Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hours of Operation

I am not sure if it's a function of my (advanced) age or just that I am trying to be a happier more balanced individual but at 9pm I am done with being a mom.

This is not to say that if the Pearlster woke up vomiting in the night I would say "Sorry my dear, Mom is closed", I certainly would deal with whatever she needed. I am talking about a normal healthy day that begins for me at 6am. I wake up, turn on my CFB bedside lamp, I mention the CFB part because it takes a little while to warm up and emit full strength light. It's like a slow re-entry to consciousness. From 6am until 6:30 I write and organize my thoughts for the day ahead. At 6:33am Pearl's alarm goes off and she clambers down her ladder and stumbles into my room and climbs into bed with me. We snuggle for a few minutes and then I kick her out so she can get ready for school. There are light negotiations around food, bathing, appropriate attire and, speed and efficiency until 7:25am and then we leave for school.

At around 8am I am in my office, head down working. Hopefully. Fast forward to 3pm when Pearl arrives back home and Mom is back on duty with homework detail, more food negotiation, exercise ,and endless stories about what the other sixth grade kids are talking about. We watch some TV, drink some wine (me, not Pearl) and by 8:30 or 9 I am ready for the Mrs. Monkey-Pants to slip quietly and efficiently into her bed. Not my bed with me but her own bed. This comes up sometimes. Why can't she sleep with me in my bed. She just can't that's all. I need to sleep on my own.

At this point in the day I have nothing left. I almost always want to achieve something in the evening, I make plans to do things. I write these tasks in the margins of my morning pages but when 9pm gets here I often find myself catatonic in front of the TV, a shell of a person. I think a little, but mostly I stare, sometimes in the fetal position from under a quilt. I have nothing left to offer the world, my child or myself. Even the dog can't get my attention, scratching at the door in 3.5 minute intervals.

I am a morning person. I wake up early and I wake up chipper. I want to know what lays ahead the minute my eyes open and my feet have hit the floor, I have a plan about any given day. But at night it is another story. I am cranky and lazy, and god forbid I fall asleep and you try to wake me up, I could snap! I won't do the dishes I barely want to brush my teeth, I just want to collapse and be left entirely alone, like rotten fruit.

Pearl gets this after years of me politely articulating my limits. She knows I love her, I just need to take down my Mom shingle between 9pm and 6:33am. Maybe it's harsh, but it's honest. I can't be on all the time, but when I'm open for business, I am all hers.

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