On Saturday Little Mouse and I got up early and did our normal morning routine but when nap time came around I put the baby monitor next to Thorsten’s ear and snuck out to run some errands. Tag team parenting is something I thought I didn’t want to do. I thought I wanted to parent together, but it turns out tag team is often the best way to be a parent and be a person at the same time.
These days getting to run errands by myself makes me feel free as a bird. It sounds so dumb but for an hour or so, I feel like I’m practically flying around town. Funny how our ideas of fun and freedom ebb and flow in the various phases of life. This feeling is partly because I am not afraid to go to the stores anymore. Part of it is because I actually know which stores to go to and now I enjoy interacting with strangers again. But the big part of it really is the silence and the speed which one can get around sans baby.
Anyway, on this day I was able to get to a few shops, the bakery and get home in time to make “American breakfast” (i.e. eggs and bacon) for us. It was a beautiful sunny day, I came home with the Mandevilla I mentioned in the last post and was able to plant it and then sit outside with Little Mouse for a few minutes enjoying the garden. On this morning, I felt like I was really winning at “mom-ing” and “wife-ing” and “person-ing”–I should give credit to Thorsten though who was also winning at “Dad-ing” making it possible for me to get these things accomplished at such a speed.
Later that day I’m sure some things went wrong, something was unorganized or I forgot one of the one million things we need to bring with us every time we leave the house and some how the day went from winn-ing to annoy-ing.
The same thing happened later in the week. I needed to take Little mouse to the doctor for a cold. (Conveniently our pediatrician is just down the street.) But unfortunately he was on vacation and that meant I had to take her to a pediatrician in another town. Most of the time Thorsten comes along to these types of appointments in case some details get lost in the translation. However, this time Little Mouse and I went on our own. And–drum role please–I found the place and navigated the whole appointment in German without any help. The doctor explained things clearly and even gave extra information. This was a win for sure and a huge milestone.
But later (as usual) some things didn’t go perfect. I didn’t have a dinner idea, things weren’t organized and then as Little Mouse got tired, she got pretty unpleasant and the winning day started to unravel.
The thing is, I’m used to working at jobs where you can learn as you go and get it right the next time until you are as close to perfect as possible. This works most especially with ballet but it worked well with gardening too. With parenting however, when next time comes it will probably look different, smell different and be a different size so if you are lucky enough recognize it you may not have the proper tools to fix it.
This phase of parenting reminds me of some jobs I’ve had. The jobs where your boss is demanding and unreasonable. In fact, aside from the reality that babies are adorable, they are a lot like these kind of bosses–they can’t communicate, they are demanding and they are fickle. From my view, anyone who has worked for this kind of boss, is probably poised for great success in parenthood. For those of you who still work for someone like this: take a short break and give yourself a pat on the back from me. At least I’m in love with my little terrorist dictator and she is cuddly and tiny.
The point is: I realized that the likelihood of getting it perfect is pretty low when almost all the rules of the game change every week. This kid is changing and growing so much that there is almost no possibility of keeping up. It’s next to impossible to master parenting because it’s different every single day. As a result the only thing I’ve gotten really good at is accepting that every day is different and realizing that I never know what I’m going to get when the alarm goes off. (Hopefully in my case, this aspect of parenting is preparing me for some fascinating job where this skill is a necessity.)
I have realized that the difference between feeling like I’m winning and feeling like I’m losing is pretty small. Each day has a lot in common and so there isn’t actually a ton of room for the day to head totally off course. I think the business of winning or losing, and the personal scoring system that goes with it is mostly in my head and most definitely needs an overhaul.
So when possible, you’ll find me basking in the moments of laughter and “living it up” while I periodically enjoy kid-free errand running. The real joy in that? I get a glimpse of my old self and relish the memories of feeling like I knew what was coming next and I thinking that had everything under control.
Happy Weekend Everybody!