There’s nothing like doing domestic errands to bring you crashing back to earth. Lately I find that in my straddling various roles of mod mom, domestic goddess (ahehe), corporate drone, aspiring poet, freelance writer, inveterate blogger—tinker, tailor, soldier, spy—I often fall into pits of stress. Trying to manage everything at once, the juggler gets juggled to death, or dramatics aside, to exhaustion. I mean the mental as well as the physical one, now that I am well on my way to complaining here.
At work there’s plenty to get Prozac about; there are endless intricacies of dealing with people, making judgment calls, hacking your way out the bureaucracy. And at home when I lay down my weary head at the end of the day I see a lot of things that need attending to. Excelling in motherhood and a career—who keeps selling women this shit? You mean I can’t be superb in just one; I have to shine in both?
Well, since nobody seems to be stopping me from trying, today I made a valiant effort at fusing both. In the morning after everyone was done with their breakfasts, baths, and naps, I hauled off my two boys to get haircuts. They’ve been looking kind of fuzzy lately, so time for a little trim around the ears. A full half-hour of wailing and a ton of itchy hair later, we were done. Boys—spiffy. Mama—spent.
I don’t stop there, no; I decide we also do lunch. Jeremy eats about a spoonful of chicken and then spits out all the rest. Never mind that chicken is normally his favorite, this is a day for suspension of all rules. Twenty minutes later I relent and buy him French fries from that evil red-haired clown, and he eats them two at a time. This kid will be the death of me yet.
I push the envelope some more; I decide we need bottles and other baby stuff so we spend an hour on the aisles. I hunt down silicone nipples, baby shampoo, bottle holders, shoes for baby Jethro, shirts, and more baby bottles. The yayas have plenty of suggestions; the boys touch everything on the shelves. I take all this in stride, and keep on shopping. Our little caravan leaves a trail of disarrayed merchandise and bits of French fries all the way to the cashier’s.
After I drop off the boys, who promptly go into nap mode, I drag myself into work. I am on second shift today and my time will stretch all the way to the eleventh hour. After poring over a few particularly engrossing e-mail threads, I decide to escape, so I run to the mall for a manicure and pedicure, bury my stress in the smell of nail polish and the inanity of fashion magazines.
A salon attendant takes offense at the sprinkling of freckles on my cheeks and tells me, “We must get rid of them!” She then proceeds to ply me with a slew of oils, unguents, and potions in little pots to cure my beauty ailments. Now I realize, not only do I have to be a success at motherhood and a career, I also have to keep up appearances.
Back at work, bolstered by my freshly minted French manicure and a righteous sense of accomplishment, I ponder my circumstances. I’m in for more stress-filled days, that’s a guarantee. Do all my years of working my fingers to the bone add up to this? A slaving away and a balancing act with no net below to catch me? Why, just tonight I won’t be going home until at least an hour before midnight. If I’m up later than that I might just turn into a cinder girl.
Or judging from the luck I’ve been having lately, it would be safer to bet I’ll be turning into a pumpkin.