Sunday, September 7

Mad, Mad Mommy! 

One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite women, Erma Bombeck, goes like this: “Insanity is hereditary. You can catch it from your kids.”

With all the manner of things my toddler gets up to, I fear nothing but the worst - of course, we have insanity running in every iota of our beings, notwithstanding who gave it to whom; but with all the free-time I now get from her being in pre-school thrice a week for four hours on each of the days, I have accomplished much less than I have in all these three years - with her tugging at my sweats as I went about doing chores, yanking my hair as I try to have a make-believe sane conversation with someone giving me work over the telephone, or even just miraculously finding the wrong time to take a pee on the carpet or get up to something equally obnoxious, as I try to gobble down a hurried lunch before I take the garbage out, pay the bills, drive through the pharmacy, make a quick stop at the post office, pick out some over-bought groceries, or simply breathe. If this is insane, I don’t know what is.

Lately, I have been reading a lot of mommy-blogs and I was horrified when I saw this on one: “Do you ever feel like having babies ate your brain cells? Well you might be surprised at the reality! You might be right. We will talk about it and discuss what you can do to stop suffering from Momnesia.” The blog post went on at length about the issue, and said, “Kathy Peel, author of Desperate Households, will discuss how to keep our household balanced.” I cannot remember the last time I felt like I didn’t have Momnesia. Yet, I keep a household, my job, and myself, somewhat balanced. I wonder if Kathy Peel could peel the layers off and tell me I’m not a Momnesiac, when in fact I am!

I am also, I’m afraid, one of those really persnickety moms – and tend to fret over the littlest of things – will her clothes be too crumpled by the time she gets to school? Will she remember to use her best manners while conversing with the teacher? Will she spill her drink at snacktime and make a sloppy mess? Will she ask to be excused for potty-break at the right time? Will she weep and wail again? (Okay, about the weeping and wailing, we gave each other a healthy competition the first day she went to school – the hubby is certain I won hands down – but hey, I am still learning the steps to the happy dance when the house is quiet without Little Miss Muffet for a few hours!) Insanity, again. I often wonder if my mom felt the same way when she sent me off to school the first time. Or is it different with moms who have experience doing the same thing over and over again with their other children? Or do all moms, as a general rule, lose their sanity in the post-natal depression?

I had readied myself for a long time for the separation anxiety. I assumed I had roughened up a bit. But the first few days, beginning last month, were the toughest - I couldn’t bear the thought of having sent my child away with a bunch of strangers to a strange room with too many rules and too much to learn and do. I remember how often I’d crave a little me-time, even if it meant finding time to dust the cobwebs, Pledge-clean the furniture, or mop the floors - and when I did get it, I was clueless. The sudden quiet, the house in perfect order - everything just the way I’d have given tooth and nail to have - but I didn’t want it that way anymore. I noticed I was also looking slightly better, my hair was kempt, I’d relinquished my sweats for something wearable on a morning walk, and I had time to savor a cuppa every morning - without a bother. Yet, I felt as if I was lost. But now I’m coping better - of course, if you discount the time when get back in after putting her on the bus, get into a sudden frenzy and make a gazillion calls to hire cleaners to help clean the already-somewhat-orderly house, and by the end of the fourth hour, realize that I have skipped breakfast, and coffee, haven’t had a shower, haven’t loaded the dishes, haven’t flipped a page of the Sly-Fives BookClub pick, haven’t made the bed, or made lunch, and that I have exactly three minutes and a half to fix everything, including myself, to run down and pick her up. I am forced to conclude that insanity and I have an unbreakable bond - and my life is nothing without - a little disarray, a thing amiss here, a thing kaput there, a lot to do and very little time, and above all, a little madness.

I am a mad, mad mommy. And boy, do I love it!

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