Saturday, September 27, 2008

Newspaper column

With almost a year of parenting under my belt, I thought I'd have a few things perfected by now.

Sure, I'm an expert at catching regurgitated peas with a spoon. I take pride in my ability to get out even the most heinous diaper runover stains. And when all else fails, I know a change of scenery can do wonders for a cranky little one.

But my multitasking skills have been trampled on like a blade of grass underneath a herd of stampeding buffalo.

When I first went back to work after my maternity leave, I tried my best to fold laundry with one hand, wash dishes with the other and play tug-of-war with the dog using my toes -- all the while carrying my daughter strapped to my chest.

I felt like superwoman without the cape and pantyhose.

But apparently my powers had a limited lifespan. It's much harder to do even one of those things now that there's a curious baby on the go making her way around the house.

As I fold one shirt, she rips 12 out of her drawer. As I put dirty dishes in the top rack, she throws the silverware below. And forget tug-of-war with the dog. If she's in the vicinity, she gets angry because I prevent her from putting the toy in her mouth too.

The definitive proof that I am still trying to do too much at once came earlier this week. My daughter had been tugging at her ears all morning, so I called the doctor in hopes of making an appointment for the next day.

"We have one slot left this afternoon," the nurse who answered said. "Can you make it here by 4:30?"

I was on my way out the door to go to work, so I looked at my husband for confirmation. It was 30 minutes until the appointment and we live almost exactly 30 minutes from the office. As a man who hates to be late, he quickly assessed the situation, nodded and flew upstairs to grab the diaper bag.

In the meantime, I was getting my things together, forcefully shoving my feet into shoes that should have necessitated taking time to sit down while tugging my daughter into a jacket. Then I said a quick farewell to my family as they left in a blur through the back door.

I ran out seconds later, shoving a granola bar in my mouth as a makeshift meal in place of the lunch I never had time to eat.

Once I was on the road, I heaved a huge sigh of relief. The car seems to be the only place I'm able to concentrate on the task at hand.

An hour or so later, when my husband called to give me an update, it suddenly dawned on me that I had been cooking dinner for them when the nurse asked if we could come in immediately.

There was probably a petrified pork loin smoldering in our 450-degree oven right that very second. Well, if our house was still standing.

Frantic, I asked how close he was to home.

Not close enough.

In desperation, we called a neighbor who has a key to our house and asked him to remove the carnage or call the fire department -- whichever was more appropriate.

Fortunately, the only thing that was ruined was a pricy cut of meat and the appetite of the vegetarian who was forced to handle the situation, but my confidence was shot, too.

Forget a cape and pantyhose, from now on, this mom doesn’t aspire to be superwoman. Just able to cook meat that turns out to be edible.


thezanyone said...

and a crockpot shall be your friend for life.

Traci said...

Oh my gosh! I've totally been there. Except we can't afford pricey cuts of meat so the only thing I burn is the bottom of the pot I forgot I was boiling water for.

Life definitely gets better when we lower our expectations of ourselves!

LeslieAnn said...

I've become a crockpot queen. You can make awesome soups in them! Hehehe. They're fantastic.

the plainsman said...

At least you have a reason for the toasted pork loin! Don't know what reason I can use for the burgers I converted to charcoal briquetts last week on the grill, except possibly a science experiment?

Anonymous said...

take things slow. no matter how fast and hard things get, remember this is YOUR life and that's what matters in the end. you'll remember these days when you're older and your daughter is older, and you'll cherish them. these are the best, most amazing days in your entire life. even if you feel like superwoman without the cape. the smallest things about you, the fact you can charge a dirty diaper with unmentionable speeds, are the most amazing qualities you have. these are the qualities that you created on your own, with a life you created on your own. the biggest accomplishment you could think of. you'll remember the day that the "crockpot" came into your life. hahaha.

i always mean to comment you and tell you these things, because i'm an avid reader. but i think this is the first time i've commented.

i'm very, very depressed right now. my best friend is dead, and i just moved to a city way far from anyone else i know. i know nobody here. and your posts remind me how the small things in life are beautiful, even the crockpot, even the days where you don't want to get out of bed. this is your life. the end is what you have to show for it. i'm sorry so long, and freaky.

i just wanted someone to know.

Ray said...

Glad you realized you're taking more on than you can chew. Thank goodness nothing caught on fire! And in my eyes, "You're still a SUPER MOMMA. Burnt meat and all." ;o)

novelle360 said...

anonymous --

Your comment really hits home for me because I know how you feel about moving to a new city and knowing NO ONE. But that move introduced me to Jerry and ended up being the best move of my life. Literally and figuratively, I guess.

I'm very sorry about your friend. But maybe the thought of him or her watching over you and helping you transition will help get you through.

In the meantime? Get into a good book series. That really helped keep me sane until I made some good friends.

Anonymous said...

Making an edible dinner on any kind of regular (or irregular, for that matter) basis for your family ... let alone when dinnertime is near your leaving-for-the-office time... that's a Superwoman qualification in my book. Teme

whitney/weber said...

Oh my gosh! I had a moment like this a few yrs back but it didnt end so happily. I was boiling eggs on the stove to make Deviled eggs and FORGOT about them...and left the house...w/ the eggs on...
About an HOUR later, at a craft store, I frantically called the neighbor (who also has a key) to go turn off the eggs but it was too late. The eggs caught FIRE because the water boiled out and they EXPLODED all over the kitchen. Yes, EXPLODED! The neighbor said the smoke alarms were sounding and the whole house was full of BLACK smoke--whcih took some time to clear out of carpet and furniture. Good news? Nothing was really too damaged, and I eventually got the burn marks off the pot too! Added bonus!