I Have Kids or (M)Otherhood Part the Two

I love my babies.

This may come as a shock to you, fair reader, but I am a mother. Most days, I’m shocked. My shock is quite boundless, but its real estate includes my incredulousness about:

1. Laundry

2. Food consumption

3. Laundry

4. Organization

5. Fatigue

(I could go on with this list, but then I just might curl into a ball and rock, overwhelmed with what seems like another “to do” list.)

I’ve been meaning to cobble together a blog since my twin girls were born. That was 5 years ago. I had fantasies that I would bring forth poetic, tear-inducing prose unveiling all the deepest, most profound wisdom and truth only found in the day-to-day, moment-to-moment, instant-to-instant bliss of perfect motherhood.

It sort of didn’t quite go this way.

There have been tears, some theirs and some mine.

I should back up a bit. Understand that when I was trying to get pregnant and then, when I was finally pregnant, I entertained this fanciful idea that I could just strap my children on and go- ANYWHERE! Somehow, the image in my head really didn’t match how reality would play out. My imagination omitted truly crucial details, like the fact there would not be just one, but two.  It’s different on a variety of levels, but the most immediate of which is the practical/ logistical.

Ultimately, I underestimated the extent to which these “practical/ logistical” details would reshape my life. The moms I saw on the street seemed to fit their kids into their busy lives: strollers parked casually alongside a chatty woman and her companion(s) enjoying a casual cup of coffee, a mom out jogging with her sleeping, compliant baby, moms and kids at the playground, etc.

Coffee. I have that in common with these women.

But for me, I had a somewhat difficult pregnancy (although there are certainly worse), followed by an awful post-natal period, during which I was readmitted to the hospital for a raging systemic infection. During that time, my family formed the most amazing support system, as did my friends. I don’t know where I would be (or who I would be) without my best friend, my husband. I mention the difficulty posed only to highlight how the stage was set for my life- our lives- to take the path it did.

After I had the girls, it changed the way both I and my husband interacted with the world. At that time, we worked in theatre. In fact, we met late last century as actors (that’s another story for another time). As the primary caretaker of two infants, I did not find theatre to be a professional environment flexible enough to include the needs of my family. I have never been a “the show must go on” kind of girl- when it comes to the health and well-being of people. If my kids are in the hospital or one of my parents are on their deathbed, I will be out of there before anyone can think about muttering, “The show must go on.”  So, not willing to compromise my professionalism by dragging along two unwitting, unpredictable infants (now small children) to events and auditions nor wanting to be absent for the upbringing of my daughters, especially when they needed me at the last minute- with fevers, with vomiting, with unforeseen emergencies- I decided to take a break from acting.

The treading of water, the circling of the wagons- however one might want to describe what happened incrementally- characterized the day-to-day demands of new parenthood. So busy with bottles, feedings, laundry, doctor visits, nap times, I no longer had hours in the day to take care of the friendships that sustained us. They didn’t have kids; we didn’t have many peers who had kids.

Did I mention we moved to the suburbs, too?  Oh yeah, that too.

So, to review:

Children who have kid needs + geography issues + career changes (more on that later)= sort of lonely

Now, this is not a “woe is me” type of post, although on the surface and even a little underneath, it may seem so.  But NOT so! I took actions (or inaction) that led me down a path. Yeah, it was the inaction. I started to feel as if I didn’t belong- anywhere.

But I can change this.

And when I pick up my daughters after school and they run into my arms, I know at least one place I belong.





(M)Otherhood Part the First

I can’t stop thinking about the alter egos of Butters and his little friend- the characters from South Park.  Hell, I can’t even think of Butters’ alter ego, I can only think of his friend’s:  General Disarray.  Appropriate somehow that I can’t think of this wee little minor character’s ACTUAL name, only the pretend name of a pretend person.

Which leads me to how I’ve been feeling over the past couple of years.  Or maybe longer. General Disarray.  I can’t tell.   But right now, I’m sitting at my makeshift desk in our disaster of a makeshift office, with piles of paper and stuff that I try try TRY to keep organized, and I just can’t seem to organize it faster than it comes in and demands a fucking space in my life.  I’m in a funk (ha- almost typed “fuck”) because I just got a “Dear John” letter from a theatre company with which I am/ was/ will have been affiliated.  Deep down, I don’t feel that it’s unjustified, but it feels like a break up nonetheless.  It is a place where I generally feel wanted and appreciated, but I haven’t had the opportunity to frequent of late because I have two small children.  Still, I can’t help but feel that maybe- maybe– my talent wandered off somewhere, lost, looking for a more worthy vessel. Or, maybe I’m just not talented enough; surely someone who was talented enough could FIGURE OUT HOW TO JUGGLE IT ALL.  At least that’s the perception, although I can’t tell whose- mine or everyone else’s.  At any rate, I’m sure you know that old saying, “Perception is reality.”  So someone around here is perceiving that I’m disposable.

I’ve been trying to start this blog for what seems like forever.  I was in a graduate English class studying Shakespeare trying oh so desperately to figure out some pattern or similarity between The Merchant of Venice and Othello – and what the HELL was I going to write about – blah, blah, blah, “Othello is the ‘other’” blah, blah, blah “Shylock is the ‘other’” blah, blah, blah – and then I realized something:  there are no mothers in these plays.  Alive ones, that is.  It’s as if in Shakespeare’s world, these women squeezed out their offspring and dropped dead.  Admittedly, that was a very likely scenario at that time, so maybe.

But that’s how I’ve been feeling lately.  As if the Mommy Track runs right off a cliff into some God-forsaken clusterfuck no-man’s-land called Youdontbelongmuchofanywhereland.

So you’re dead.  Or at least perceived to be.

And it came to me, courtesy of the Moor and the Jew:  Motherhood is simply another “otherhood.”