I've been thinking about what to write for the past half hour, as I sit here in Panera. I'd probably have come up with something sooner had it not been for the Fran Drescher-esque voice of the woman sitting at the table next to me, talking to her friend (and apparently the rest of the the restaurant) about some kid she knows who may or may not be a spoiled brat. The nasally whining pretty much jabbed at my brain like a pitch-fork for about 20 minutes, making the formulation of all thoughts or ideas completely impossible.
Thankfully, her bagel is consumed (though I'm not sure how; she didn't. stop. talking. once) and she has left the building. Although if I listen closely, I think I can still hear her kvetching.
But it occured to me as the metaphorical pitchforks subsided that I still have time. Granted, not as much time as I had before she sat down next to me and let loose, but still. And if I don't get done what I need to now, I have tomorrow. These three hours every day have been like a revelation. Want to go to the gym? Go! Want to write in the blog? By all means! Cleaning the kitchen without having to ask the 3 year old eleventy billion times not to press the buttons on the dishwasher, the microwave, the Swiffer-wet mop? Almost delightful....almost. Want to catch up on your Twitter feed without feeling like a neglectful mother? Now's your chance! Want to make phone calls that don't need to be made in the bathroom, with the door closed and locked just so you don't end up with a child literally climbing up your leg? Have at it!!!
It's not been all blissful mama getting her groove back, though. The first few days found me leaving the school in tears, listening to Ethan screaming and wailing, and seeing him reaching for me from the arms of his teacher. It's not come as a complete surprise--he did cry a bit at every. single. drop off during our Transition class. So I expected some tears. But the first few days were agonizing. No amount of before school, "you know mommy's coming back to get you in a few hours, right? And that you're going to have fun playing with all your friends," seemed to quell his panic as I left the room. Loud, gagging, screaming cries. That I'm sure the entire universe could hear as the clucked their tongues and thought, "oh that poor child. And all so his mom can go run on a treadmill. What horrible woman." Oh, can I weave the drama or what???!!
I'm sure the anxiety I felt about it was similar to how I felt when Ethan was a newborn and would cry in public. The type of cries I couldn't comfort or make stop. I was sure that everyone in the store or restaurant was being utterly distracted by Ethan's cries and thinking that I was an absolute failure for not being able to comfort my baby. Now when I hear a newborn wailing in the supermarke tor Target, I find myself thinking, "That's it? That's the sound I thought was piercing everyone's skulls? That's the sound I thought made me a horrible mother?! You. are. crazy."
I've always been distinctly aware of the disconnect between emotional and logical in my brain (or, I should say, "since spending an absurd amount of time and money in therapy, I've become distinctly aware of the disconnect between emotional and logical in my brain), and nothing has exacerbated that disconnect more than motherhood. I KNOW logically that Ethan's crying as a newborn didn't mean I was a failed mother. I KNOW logically now that his tears as I leave him at preschool do not mean that I am selfish or bad, or that anyone's judging me. But how I feel? How my emotional side interprets these things? Bad, bad, bad. So, you know, it's super fun inside my brain a lot of the time.
But today we had a bit of a break-through. Ethan loves the playground at school. So I decided that rather than stay until school actually starts, walk him into the classroom and then have to maneuver my way out amongst the other kids and parents, with Ethan trying to follow me, hold on to me and screaming for me to stay (good times!), I would simply leave him while he was still on the playground.
My hasty retreat was facilitated by the fact that I was wearing my scrubbiest of gym clothes and the thought of being seen by too many sets of eyes was just mortifying. I've never felt judged by the moms there for what I'm wearing or how I look or what I weigh (they are not those moms by any means), but seriously--I was judging myself for how I looked this morning---pig-tails, Husband's old t-shirt, capri-length gym pants--I was a black and grey stay-puff marshmallow. Not fit to be seen by anyone who had bothered to run a brush through their hair.
So when we got to school, I sent Ethan over to the slides, ran into the class room, signed him in and told the teacher I was leaving. I went outside, gave Ethan a big kiss and told him I'd see him later.
(just an aside--I am so distracted right now by a woman sitting across from me that I KNOW is some sort of celebrity/actress, but I cannot place her for the life of me. I hate when that happens).
And what do you know? The child smiled, said, "Bye bye, mommy!" and went back to 'driving his car' with his friends.
That. was. it. Well, that and the clouds parting to sunny skies, and the angels singing and playing harps and whatnot.
So we shall see. I have, in fact, run out of time for this morning and have to go pick up my little man from school. But I'll have three more hours tomorrow. I could definitely get used to this.