The night before last, Quinlan, still recovering from allergies or a cold or something, appeared beside our bed (always my side) and said she could’t sleep because she’d had a bad dream. So she spent the night (again) with us (on my side. Of course). It’s become a pattern that, frankly, I’m too tired to break. Judge not unless you’ve heard a weeping child say that the shadows in her room give her nightmares.
Last night, Quinlan slept through the night, in her own bed (well, not her own bed. She was in the bottom bunk in Saoirse’s room. Because this child has some issues with being alone that we should probably work on, if we weren’t so tired to do so). Cian, though, was up at 3:17, fussing because of a wet diaper and a chilly room. David went in to get him. Fastest one out of bed wins. Or loses. Whichever.
My alarm went off at 5:30. I was going to get up and work on Book #2 (a new project is finally, finally, starting to bloom), but when your eyelids don’t open it’s hard to type. So I hit snooze. The alarm went off again at 5:45. (yes, I set it twice, because I know me). I hit snooze again. Dave’s alarm went off at 6. I think he got up. I don’t remember. My eyelids were closed.
We got Saoirse ready for school (Quinlan and Cian are both home with me today. Book #2, where art thou?). Quinlan and I were talking about how happy I was that she got a good night’s sleep, and I mentioned to Saoirse that her little brother was up during the night. Saoirse was in the middle of putting on her shoes for school, and she stopped and looked up at me. “Mom?” she said. “You don’t ever, ever, ever, ever, ever sleep, do you?”
I try, I wanted to say. I try.
This past Tuesday, I chaperoned a field trip with Saoirse’s class while my mom watched the two little ones at home. She took them to their parent-and-me music class, and when I asked her later how it went, she mentioned how friendly my friends in class were, and then laughed. “Everybody looks so tired,” she said. She was shaking her head.
I don’t want to be the mom who’s tired all the time. I don’t want to be the one who, as I’m about to do right now, lets her kids watch TV inside on a gorgeous spring day so that she can work on her writing even though she was supposed to get up early enough to get it done so that she could concentrate on the rest of her life when her life is awake and asking for snacks and trips to the playground. There’s such a guilt now in being the full-time mom: if I’m not being “mom,” then I’m failing. Everywhere I look, there are moms who are Super Volunteers, and Playdate Pros, and Get-It-Done Gurus. What I do feels like it’s never enough, and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Our mothers didn’t have this pressure, so what’s wrong with us? I’m still, and have always been, trudging through, from one week where everything falls into place to the next, when I’m so overwhelmed that when David and I have dinner with my literary agent and her husband one night (possibly recently), and said agent asks me how Book #2 is going (could have happened, because it’s her job), I burst into completely unprofessional tears (not going to admit that in a million years). My mom’s offered childcare so that I can concentrate on building a new career before the opportunity evaporates (my fear, my fear, my constant fear). I want to write. I want to be somebody with a paycheck again. I’m about to finally take her up on it, but. But.
We’re so tired on the time. Are we all? Or is it just some of us? All the tiny pieces of our lives, floating around our heads while we try to catch them and reign them in into some sort of order. It’s wonderful, these pieces–beautiful, even. But my goodness. If we can’t get our eyelids open in time to see them, what a pity that’s going to be.
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