I didn’t realize how disorganized mommyhood would make me. I’ve always been the project manager type, not letting the thousand of small tasks get out of control, able to put each in its spot to make the next task a little easier to achieve. Before becoming a mommy, I thought maybe those run-down women were just disorganized or irrational or lazy.
Now I am suddenly among them, chaotic, forgetful, and confused about how I got here.
I get frantic when the Pie finally goes down for a nap. OK! OMG, I could have anywhere from 12 minutes to two hours to accomplish a week’s worth of tasks! Where to begin? Work? Housework? Personal care? I can’t waste this time… I may never get it back. I can be productive! I can work, clean, read, shower! Oh no! I AM HUNGRY.
Off to the kitchen to make a lunch out of the bread I forgot to bake, the cheese I forgot to buy and the dishes I forgot to wash.
In mommyhood, I often find myself in fierce mental debates:
Should I pee now, or switch the laundry first? I really have to pee, but if I don’t switch the laundry I’ll forget and it’ll get mildewy and I’ll have to wash it all over again. Also, I AM THIRSRY.
I dance at the top of the stairs, wishing I had done my kegels, trying to decide which is more worthy of trust: my new mommy bladder or my new mommy memory. I debate which is less damaged by childbirth/care:
OK, it will take me one minute to pee, pull up my pants and wash my hands. Maybe if i sing a song about moving the laundry while I’m peeing, I won’t forget? But I’m thirsty… I might go to the kitchen to get water.
I know that mnemonic devices like laundry songs don’t work, because I’ll get distracted by the beard hairs on the counter or the Pie will wake up or my phone will ring.
I wonder if I can somehow rig a funnel and tubing system up so I can pee while I’m switching the laundry? If it’s all structured in a way to allow gravity to passively move everything…And I can start keeping bottles of water next to the dryer, to replenish my fluids! Pee-switch-swig will be my new strategy!
And all this time, I’m dancing at the top of the stairs. It’s not a fun or particularly attractive dance. And although there’s a lot of muscle convulsions & twitching involved, it doesn’t count as exercise. (Trust me on this one. I asked a personal trainer.)
So I make lists. List of things I need to remember to do, which inevitably get forgotten or lost in the shuffle of whether I should pee first. Maybe I should make lists of things I want to remember NOT to do.
- Don’t spill entire bottle of soymilk on floor
- Don’t eat two chocolate bars just because the baby won’t sleep
- Don’t let baby eat the contracts that my work depends on
- Don’t let the Mountain Man’s clothes grow mold in the washing machine
- Don’t let cat out the front door
- Don’t wet own pants with frantic indecision
At least this way I could end each day with a sense of accomplishment, right? My never-ending list of menial tasks would be one of implied success. Maybe I didn’t get the bread baked today, maybe I have a thousand unanswered emails and unreturned phone calls. Maybe I still have a couple (ok, 20) thank-you notes to write from my baby shower 10 months ago. But I didn’t lose the cat and I haven’t had to change my clothes because of my own bodily fluids running out, which I think clearly equates to success.
I’ve become the “disorganized, irrational, lazy” mommy I saw (and judged!) at the grocery store, hair in a sloppy bun, wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt covered in someone’s bodily fluids, and frantically repeating to herself (loud whisper) “milk, eggs, bread. milk, eggs, bread. chocolate, wine, oh shit what was the other one?”
In MommyLand, we call dry pants and two thirds success rate MommyWinning.