May tends to be one of those months full of weddings and graduations and end-of-year parties. Ours definitely was. It also coincided with my having one of my busiest freelance writing months ever. Last fall I handled the 20-30 hour work weeks on top of being a full-time stay-at-home mom rather badly. I was cranky and exhausted and concluded it all by coming down with two weeks worth of not-the-swine-flu.
When I picked up a new client and their large, exciting new feature story at the end of April, I was determined that I would do better. I was going to be disciplined, happy, productive mom and not on-edge, I-AM-YELLING-AT-YOU-BUT-NOW-I’m-talking-normally-to-someone-on-the-phone-BECAUSE-AT-LEAST-THEY-DON’T-POUR-THEIR-MILK-DOWN-THEIR-DIAPER kind of mom.
And it went really, really well. The days were full, but I had great support from my own mother and siblings who played with James in the mornings while John was at preschool and I interviewed, transcribed, wrote and edited like my life depended on it. Also from Michael who, despite being in the middle of end-of-semester grading, didn’t give me a guilt trip about giving me pockets of time to work here and there when I really needed them. And who understood that once this busy period comes to an end, you will find the time to share all the thoughts you’ve that go beyond just the basic, necessary aspects of daily communication you have to have in order to function as a family.
The only hitch in my carefully laid out plans was the day before the first draft of the article was due when James discovered he could climb out of his crib. When he finally went to sleep, and I discovered I could pound out some pretty decent prose in 45 short minutes even when exhausted from working my final day of Mom’s Day Out for the year.
And then I turned the project in that night. On schedule. Ten hours early even!
You know how after you finish a big, multi-week project that required a ridiculous amount of childcare planning and discipline to stay on your production schedule, and then you CAN’T RELAX? That’s how I felt Friday. At least until dinnertime when I broke out a bottle of celebratory sauvignon blanc.
Here’s to summer!
It’s been a good day. I had lunch with two of my sisters, got to see Julie & Julia and now want buy Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and the only meal I prepared involved peeling bananas and pouring a bowl of cereal. Then tonight James pooped a massive poo in the tub (“At least you hadn’t put the bath toys in yet,” said Michael). And John drank three glasses of water and promptly threw up, though thankfully a little over half of it landed in the toilet.
I have no idea why I feel this is important enough to communicate here. Depending on your perspective the message is either “Kids Ruin Everything: Use Birth Control” or “Don’t Let A Little Poop and Barf Get You Down.” That’s you’re call. I’m off to find a beer.
It’s been a long day – kids and husband up during the night (James awake at 1:30am, Michael left for the office at 2:00am because he couldn’t sleep, and John up at 2:30am), James smearing chocolate all over my jeans, doctors appointment for both boys this morning including three nurses holding James down for four shots, James drooling grape lollipop all over my shirt, and racing back to hurriedly put kids down for naps in time to interview a professor via phone from Germany for my latest freelance writing assignment.
It’s funny how it’s the little things that get to you when you’re tired.
Like the lady at the public library who called to tell me this morning that I can’t get a book I requested through inner-library loan. The book was just released and a requested book has to be at least a year old before you can do an inner-library loan. Ok, that’s completely understandable. She could have stopped there. But she went on to say that she looked up the book to see if it was worth the library buying, and decided that it wasn’t because not enough people check out memoirs (ok, disappointing, but fine). And finally it didn’t sound like it was appropriate material for the library.
She then proceeded to read me a portion of a negative review she found somewhere on the Internet that included the word “sex” or maybe “sexual misadventures.” Now I only know about this book from listening to an NPR Fresh Air interview with the author about the book, and I understood that he writes about the end of his wife’s life by contrasting it with the early days of their courtship and marriage. And it sounded like their sexual history was perhaps part of the recounting. However, it’s in the context of a whole relationship WHILE HIS WIFE IS DYING. As in “Hey, it was hot, but now I’m emptying her bedpan.” You know, that kind of porn.
I was left not knowing if I should feel judged or patronized. Either way, I’m seriously annoyed. And I’m getting the book from another library.
On Sunday I prepared for the week by going ahead and flipping the page to “July” and suddenly realized that there are really only 3 1/2 weeks of summer left. We’re driving to Texas on or around July 22 to drop the kids off with Michael’s parents before flying to England for two weeks. More on that later.
So I’ve been violently refocused on the “Must Do This Summer!” list. A list that includes:
- buy a used washing machine (ours broke in January. Yeah, that sucks)
- clean out the remaining two closets that haven’t yet been completely reorganized
- finish Montessori-ing the house for the continuation of Bastardized Home Montessori Preschool this fall
- continue some baby step efforts to pitch my freelance writing business to some local business owners
- complete obligations to a local non-profit that include design work and fundraising
- read every book ever written on English history and every travel guide about London, Oxford and Windsor
- throw a shower for a friend who is due in August
- take the kids to a pool. Any pool.
So yesterday and today I created and mailed out shower invitations, took my friend to Babies’R’Us and helped her register, finalized the print invitation for the non-profit’s fundraiser, took two hours to canvas local downtown businesses for the non-profit’s silent auction, and did a little bit of business development. This is the midst of trimming tiny fingernails, changing diapers, feeding kids (sometimes) healthy snacks, making meals and, today, tossing it all aside to spend three hours with one of my oldest friends who flew home from Uganda to attend her grandmother’s wedding this Saturday.