During our drive home, my daughter Mel requires a snack. So every day, I have to bring a bag of chips, some crackers, or whatever leftover baked goods were lying around the nursing station for her to nosh on during the ten minute drive home. Sometimes I'll get something extra yummy and I'll be excited to see how happy she is. She even brags about the snack to her friends. "My mommy always has a snack for me in the car."
Yesterday I purchased a little cup of custard for her from the hospital cafeteria. I have always been a fan of custard and I thought she was going to love it. I expected lots of thanks and hugs and a happy drive home.
When Mel got into the car, I presented her with the custard cup. She looked excited and asked me to open it. She took one bite. "I don't like it," she said. "It tastes bad."
I tasted the custard and she was right. It tasted like cardboard.
"Can I have something else?" she asked.
Usually I keep an emergency snack pack of Skittles in my pocket, but I had recently changed coats, so I had nothing else to offer her. "Sorry, honey," I said. "We'll have a snack at home."
"But I'm SO HUNGRY!!!!" she wailed. "I'm going to get a rumbleache!"
"Well, what would you like me to do??" I retorted.
She didn't have an answer, but continued to sob as I strapped Baby into her carseat. I recently purchased a new coat for Baby and overestimated her size, so she's basically floating in this comically large pink coat. And because we're frightened into making the carseat straps ridiculously tight, Baby was screaming by the time I had her secured.
I started the car with both kids crying in the back seat. My blood pressure felt like it was a million over a billion. I considered maybe stopping for fast food on the way back, but really, the only stop I wanted to make was at my OB/GYN to get sterilized.
I don't like stress. Stress stresses me out. While I adore my kids more than anything, it would be so nice to be able to take one shower without someone busting in on me and asking when I'll be done. It would be nice to spend a whole day in bed getting to do whatever I want to do. Something like that feels selfish, even decadent, to me now.
For a brief time, I was trying to do some meditation to help me relax, but in general, I just couldn't find 10 quiet, uninterrupted minutes in my whole day to do it.
The crazy thing is, I don't think I have that much more stress than the average mom. Yes, I work, but lots of moms work. Yes, I have two small kids, but I know lots of working moms who have three or four small kids.
Maybe we're all giant balls of stress. There's this woman I always see at the daycare who comes to pick up her three year old and her twin toddlers, and she always looks so miserable. Is it just a given that when you're a working mom of small kids, you're going to be constantly stressed out? Will I just not be able to relax for another 4-5 years?