The Demas family had a bad morning getting out of the house the other day. Or perhaps it's more accurate to say I had a rough start.
We were off to a family get-together and the stars were not aligning for a swift exit. Usually, my stellar time management skills make up for the added tasks that a baby implies. Bad circumstances along with poor strategic planning made this trip different.
First, Claire would only go to mama. George and I usually attack getting ready by handing off our daughter to one another, like a baton in a relay race. On this day, Claire had other things in mind. As did the weather, which decided to change seasons overnight. Locating and ironing clothes for both Claire and me with said daughter on my hip is not in my repertoire. While working one-handed, I was reminded of a sick challenge devised for a competition reality show like Survivor (except that I had no chance of winning a million dollars for my efforts).
What's more, I was shuttling between the bedroom and the kitchen to make the dish we needed to bring (nothing like waiting 'til the last minute). In general, chopping, mixing, and stirring while a child hangs on my apron strings wears me out. Add a deadline to get out the door, and I feel I'm going to boil over like the pot on the stove.
I know what you're thinking: "Couldn't the free-handed husband cook and/or clothe the child?" To this query, my martyr self replies, "No. He would have ruined it".
I was actually pulling off most of the shitshow. It’s part of an illness, actually -- trying to push myself beyond my own limits to see what I am capable of doing. I end up feeling sickly proud of myself. The flip-side of the coin is that I feel exhausted and resentful as well -- bad for me and bad for the people around me. I remind myself of Mussolini, keeping the trains running on time while losing track of humanity altogether.
Babies have a way of finding your Achilles heel, though. My obsession with productivity can make me forget what’s really important -- being in the moment, enjoying my child and husband, respecting my own needs and those of the people around me.
Sorry, Mr. Mussolini, we will just have to be late next time.