It Has Been Made Clear to Me That I Cannot Have It All
This morning I woke up at 6:30 and the baby was still asleep. He usually wakes up at six and we all sit in bed talking to him for like an hour, praying he will go back to sleep soon, but today he is sick. I got in the shower, ate breakfast, got dressed, packed my bag. He was still asleep. I opened my computer to check on the site, tried to start working, but we had no coffee in the house and this was just not going to happen. I laid in bed and just stared at him for awhile, looking at the clock. I paced the apartment, put a granola bar in my bag, went and stood over his little bed. I can’t leave for work until I feed him, and then I have to leave immediately after I feed him so I can get the most of my 2.5-hour window. Two and a half hours is kind of pushing it, even, but sometimes I am gone for three. At two hours I start to get antsy. Guilty. My boobs start to hurt and I imagine the baby to be fussing and I’m panicking a little while I search for an image to go with a blog post. If I finish my work and come home early I am the family saint, a hero. “Look who’s here! It’s your mama!” The baby is smiling, I’m wondering if this means I get extra credit. Can I leave again after I feed him? Go do more work?
Before I sit down to nurse him I have the tote bag by the door, my shoes on my feet, hanging off the bed. I check Twitter on my phone and favorite articles to blog about.
He finally woke up at about 8:30 today. He stretched, made some noise, closed his eyes again. “Shit child,” I thought, “I don’t have all day!” I wanted to wiggle his foot, to shake him awake. Then I wondered if this was a terrible, selfish impulse. “Never wake a sleeping baby!” I looked around to see if I was in Dustin’s line of sight. I felt the baby’s forehead, figuring that was both maternal and served my current interests. He squirmed more and woke up. Yes.
By 8:45 I was tired again, wishing I had taken the time to wash my hair in the shower. I’d been up for two hours without coffee, which is not right by anyone’s standards. I could have gone for a run! I could have put on eyeliner! Dustin changed him and handed him to me and I put a boob in his mouth and promptly fell asleep. I woke up at 9:30 and thought, Fuck, I have missed a half hour of working time. Then figured if I fed him MORE, the clock started over again. I put him on the other boob and made sure to stay awake, so I could bolt as soon as he was done. 15 or so minutes later he stopped and I said, “Okay!” which is my way of saying, “OKAY take the baby I am running out of here and buying an iced coffee before anyone can stop me.” But then I sat the baby up and he started smiling and trying to laugh, which is this week’s new talent. We walked around the kitchen waving and bouncing him around and repeating unintelligible stuff and I slowly inched towards my totebag full of computer and was like, “Okayyyy.” I took a bunch of photos of the baby flying around the kitchen like superman and said, Okayyy a few more times. I looked at Dustin. My hair was falling out of its ponytail. I am wearing one of his v neck tshirts, maternity leggings, and purple Crocs. “Do I look like a blogger?” I asked him. “YES,” he said. It was a very definitive yes. I laughed. I put my hair in a new ponytail, looked at the clock — 10 a.m. — and swung open the door. I had been up for three and a half hours, and hadn’t even managed to put on real pants. I turned back and shouted “BYE!” and the baby smiled. They bounced away. I bounced away.
It’s so nice out today. All I want is time to work and yet when I walk outside to work all I want is to go sit on a bench somewhere and comment on the breeze. I text Dustin, “It’s so nice out today,” almost every morning. The thing is, mornings are amazing, weather-wise. I just never knew. I haven’t experienced mornings since like, high school.
Since it was so nice out I decided to walk to the coffeeshop further away. I walked in and it was full. I turned right around and walked out. I am no longer do the rookie move of buying a coffee and then there’s nowhere to sit and then how do you go work at another coffeeshop now, you fool? I walked back down the street in my blogger clothes and went into the first coffeeshop. It was full, too. It was 10:15. Prime freelancer in a coffeeshop hours! I got a coffee anyway and headed to the library. So many precious working minutes wasted walking around the neighborhood. And before I left this morning Dustin was like, And when you get home, we can go get lunch somewhere!” And I was like, “And then I can do more work?” And he was like, “Wait a minute. I have a ton of work I want to do today, too.” NOOOO. I was thinking about this as I crossed the street on the way to the library, about his work. “And how much are you getting paid for this work?” I asked him in my head, as if I am a highly paid consultant who is putting bread on the table and not working two and a half hours a day while burning through a windfall.
I got to the library feeling good, my iced coffee already almost halfway gone. There was only one person at the laptop table. I felt like I was really ahead of the curve, getting there early or something. I opened my computer and it was 10:25. Fuck, man. I wasted half an hour walking around between places. I sat down and then the little, “I agree to not whatever whatever” library wifi prompt never popped up. I turned off the wifi, turned it back on again. Nothing. I restarted my computer. Nothing. I looked around. Nothing. I tweeted about how I saw a LDS missionary duo at the library and one of them was drinking a Coke. Scandal! I turned Wifi on and off on my computer again. Tried Firefox. Tried Safari. Closed my laptop, opened it. Texted pictures of the baby to my mom. “Feeling better!” I watched little kids run around the library. I checked my @-replies on Twitter, tweeted more things. The one other guy sitting at the laptop table had come back from wandering around and I asked him if the internet was working for him. It was not. He said he asked the librarian earlier but it still didn’t work. Maybe the librarian forgot to fix it? “I’ll go ask!” I said. More people had come to sit down and were opening their laptops. They were all sighing. I was like the Norma Rae of restarting the wifi. I marched up to the guy behind the circulation desk, noted his Warby Parker frames which looked pretty great considering he was like a 50-year-old harried librarian in a khaki short-sleeve button up. “Hey,” I said, trying to establish that I “got” his job and knew how stressed he was. “What’s up?” he asked me. He either sighed or exhaled. I took it to be an exhale like, “Wow finally someone who gets me is asking for help.” “So,” I said, VERY breezy. “Something’s up with the wifi?” He launched into an extended apology and told me how many times he’d try to restart it then said he would again. “Ooh,” I said, “Damn, ok.” He hustled over and plugged and unplugged something and I resisted the urge to ask if I could try. I walked back to the table and everyone looked at me with puppy dog eyes and I just shrugged. “He’s gonna restart it again.” The guy walked over shrugging and told us he didn’t know what was going on.
We all sat there refreshing and closing and opening our laptops for awhile, stubborn. No pop-ups popped up. I texted Dustin that I had been to two coffeeshops and now the library and the wifi was busted so I was coming home. He made a comment about a certain co-working space in the area that is $75/month but doesn’t have air conditioning and is furnished with street trash furniture and for whatever reason, the mood I was in at the time we visited I guess, makes me SO MAD. When we walked in to check it out I just shouted, “NO!” Dustin told me I was ruined by my time in startups. He said he should have known, implying maybe correctly that I was a brat. I wondered where everyone’s $75 was going. “The rent?” Okay fine. I shut up, figuring I should be happy this place made Dustin happy, and that he would go there, and I would have some time to myself with the baby, which was almost like being alone. Almost. I wondered aloud, joking, if I could bring my own Aeron chair there and back every day. Just shove over the plywood bench and make room for my french press and put on my noise-canceling headphones and off I would go.
By the time I got back to the apartment, greeted by a smiling baby, it was 11:30 a.m. I’ve been up for five hours, haven’t done a lick of work, and have to feed the baby again at noon. I can hear him crying as I finish this, his dad is consoling him. “Your mom is going to feed you, she just has to find an image to go with the post.”