Thursday, March 27, 2014

Flogger Blogger "Wednesday": Party of One

Yeah, it's Thursday, not Wednesday. I've been sick. Let's just flog already, m'kay?

As I type, I am penned up in The Octagon, which is what my husband and I dubbed Pork Chop's gated play area. The Octagon is crammed with books and with blocks and with VTech toys that blink and sing, "It's great to see you. I'm glad to see you too!" It's a funny little song, in that the only time I was ever glad to see a VTech toy was when its battery ran out: "It's great to see you . . . finally die."

Both Pork Chop and I have been battling a nasty cold that's left us feverish, congested, and with a hacking cough. We are two very disgusting, very unhappy campers.

Before I had my son, I confess that I sometimes relished a bad cold: they aren't terminal; they are made significantly less unpleasant with a little Tylenol and hot tea; and they present an opportunity to spend the day in pajamas, napping, catching up on Judge Judy, and garnering sympathy. When you only have to care for yourself, a cold can feel like a Get Out of Work Free card. But when you have kids, having a cold can feel like a Suck It Up Because That Diaper Won't Hold for Much Longer card. Or a Sorry About Your Chills But the Groceries Aren't Going to Shop for Themselves card. Or a Just Put Some Vaseline on Your Nose and Make Lunch Already card.

Early this morning, as I lay shivering atop a heating pad, I had a fever dream in which I was hospitalized. It was an awesome dream: Clean sheets. Trays of food that I didn't prepare. Strict visiting hours. Maybe a sponge bath. And the sweet lullaby of beeping machines pumping me full of medicine. But even as I reveled in my sanitized fantasyland, I could hear my son begin to stir in the next room. It was time to put on the coffee, do a shot of Robitussin, and stuff my pockets with Kleenex.


The truth is (and here's where the guilt gets legit), if pressed to describe my perfect day -- not my perfect sick day, but my perfect day -- I'd be alone. Not just without my son, but without anyone I love or like or am related to or work with or would wish a happy birthday to on Facebook when prompted. To most of my friends and family, I seem like a raving extrovert, but my inability to ever shut up or to ever slow down is hella tiring.

My husband is keenly aware that, come the weekend, I need at least 2 hours on my own to be frivolous -- to get a powder blue pedicure, to try on slutty high heels for a night out at the clubs I don't go to, etc. But 2 hours is, according to my calculations, 22 hours short of a day. And that's all I want -- a day.

But this dream of a perfect, lonely day comes with a latticework of conditions: The house must be clean from top to bottom. No deadlines must loom. All of my family must be out of town, doing something so fun that they never once think to call me and ask if I want to come over for meatballs. My husband must decide that he needs some father-son time with Pork Chop, and thus must speed away with our son in tow to watch the airplanes. Or to sit at a pub and wait for the kid's cheeky grin to make the panties drop. Whatever. As long as I know I'm free of people and obligations.

What? I love my kid! I love my husband! My family! My friends! But, damn, sometimes I want to sleep in. Sometimes I want to, well, here is how it would go:
  • Drink coffee while it's hot
  • Eat Somoas for breakfast, because no one's there to give me the stink eye about it
  • Take a shower so long and so steamy that I look like a boiled hot dog
  • Put on makeup. Not zit cream and lip balm. Makeup. To look pretty. Just because
  • Wear dangly earrings, because no one's going to try to rip them through my lobes
  • Wear a white shirt
  • Wear shoes that aren't slippers or sneakers
  • Go to a coffee shop to drink more coffee, even though I could have made more coffee at home
  • Read a book at the coffee shop. A paperback book. None of that cardboard crap
  • Write for an uninterrupted hour at the coffee shop
  • Go to some kind of market (Union Market? Eastern Market? the supermarket?) and wander around like a bohemian douche, buying bread and artisan cheese and flowers like I'm going on a picnic date with myself
  • Take my loot and go to Wendy's for a Dave's Hot and Juicy and a Frosty
  • Go home and take a nap for 3 hours
  • Wake up and eat bread and cheese for dinner
  • Decide that bread and cheese for dinner is not enough. Crack open some wine
  • Sprawl on the couch, spooning a bag of Tostitos
  • Watch every episode of The Wire that stars Idris Elba
  • Wash my face
  • Go to bed
  • Sleep through the night
  • Miss my family
And I would -- miss my family, that is. The minute my husband leaves for a business trip, I begin to miss him. When I get my nails done on the weekend, I miss my kid while I'm at the salon for Pete's sake. But I also miss myself sometimes. So my perfect day isn't about great adventures or exotic indulgences (unless you count the Somoas). It's about spending time with someone I used to know. Someone I took for granted, but who, it turns out, was pretty good company.


  1. I could not have said it better sister. I just had this conversation with my single, kidless co-worker yesterday. I dream of going to the movies, alone. A restaurant, alone. Bookshop, festival, whatever! I miss me! I need time alone with her real soon, le sigh.

    Feel better my luv.

    1. Do you remember the days when the thought of going anywhere alone (like a restaurant, like the movies) was mortifying? I wish I could kick my younger self in her much perkier ass.

  2. I remember when I thought a Friday night at home alone made me a loser. Now a Friday night at home alone (preferably with some cookie dough and trash tv) sounds like a dream.

    1. Right?! There was a brief period of time, before I met my husband, when I spent a lot of Friday nights ordering Chinese takeout and watching action movies (don't judge). Oh, Hunan beef and Jason Statham, we will be together again one day!

  3. Alone time. That makes me laugh out loud. I don't even think I have gone #2's by myself in the last six years. Loved your list and your last paragraph. It is very hard to take time for yourself and not feel guilty or rushed or anxious. It is the curse of motherhood. Hope you and Sam feel better soon. Call me for a babysitting day so you can have some legit alone time. Love ya, mean it. -Sarah :-)

    1. The fact that you referred to pooping as "#2s" may mean that motherhood has officially taken over your life. Forget babysitting for me. Let's leave the kids with the menfolk and go get our DRANK ON! (And by "drank on" I mean let's have a 2 glasses of white wine and go tipsy shopping at Target.)

  4. Replies
    1. Amy, I have been surprisingly relieved to hear so many folks say the same thing -- that they get it. It makes me feel a little less guilty (but just a little).

  5. Your dream day sounds great. And now I think you'll understand how less than desirable circumstances in Feb 2013 turned out to be wonderful. I was put on bedrest and 2 days later husband took toddler to in-laws (out of state) for 3 days. My sis stocked up my fridge with my favorites and brought me books. I told all friends I didn't want a visit. PJ's for 3 days, guilty pleasure tv, read 2 books, and slept a lot all following doctors order. And I'll add it worked - kept pregnancy healthy!

    1. Oh, yeah, Jenny! That is exactly what I was talking about when I mentioned my glorious dream of hospitalization. Nothing like medically mandated sloth.

  6. I miss myself, sometimes, too. But I can say that it gets better as your kid gets older (mine is 4 1/2 and I STILL miss him all the time when he's at school but also, when there is no school, due to snow days? I'm like WTF). My husband and I did eventually (and it's recent) come to an agreement that I get to sleep in on a weekend day. Of course, I do wake up because hello mommy radar, and hearing my kid the second his eyes open where as my husband needs his name screamed in his ear but whatever, it works.
    Last year on Mother's Day, my husband asked what I wanted. I told him to take our son out, alone, for three hours. They lasted 1.45, and it was bliss.
    Of course, I missed them though.

    1. Kristi, I feel you about mommy radar. My husband is always telling me to take a nap or to go read in a quiet spot. But, boom, the minute I hear my son make the suggestion of a whine, relaxation time is over. But your Mother's Day idea? That is genius.