping in late for two weeks straight while wearing sweats, popping painkillers, and cramming rice krispie squares into my face-hole.
Yep, you read that right. This has been a nonstop slumming marathon of Doc Martin episodes, video games and leftover Halloween candy.
Also writing. As a freelance writer, I’m always trying to stuff paragraphs in-between colorful episodes of child whimsy, so I was looking forward to writing without distraction.
Instead, I’ve ended up blogging every day because it’s fun.
So fun, in fact, that when my stomach starts making outrageous demands about getting something to eat, it really ticks me off.
I’m in The Zone. I’m emptying out this emotional backlog and don’t want to stop what I’m doing for tedious crap like feeding myself. Know your place, belly. Don’t tell me what to do.
When my brain starts getting foggier and head begins to pound, though, I realize I have to do something. But I can’t be bothered to do anything as elaborate as smearing peanut butter on a slice of bread. Instead, I end up grabbing sodas or leftover snickerdoodles because they mean quick sugars, the fastest route to shutting my stomach the hell up, with the least effort.
It’s been ugly, like that scene in Chocolat where the Mayor is all Puritanical about chocolate-eating until he loses his sh1t one night and is discovered in the chocolate shop window the next morning, passed out and smeared in chocolate.
So today, feeling a little guilty about treating my body like a back-alley dumpster, I decided to step things up a notch by heating up some frozen food for lunch. Digging through our freezer, I discovered some stuff my husband bought for quick meals.
I decided on a bunch of Red Baron mini pepperoni pizzas (made with pork, chicken, AND beef) and figured I’d take the high road by actually heating them up in a conventional oven instead of popping them in the microwave like an animal.
I flipped the box over to read the instructions, whereupon the box told me to slap the pizzas on a cookie sheet and bake in a 375 degree oven for 16 to 18 minutes. But here’s the thing: it says I can cook four pieces at a time OR the full eight pieces.
What kind of control-freak crap is this, pizza box?
Cooking four is okay. Cooking eight is okay.
But five? SIX?
In six lies madness.
Don’t tell me what to do, pizza box.