For Christmas Break, David and I negotiated 1 hour of electronic time each day.* He’s used it up today and is now doing the kind of thing** that makes me so happy that I’ve limited his electronic time:
Chillaxing. Playing with the kitty. Munching at a post healthy dinner snack. Legos. Listening to music. Well, he’s politely kvetching about said music*** in between twirling on the office chair and explaining to me what he’d be doing if he had more electronic time.
Today was very sweet.
I woke feeling terrible. Just god awful sad, cranky and miserable.
Everything that happened for the 3 hours after I woke up were perfectly tuned to gently pry me out of my misery.
Spontaneous, sweet family breakfast.
Lavender Early Grey, which continues to warm my heart and conquer bad moods wherever it goes.
An adorable interaction with the Taco Baby trailer that resulted in a free french toast, bacon and egg taco (!!!!!!) that will be my breakfast tomorrow.
A warming almond milk chai at my home away from home, where everyone knows my name and hugs abound. David spreading his cream cheese in his precise way just, oh my god! So cute!
Then there was african food, a walk home and a walk with Ellie, my neighbor’s gorgeous red pit mix. Waiting for me inside, in addition to the dog, was a bottle of Thank You wine.
Best of all–most of said noms and treats were FREE.
As I turn the insane**** corner that is going from not working to working***** there are a lot of contrasts that I didn’t have to hold previously. Limits I wasn’t interacting with on a daily basis.
But as scary and hard and challenging as sitting down to the Work is…there are such sweet rewards.
(And, it comes up again and again–it’s not that writing articles, editing and working with clients is hard, per say–sometimes it is, but mostly it’s AWESOME AND I LOVE IT–it’s the freaking head space that comes once I’m like, ok, REAL WORK BEGINS NOW. The day job? Eh, whatever. I’ll show up and do my best, but I’m not invested. My thing–it matters. This is why I need Havi.)
Even if I crash and burn (again. sigh.) and wind up scrubbing toilets for the rest of my life–I’ve tasted the rewards and they are sweet.
And that wine is going to taste awesome too. Particularly paired with cartoons. Samurai Jack or Archer? Oh, I know–BOTH!
*Have I mentioned that I’m terrified of being judged? Funny (in the Ahhhh! way) sort of phobia for a writer in the days of the interwebs to have, right?
Well, I’m EXTRA terrified of parental judgments in general, and specifically around media/electronic usage.
I don’t EVER want my decisions (she only lets her kid have an hour a day; I’m a terrible parent for letting my kid/s have more….) to trigger someone else’s Inner Chorus of Shame, but that’s not really up to me unless I HIDE 100% of the time and that sucks.
And so, if anyone is judging for one, sole, measly, teensy hour of electronics (bite me), you obviously don’t have children or are some kind of super person. Who maybe likes being a parent?^
If you’re in the previous shame camp, I used to let him have WAY MORE. And the cutting back thing is torture.
^I am a wonderful parent. I am present, affectionate and nurturing. I set clear boundaries, I adjust my parenting to where he’s at. I also never wanted to be a parent. Ooops.
Now I am glad I have him. It was a long road to this place of joy, acceptance and contentment.
I love my little booger like crazy. And, I will not pay into the social delusion that simply having a child makes it all wonder and joy.^ There was a study I stumbled over a few years ago saying that parents are less happy to have children because it’s so much harder in general in modern US culture to have a child. Gone are the days of the average single job comfortably supporting a family. Gone are support systems and structures that make parenting anything less than 24/7 slavery with epic, crushing responsibility.
People don’t force other people into pet ownership; with our current systems of education about sex and the criminal lack of access to birth control–it is seriously f***ed how many people stumble into parenthood. Yes, people are responsible for their own choices blah blah–but there’s a difference between making choices in a supportive, sensible, intuitive system and making choices in well, the exact opposite of a supportive, sensible and intuitive system.
^There’s also the piece where I was unable to chemically bond with my child at birth.
It took me 18 months before I felt like he was anything other than this terrifyingly needy alien.
So, if I’m so scared of judgment, (which I am) especially around parenting (ahhhhh!), why the eff am I saying things like “I never wanted to be a parent/I find parenting to be epically challenging”?
Because I want other parents who feel similarly to me to know that A) they aren’t alone and B) one person (who is a responsible parent while having these feelings) doesn’t think they’re crazy.
I remember feeling so isolated in my parental misery. And, other parents can be so f***ing judgmental and mean–my god, Mothering (not for your average woman; have you had your dose of guilt for the day?) magazine was nothing but blow after blow to my self-esteem.
If me standing up and saying ‘Hey, PARENTING SUCKS SOMETIMES. I love my kid… AND it is the hardest, most challenging thing I’ve ever taken on…and I don’t really feel like I had a choice in the matter….AHHHHHHHH!’ helps one parent feel the tiniest bit of space or relief—then whatever judgment comes my way (like water on a ducks back, baby) is worth it.
And seriously though–I return everyone’s projections to them. Lovingly, gently, completely.
***New York Philharmonic/it’s good for him to listen to classical music.
****”Going sane feels like going crazy.” —Julia Cameron
***** work vs Work…. I’ve been working (Ha. Ha.), just not Working. Or as much as I am now.