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54 weeks | No mommy’s perfect | no. 0048
I think I should stop making this list in my head of things I did not do amazingly well this week. I was initially going to write today’s post about one of my various infractions as a mother. But then I thought instead I would investigate the whole mess of the internal criticisms themselves. You know the ones that accumulate after long days, crowding around your head on your pillow and making it hard to fall asleep. Yeah, those ones. I fear I’m in no ways alone here. We mommies are rather adept at pointing out what and when we did wrong. But who is keeping tabs, really?
The reason I am just sitting down to journey into Wednesday’s Bloom is because I spent the bulk of my day trying to “make it up” to the munchkin, by being more present with him, because yesterday I was in full techie mode and made very little effort to engage him. I was dreaming up and designing the New Mommy Writers’ Workshop Virtual Edition. I felt bad about not taking him somewhere enriching and stimulating. C’mon, not even a walk around the block, mommy? All day I apologized to him that he wasn’t free to just roam. He fussed each time I moved him away from the loose papers he wanted to rip, and then eat, and then gag on while I tried to get the soaked remnants off his tongue. He protested when I refused to let him smash the stereo to the floor. He shrieked when I freed his clutching fingers from my precious laptop, his wish to yank the cord so immediately denied.
When I examine why I felt I had failed my son on multiple occasions throughout the day, this idea that he deserved more than what I was giving him kept coming up. He’s one year old. He is a mobile being now. He’s grabby, he’s curious, he’s noisy, he’s in constant need of stimulation. Me trying to eyeball-manage him on the long walk from the hallway, through the door that he likes to almost smash his fingers in, pass the bed and all the non-baby-friendly stuff at the foot of the bed, and finally over to the corner where the computer is propped on a plastic storage bin, also known as “my office,” was not working out for either of us. When he would appear in the room and see me still sitting and clacking away at the keyboard, I would promise I’d be done in a few minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes. Soon.
But there’d always be a worthy reason to postpone leaving my work on the screen. In those moments when he got really upset, I would stick the breast in his mouth and pray for a forgotten nap to visit with him. At some point I just started being brutally honest and telling him that I was sorry. Today was not going to be that supermommy day. Today we were just going to be home, and nurse, and find something magical inside of all these awesome birthday gift toys. Oh, and hopefully go to bed early so mommy can get back to her workshop planning! I always feel guilty yearning for an earlier bedtime when I know we’ve done little to tire him out. Oh well, I always reason, I’ll do better with that tomorrow.
So this is tomorrow. We get up and out early. I forget to eat a real breakfast, so adamant I am that the munchkin’s day be more than a succession of unrealized intentions. We take two buses to a grocery store across town because it’s something we don’t usually do. He falls asleep on the bus, but wakes up in the store. Supermarkets are wonderful in the way they totally overload a baby with so much information to process. I really felt like I was doing something, as compared with the day before when I had nothing phenomenal to show the munchkin. Then we stopped by a friend’s house where the munchkin had an impromptu play date with another little person. I always give myself extra points when he hangs out with fellow babies. I am not very consistent with getting us to story time events or organizing the calendar with ample opportunities for him to be around other children. Yeah, yeah, I’m working on it.
When we got home, I didn’t just jump into my writing. I caught my breath. He played with his father. I remembered I bought all these spices for the fish I was going to bake. Oh yeah, I also didn’t cook dinner the other day, so even though I try my best to not have to cook on Wednesdays, I made a complete meal for my family. After that it was time to get the munchkin to bed. It was while nursing him to sleep that the opening lines of today’s post started falling from my fingers and into my phone. It was the first moment of “flow” I’d felt all day. There were less than three hours left to this Wednesday. I have been trudging along ever since.
My mother often reminds me the the munchkin won’t remember what I didn’t do perfectly. She thinks I make too much of him being “bored.” He’s a baby! Perhaps I just want to have a good story to tell sometimes. Even though I know it’s impossible for everything to work out seamlessly all the time, there are certain days–like today–where I wanted to feel like I’d done it all. Now as I bumble through these words in a state of extreme fatigue, I see that it isn’t perfect after all. And it isn’t horrible either.
I am certainly experimenting with how to balance mothering and writing and creating and facilitating and familymaking. Oh yeah, and self caregiving! At the moment, if I’m doing great in one area, somewhere else is likely being neglected. It is on days like today that I have to remember that my only commitment to Wednesday’s Bloom is to make it honest. To say something of what I’m feeling and who I am in this mommyhood journey every Wednesday. This much I have done. This idea of perfection as it relates to my mothering needs more consideration. These paragraphs need more grooming. These thoughts need more time to brew. Trust me, I know.
The munchkin, my first born, was born on a Wednesday. Wednesday’s Bloom: Textual Portraits of a New Mommy is an ongoing multi-media documentary project about my process as a mother. Today’s story is a part of Volume 1, 73 consecutive weeks of posts, spanning about the first year and a half of the munchkin’s life. Each episode explores my weekly discoveries, challenges, questions, and hopes as a mother. I also facilitate the New Mommy Writers’ Workshop for all mothers and women active in their mothering work who are excited about cultivating their own writing practices.