As a single mother I need to attest to a fair amount of resentment regarding certain types of people and comments. Some of this is just further proof that I’m a bit of a bitch, but a lot of it is surely driven by flat out exhaustion. You get your 5 year old to eat beans? I’m lucky to get her past the yoghurt! Yours is fluent in 3 languages? I’m terribly impressed if mine speaks english to me in the morning without the inflection of whining that she’s picked up somewhere this summer, a new variant on the past dialect.
So i’m scrubbing the bathtub this morning, the filthy tub I’ve put off for too long because dammit, when it’s 38C, I am not spending time scrubbing head down with hot water. And it’s nasty filthy, actual dirt, not just “un shiny”-and I wonder if the people who have time to do elaborate meals and outfits for their kids, who have these incredible sounding little cultured people, if they have the spotless tubs I imagine them to have? And if so, where is the time? Do they not sleep? Do they eat? Is this why some women are so skinny?
My house is something I look at with a certain level of shrugged irritation. I can’t get ahead of it all, the cleaning, the cooking, the “educational toys and books”. My kids eat Mr. Noodle too often and spend time on the computer doing what kids in the summer do-playing, wasting time, dicking around. Presently they’ve been kicked outside as my mother would have done “I don’t want to see or hear from you in the next hour.” But I’m thinking in the grand scheme of mom war, I’d lose, Because I flat out don’t have the time.
I am jealous of those women who have the time to do all the baking and cleaning and interaction that I can’t do. I really am. I envy their lives, their plans, the meaning they give to the days. But I have a choice-I could spend my little time with my children cleaning and organizing and planning and making, or we can just hang out and be kids and Mom together in the last humid weeks of this summer.
I resent that I lose all this time with them. That parenting isn’t even benign neglect at this point, but rushing to and fro. I parent more on the walk to and from day care than I do at home. Mornings are crazed muddles and “let’s move!” and evenings a time when I have to puposefully slow myself down, so we all enjoy Equal Rights, not just me for the small victory of creating another Pratchett addicted person. I resent that these days move too fast, and I know it. I feel it rush past us, and then suddenly I know it’s not about bean sandwiches or sprouts or doing algebra. It’s about the time I lose to my circumstance, to reality, to a world I know I didn’t ask for, this one where we run and we run and nothing gets better.
I can’t get it back, any of it, and they grow older as I stand, hands slipping through time like water. I can’t stem the tide.