Saturday, March 1, 2008

Ho-hum, being a parent is a yawn fest

I had time to sit and be bored yesterday. We were in the car, and I had forgotten my resolve always to carry a book with me, so when Mikko fell asleep in his car seat and Sam needed to run into a store to search for a cheese knife, I was left to my own devices.

I used to be accustomed to boredom. I was in school all day long for years and years, and I watched the clock tick by with agonizing slowness. I would purposely not look at it and then think, Surely now 15 minutes will have gone by -- and look, and -- 2 minutes?? I was a good student, which not only meant that I frequently felt the pace was too slow, but also that I could usually disguise my boredom into a mask of polite attention, the better to please my teachers.

I didn't relize how bored I had been all my life until I graduated college and went into the "real world" and found it less predictable than I had anticipated. Despite our original efforts to be conventional, Sam & I found ourselves in the unusual situation of working from home together. Suddenly, our days were filled with whatever we wanted them to be filled with. People would say to us, "You work from home? You must have a lot of self-discipline!" And we would think, "Self-discipline? Oh, that would help."

Now every time I needed to reenter the world of schedules and regulations, I felt constrained. I had thrown off my shackles, baby, and I needed to be free! Whenever we had to attend a meeting at the company we were working for, I would chafe under how sloooowly the time ticked away, bringing my school days back to me in living dullness.

With 9 years of self-direction under my belt, I'm now ill equipped to be bored. It's hard for me to sit still during church, and I don't see why people want to. I guess they're just used to it?

Where this has really hurt me is in having a baby. Babies, my friend, are boring.

They are. They don't interact with you in a verbal fashion, they just sit around and chew on things, they get bored themselves so easily.... It sort of reminds me of a cat's life, because I've often felt it must be terribly dull to be a pet. It's like I'm amusing a 30-pound cat who, unlike a cat, does not want to sleep all day and can puncture my eardrums with his displeasure.

I wish I didn't get so bored with Mikko, because it makes me feel like a bad mother, an unnatural mother. I'm glad to have Sam around all day, because I think I'd scream from the frustration otherwise, and I'm glad we're continuing to work and do other things instead of my being a stay-at-home mom. I don't have a problem with other women deciding that's for them, but I don't understand how they can stand it. That's not flippant -- I seriously don't think I could manage.

I'm hoping that, the more Mikko matures, the less he'll need from me and the more he'll give to me. That sounds selfish, because it is, but I think it's selfish in a good-for-both-of-us kind of way. I am taking care of him now, because that's what he demands, but I do look forward to both of us being able to enjoy our time together, plus spend some time apart to amuse ourselves.

I don't know if I'm saying this right, because it still sounds like I'm a horrible person. I'm not actively regretting motherhood, and I really did expect the baby stage to be boring. I'm just glad that it doesn't last forever. When people tell me, "Oh, look how much he's grown! The time just goes so fast!" I always reply, "Thank goodness."


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