Eclectic Muddlehood

How's this for a perplexing beginning? I am a great many things, but none of them are me. At least not in my entirety. This is the little corner where I attempt to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts as I muddle through being a wife, a mother and a woman... among other things.

Location: Virginia, United States

Here, in no particular order, is a short list of my parts from the mundane to the pretentious, some or all of which may surface in future attempts to work on the whole: wife, mother, doula, childbirth educator, writer, yoga student, homeschooler, amature organic gardner, kitchen witch, all-around foodie, spiritual truth-seeker, daughter, clutter-bug, complusive list maker, bibliophile, homemaker, friend, homebirth/natural birth advocate, impulse shopper, wine snob, knitter, artist, lover, sensuist, and email junkie (There may be more later, but that's it for now.)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Perfect Timing

Ask just about any woman who has experienced pregnancy and she'll tell you how challenging the last couple of months can be physically, but even more so mentally and emotionally. I remember how impatient and irritable I was in August 2003. It was hot and muggy and there was nothing good on television.

This time it's going to be different! I just picked up our mail today and in the latest TV Guide is the two page spread that hold the key to the blissful and relaxed final weeks of pregnancy: The Best of May Sweeps. May sweeps! Why didn't I think of this when we were conceiving my eldest? It's the perfect distraction. With so many long-time running shows going off the air that I have occasionally caught a few episodes of here and there (Will & Grace, That 70's Show, 7th Heaven, West Wing), I can totally fill my May evenings with mindless, relaxing, effortless entertainment as my babies put the finishing touches on themselves! Not to mention focusing on catching the season and series finales of some of my favorite shows ever, (Alias, Lost, Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Prison Break) will be an extremely effective distraction from any impatience. Not that my May calendar isn't filling up quick despite my best efforts to pair down anyway. But almost every one of my May commitments are enjoyable celebrations perfect for keeping me in a positive mind-set about life, things like birthdays and graduations. So once I add in the sweeps- my May is all set

Before you know it, I'll be birthin' in June!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Trapped Behind the Public School Bus

Why I am choosing to homeschool isn't even the right question some days. During my short drive home from the grocery store this afternoon, the right question for me was who in their right mind would trust the physical, moral, ethical and spiritual development of their precious children to the public school system? Five miles of stopping and going was enough to confirm a personal commitment to hopefully never, ever place my children in an institutional school system of any kind. Was it the boy stretching his arm out from the back window of the bus to repeatedly protrude his middle finger and shake it gleefully at those of us trapped momentarily behind the insipid yellow vehicle that really inspired me to offer a prayer for the strength to engage in at least 20 years of homeschooling? Or was it the two girls who straggled off the bus at one stop to readjust their clothing by rolling down their barely crotch-length skirts and buttoning up their low-cut blouses, thereby changing their current appearances to ones that might actually be mother-approved? It wasn't any particular one of the handful of disturbing events I saw take place while winding my car towards home through the neighborhood. It was the fact that this bus was dropping off students from the very same elementary school that my eldest child would be slated to begin attending in only two and a half short years. These were not unruly teenagers displaying this kind of concerning behavior, but children ranging from about six to ten years old. If this is what being stuck behind the elementary school bus is like, let the goddess of home education never allow me to plan a trip to the store around the time the high-schoolers get out!

My Perpetual Dilemma

Just as any good sized rant about one's spouse should commence, let me begin by giving the standard disclaimer- I love my husband, wouldn't trade him for anyone else under any circumstances. But before I start extolling his virtues too extensively, I have to say that every since the evening I gave birth to our first child two and a half years ago, I have been faced with a perpetual husband-related dilemma that I still have yet to find a satisfying solution to and sadly, I don't anticipate adding the twins to the mix will help me muddle through it any better.

My husband works himself very hard to earn his paycheck because he has very particular ideas about what he wants to be able to provide for his wife and children both in the present moment and in the future. I acknowledge and understand this. It also occasionally drives me absolutely batty! Because of the monumental effort he puts forth during the day working out of the house, he has these periods of absolute inactivity when he is home where I have to straight up pester him to get even the least bit of help from him with our daughter or basic chores. Some days I am more patient than others with this situation. Some days I am perfectly content to be the devoted homemaker and I even encourage him to have a beer and relax while I finish dinner and get the laundry going. But there are other days.....

Thoughts like would it kill you to put your own lunch dishes in the dishwasher? or who did your laundry for you before we were married? pervade my mind while I enviously watch him sprawl out on the bedroom floor for a snooze at 6 or 7pm in the evening. Here's where I start to rationalize (or in other words, where I start to argue with myself like a crazed schizophrenic). He has a short list of specific chores he almost always does: take out the trash and recycling, clean the cats' litter boxes, feed and water the cats & fish at night and make breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings. He has the occasional "handy-man" chore that comes up: unclog the toilet, change the lightbulb, rebalance the washer and things like that. Heaven forbid he do much else without my asking him directly or without being awarded some sort of above-and-beyond type medal. Is this perspective of mine fair? Maybe, maybe not. And maybe it would drive me quite so nuts if he wouldn't come home occasionally and complain about the state of the house in an accusatory tone that makes me feel like he's still convinced I'm hiding the stereotypical Bon-Bons in the house somewhere and living this pampered life of unemployed luxury while he's slaving at work all day. If he thinks the living room carpet is too dirty, then don't complain to the lady simultaneously growing two little human beings in her body, chasing the potty-training toddler, and telepathically monitoring the status of dinner from the laundry room while sorting his socks and underwear. Just get out the stinkin' vacuum and do it. It would take less time and I'd dare say less effort. And it might even encourage his exhausted wife to put out more often!

So what do I do about this? Just when I get to the point where I am about to freak out at him over the fifth passive aggressive sigh he just heaved while casting a disapproving look around our cluttered bedroom, I manage to rationalize my way back to a Zen-like state of denial. Counter-thoughts like but he gets up so early every morning... and he's on his feet all day because he loves us so much squelch the subterranean housewife rage that had been gurgling in the back of my throat only seconds before. I do, however, still feel inclined to gently remind him that my skills as a homemaker are not bound to improve with the addition of two newborns to the mix this summer and until I find a better solution to this issue or we win the lottery and hire a maid, this will have to do as I continue to contemplate this perpetual dilemma that currently presents me with the urge to hug my husband and kick him in the shins all at the same time.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Maternal Bliss

It's not that I don't want a graduate degree or a fabulous career. I do. I'm not even sure what field of graduate study I might want to pursue or what kind of career I might want to enter into one of these days, but I know I want those things eventually. Just not right now. And it's not that every day of my current life is filled with idyllic moments of sweetness and light. There's plenty of mess and frustration and exhaustion-- just take one look at my kitchen or my checkbook. But it's the fact that I have come to view motherhood as a sacred calling, a spiritual path if you will. It's the same as if I had chosen to enter a nunnery or monastery of sorts, albeit where the Mother Abbess is about three feet tall and occasionally pees on the kitchen floor and where vespers often include a rousing chorus of "Everybody Wants to Be a Cat" or some other equally entertaining ditty from whatever Disney movie she is currently obsessed with watching three times a day. However to me at least, this is holy ground none the less. And about to get holier in a few short weeks with the arrival of two more live-in Zen Masters to challenge me in ways I never imagined possible. As I lay curled up around my daughter, pregnant belly dancing into the night with four knees and elbows drawing circles on my skin from the inside, I can't help but wonder what career could possible top this insane, yet joyous ride called motherhood. At that blissful moment, I find it quite easy to count my blessings as I get a brief glimpse of enlightenment. Grad school and a paycheck can wait.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Pregnancy Insomnia

Sleep has become a challenge for me within the past few weeks. It totally evades me some nights. I settled down with my daughter at about 9:30 tonight and was hoping against hope it would be a good sleep night. I woke up an hour and a half later, restless and unable to go back to bed. So I've reviewed my email, caught up on reading old college roommates blogs and now I guess it's time for me to add a blog entry of my own. Who knows what my nights will be like as I get progressively bigger and more uncomfortable between now and June!

I am starting to find the need to simplify my life as much as possible. I am adding less and less things to my calendar on a weekly basis and I am looking for ways to scale back on chores and other obligations around the house too. I'm just too dang tired to get everything done anymore. And two flights of stairs in our house doesn't help any-- never thought I'd say I missed living in an apartment, but this week I do. I told my husband I'm just going to start randomly throwing stuff out over the next few weeks. If it's sitting around the house looking and acting like junk, it's in immanent danger of finding it's way to the landfill. This is not my normal attitude as I am usually a clutterbug myself and also a big fan or reusing and recycling, but I am having a harder time than usual maintaining a bare minimum level of clean around here and I figure the less stuff there is to put away, the less putting away there is to do.

I am also simplifying cooking meals at the expense of our usual organic whole foods based diet. By about 5pm I am exhausted and the idea of cooking from scratch makes me want to crawl into bed right then. I think I may even forgo my usual disgust and distaste for institutional grocery chains to save myself the energy of driving all over hell and tarnation to pick up food from farmers and co-ops and whatnot. I wonder what my family would think if I stooped low enough to serve something like Hamburger Helper one of these nights. I asked my mom to make me a huge batch of her pasta salad this weekend and bring it to my house so I would have lunch already made for the week and not have to make that too.

Now if I could only figure out how to not have to do so much laundry.....

Monday, April 03, 2006

Who's Mailing List Am I On????

So I'm sorting through the mail today and sifting out bills from junk, from catalogs and other random wastes of perfectly good trees when I spy a catalog with a cute looking one-piece swimsuit on the front. As much as I try to deny my materialistic side, I love flipping through a mail-order catalog as much as the next American woman, so I drop the rest of the mail and begin leafing through it. When on page four, the playful joy of catalog window shopping evaporates instantly as I see the following header sprawled across the middle of the page- "Tummy Control Swimwear"

Not only do I find this concept absurd at this particular moment in my life, being seven months pregnant with twins, but also what invisible threshold did I stumble across without my knowledge that has led me from the Victoria's Secret Christmas catalog to a catalog touting artificially abdominally restrictive beachwear?? And this catalog has pages of it!

After the "Miraclesuit" which guarantees with it's trademark slogan that you will "Look 10 lbs. lighter in 10 seconds" comes a slew of products I find just as worrisome:

~ Lip Plumper- so I apparently need a skinnier belly, but fatter lips?

~Anti-Aging Hand Cream- now I have a fat belly, skimpy lips and decrepit hands? Just great!

~Eye Cream designed "for serious dark circles only"- are you getting a really appealing image of me yet?

~Face Lift In A Bag- no, I am not making that up...

And just when I am about to fall off my chair, laughing in horror, I find the ultimate product. For the woman who is falling apart from head to toe, yet still desperately trying to hold it together, they have these nifty little bifocal glasses that are missing half a lens on one side, so you can wear your glasses and put your eyeliner on straight at the same time!

I would be happy to forward this innovative piece of junk to anyone looking for a good laugh. Goodness only knows I had a blast leafing through it after all!