Mommies Get Tired, Too

When I was younger, there was always something that I wanted my mom to do for/with me. There was a television show or some kind of homework or a shirt that absolutely had to be washed before the next day or even worse, I wanted her to do something physical. I’m not exactly sure why I wanted her to jump on the trampoline or walk down the road or practice soccer with me, but it seemed logical at the time. My mom’s energy was limitless, and as far as I was concerned, it all belonged to me. It wasn’t as if she worked or cooked dinner or did all of our laundry… the rest of her time was supposed to belong to me, or that’s what I thought until I had my first weekend as a Mommy myself.
I guess my entry to mommyhood started on Friday. I knew as soon as I woke up, I felt different and not because of some excruciating labor or anything like that… I decided to skip that step of mommyhood. I walked into the kitchen of our apartment and looked at the leftover pasta with homemade creamy feta sauce that I had made the night before. I like trying new recipes; it’s my time to remember who I was when I was younger: creative, hopeful. But of course, when Andrew came home from work, he rudely overlooked the dinner I made, the dinner that he was two hours late for. Didn’t it matter that I had cooked that evening? Wasn’t it good enough? No. He opted for a sandwich instead, and as I looked at the pasta, I realized just how unappreciated I was. But because of my unrelenting spirit, I decided to sweep the apartment, but no one cared. Eleanor and Marsha would have been so proud of me because the entire floor was spotless, but alas, no one noted it. And then when we went out for “happy hour” that night, I drank more drinks than anyone else. I could feel their judgment. I could visibly see the terrible vibes heading my way, but when a mommy works as hard as I do cooking and sweeping and watching half of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows 2 and the last fifteen minutes of No Strings Attached, I feel like I deserved all three of those margaritas.
And then on Saturday, I did the most mommy thing I could think of: I spent the day going off to antique stores and thrift stores by myself. Sure, I left Ben at the apartment sleeping, but he’s stayed by himself before; he could find something to eat for lunch. It was “me time;” a moment for me to go and enjoy the things that old people had once owned, then left to someone in their will, only to be market at a completely unaffordable price. I enjoyed looking through old newspapers and furniture, measuring cups marked for 45 dollars and the occasional affordable, but completely impractical, cigar tin. And then after that, I made friends with an old woman and met her and her life partner at their house to pick up a free record player. I then swung by the Goodwill to pick up a Carole King album to test on my record player– my favorite one, Tapestry. And as I carried it to the register, I had realized that maybe this mommy metaphor had gotten out of control. I was standing in a secondhand store, running my finger along a Carole King album and reflecting on how I had fallen in love with the distressed wood armoire that was completely out of my price range. The whole day had been consumed with mingling with old people and befriending old lesbians. I was just excited that after two weeks of a new city and new people and a new apartment, I was finally getting some time to myself. I had suddenly become the hybrid of a gay man and a 45 year old divorcee, and I had no idea how I had gotten there.
So today I decided to go back to being a twenty-two year old man; I had every intention of doing so, but as soon as I got up, that all changed. Andrew and I took off at a completely unreasonable hour on a Sunday to go pick up an old plastic Christmas tree; once we got there, we found a blue wing backed chair, a piece of wall art, and a KitchenAid blender. We spent a bit loading it all into the car, but then I felt accomplished all over again, in the way that I imagine only mommies feel accomplished. Then, we returned and they asked me to go play basketball, but all I wanted to do was pour myself a morning drink and read yesterday’s Washington Post that someone conveniently throws away everyday without reading. Apparently, we played a game called “21,” which I thought involved a deck of cards, a fold out table, and a visor, but then I found myself out on a basketball court running around (which is honestly the furthest thing from the truth). After meandering around the court for a while, I made a legitimate attempt to score, made 2 points, and then sat down. I had accomplished what I set out to do: be involved long enough to feel like I had done something, then quit… kind of like what I do with every sport I’ve been involved in. Then I spent the rest of our time watching Ben argue with the Mexican children at the court, as Andrew was being called “big boy,” by the other child. I wanted to run out on to the court and explain to Andrew that he is perfect the way God made him, and he probably just looks “big boned” to the other kids, but sometimes, you have to let them grow up on their own. Instead, I sat on the bench and talked to a friend from home.
We decided to go to the mall, which concluded with Ben yelling in the car and pressing on my knee to make the car go faster. I almost threatened to pull over and let him walk home, but seriously, what kind of parent does that? If I’m stuck in mommy-mode indefinitely, I will not be the kind of parent that ends up getting visited from DHS. Not at my home; not on my time. Eventually, we came back, and Andrew wanted me to teach him how to iron. After the first shirt, he offered a trade: if I would iron all his shirts for him each week, he would give me a preset amount of cuddle time in return. Yes, cuddling. Even though I’m a pretty huge fan of some recreational cuddling, I barely have the ambition to iron my own shirts during the week, let alone Andrew’s. Plus, I don’t know what I’ll be doing when Andrew needs his shirts ironed. It might be TV time, and it’s just a sin to cross housework with syndicated television.
I honestly don’t know how my mom did it. I can’t cut being a mom, and I hate feeling like I’ve somehow let myself fall into mommy mentality. I miss being a 22 year old, and I can only hope that maybe this is some weird phase that I’m going through, kind of like how I treated the majority of last week like I was on a reality television show. Andrew and Ben are not children by any means… correction: Andrew and Ben are not children any more than I am. We’re all still kind of children, I guess. But if randomly going through a mommy phase is any kind of reflection on how being an actual parent is, I don’t know if I want a part in that for a while. Buying things for myself is expensive, let alone things for people that don’t have the ability to buy things themselves. Sometimes, like this morning, I don’t want to even get out of bed to do things that I’ve chosen to do myself, so the prospect of waking up to take care of someone else just isn’t something that appeals to me right now. All I can hope is that this weird mommy feeling will be over before I know it because there’s only so much red wine I can drink out of a Redskins cup; that’s the problem you have when two cultures collide.

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