Oh, hello. Perhaps you were wondering where I’ve been – maybe you even thought something terrible had befallen me. And if by “something terrible” you meant living to work and make bottles, you’d be right. Except, of course, that’s not terrible (at least not the parenting part), it’s just the current state of affairs. My boss is out for several weeks and that has translated into days full of... work! God, the horror. I signed up for that writing class fully believing I’d have time during my work day to write the most fabulous and inspired fiction EVER, which would easily segue into a career writing best-selling blockbusters, but somehow it hasn’t happened. In fact, I have the start of a short story due tomorrow and I haven’t even started it. That thing isn’t going to write itself, so I’m not sure why I’m getting all this pressure to actually do my job.
And then there’s the small matter of when you’re working all day, bookended by chores and feeding, educating and cooing at baby, nothing of interest to the outside world really happens. I’m getting the distinct impression that I can expect to spend ages 39 – 44 in something of a fugue state. Maybe after that I can get back to being a contributor to society, but for now I feel like a shade of my former self. Or more appropriately, I feel like the subject of one of those articles I used to see in women’s magazines but could never identify with – you know, the ones about how important it is to make time for yourself to take a bath, or some other 30 minute, weekly “indulgence.” As my life before baby was not much else besides a series of indulgences interspersed with and funded by work, I just didn’t get how a person wouldn’t have time for herself. But now…
Every evening after Eeyore goes to bed and we’ve eaten the dinner I’ve made (and R. has cleaned up), I have about an hour to allocate toward some activity of my choosing. On some days, if we haven’t chosen sex as that hour’s activity, then part of this hour might be spent discussing why we’re not having sex during that hour, or whether it might be something to consider extending the waking calendar for. Obviously, it would be preferable to either just be having it, or not talking about it, because when the clock is ticking down on the day’s only respite from duty, talking about it risks turning it into one of those same duties. But if that’s not the hour’s choice, then I generally have to choose one thing to focus on/enjoy out of the several things that might need attention . That means choosing between: watching the news, reading a book, catching up on my stack of magazines, working on my writing assignment, cutting my toenails, plucking my eyebrows, touching up my roots, looking at cookbooks so we don’t eat the same thing every day forever, doing laundry… when you can only do one of these things, maybe two, there starts to be a lot of backlog. Hence, the fugue state.
You may be thinking: “what the hell is she griping about? If I had an hour every day to do what I wanted, besides ordering Chinese food and eating it watching Jon Stewart again, because my high-powered finance/law/whatever job has me working all hours,” I will suggest to you that somehow it just isn’t the same. As someone who was in private practice in DC and London for the first six years of her career, I’ve experienced that, and it’s different. At least with those sorts of jobs, sometimes you get a break on weekends.