My life seems like such a set of women’s magazine clichés these days:
“Mommy, Do you Have to Work?”
“Nanny-Cams – Invasion of Privacy?”
“Why is My One-Year Old Already Having Tantrums!?”
“Hot Wire Your Sex Life!”
“Double Coupons on Wednesdays”
“Costco or Sam’s Club?”
“No Time to Look Like a Goddamned Human Being”
It’s surreal. For so many years I skipped over those types of articles in magazines, and steered clear of impromptu meetings at my law firm on “balancing work and kids.” It wasn’t pertinent to my life at the time, but regardless - who the hell needed advice on making time for a 30-minute bath, needed suggestions on how to “set the mood for love” or had to use coupons? Not me, that was for sure. But what the fuck did I know? Nothing, that’s what. Which doesn’t make life any easier now that I find myself in the thick of it.
My mom reminds me that when I was small, life wasn’t about going to Paris, or out to the newest restaurants. She put that stuff on hold for years while instead there were beach trips and shared Stouffer’s frozen dinners and an ongoing roster of child care workers, each with her own set of quirky problems to deal with. It’s both a blessing and a curse that I had so much time as an unmarried woman with a reasonably lucrative career: now that I’m in the vortex I know what I’m missing since I had it for so long, but I also know that it will all be there when these crazy, early years of my children’s lives are over.
Because even though so much of daily existence right now is just squeaking by, frequently punctuated by fakey crying and a constant demand to be picked up by a 3-foot tall tyrant, if I choose to look at it from the other direction it can sometimes even seem idyllic. My house, which at one point not so long ago seemed so cold and empty I had to feng shui the whole place (shortly thereafter resulting, I like to believe, in a husband and a promotion at work), is now a cozy, lived-in nest that protects me and my family from the cold, cruel world. My husband, though busy doing more than his fair share to keep the whole machine running smoothly, appears to still love and want to be with me in the midst of all our chaos. And then there is our baby, who is simultaneously a pill and the smartest, most adorable little boy I have ever seen in my whole life.
Now if I only had time to even read those magazines for some pointers…