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Oh No, Not I! I Will Survive!

Yes, Brian’s home and the house is
still standing. More important, everyone’s still alive and I
haven’t run screaming. How did we fare? You be the judge:

Cora protested her father’s absence
by going on a pooping strike. For three days straight she refused
to poop at all where she once was at least a once-a-day girl,
getting progressively crankier and crankier as time went on.
Finally, a mere 10 hours before Brian returned, she opened the
floodgates during her 5 a.m. nursing. And let me tell you, this was
a pooping most appropriately accompanied by the 1812 Overture, full
of big explosions and dramatic moments. Ten minutes of fierce
concentration and expressive grunts later, as I sat in a stunned
but respectful silence, Cora smiled in satisfaction and went back
to nursing.

Madeleine fared pretty well, though she kept asking where Daddy was
and when he was coming back. Every time I’d explain where he
was, she’d say, “Can he come back now?” Other
than crying a few times a day, she handled it well and, dare I say,
even enjoyed the extra time with Gamma.

As for me, things went better than I’d expected, though I am
physically pretty tired. Thanks to a large amount of help from my
mother, I never had more than a half-day by myself with both girls.
I’d put a lot of extra work ahead of time into having food
ready, and so dinners required nothing more than a reheating of a
casserole or boiling of some water. We even found ourselves in
several happy moments, both girls playing quietly while we sat and
chatted. So this is definitely doable.

But here is what did not happen:

Bills did not get paid.

Carpets did not get vacuumed.

Bathrooms did not get cleaned.

Laundry did not get washed.

Groceries did not get –er – shopped.

Get the picture? For three days, I went into crisis mode, doing the
bare minimum to survive from day to day. And that was fine, and
workable, and even enjoyable, the relaxing and putting all
“big things” on hold. A “hunker down and do only
what’s necessary” mentality can almost be a vacation
for a mom! Unfortunately, that only works for so long before life
catches up to you. So while I proved I could do it, and survive,
I’m not sure how moms do this sort of thing long-term.

And something else happened to me, too. I experienced probably for
the first time what it is to be “just” a mom – my
whole existence, 24/7, was spent focused on my two girls. Preparing
meals, cleaning up meals, picking out clothes to wear, changing
diapers, loading the dishwasher, giving baths, reading books,
putting away toys – the list is endless but all about kids.
No other part of my life – my teaching, my performing, my
adult friendships, my math skills while balancing books, for
pete’s sake! and even my blogging – came into effect
for those three days. And after only three days, I found myself
starting to despair: looking at the future and thinking, “Is
this it? Is this what it will be like the rest of my life?”

I remember going through this identity crisis around this age with
Maddie, so I know it’s just a phase. I know I’ll have
more free time soon as Cora gets more independent. But right now
Cora’s so physically needy and Maddie’s so emotionally
needy, and that drains me. I think the weekend simply heightened
all of that and brought the issue into sharp focus. It made me
appreciate the breaks I get when I “get” to pay bills
or grocery shop while Brian and mom hold down the fort. And
here’s the ultimate proof that I need a mommy vacation:

Saturday I got a jury summons. And my first thought was,
“Cool! A whole day to myself!”


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