Friday, June 08, 2007

Time In A Bottle. Or A Boobie.

In the early days of WonderBaby, my time was measured out in a tidy little journal that I tended to obsessively. Every nursing session, every nap, every shit and piss and spit was dutifully recorded: when, where and how. My time, in other words, was managed retrospectively: I was flying by the seat of my maternity pants, and then carefully applying a schedule to that flight after the fact.

It wasn't particularly elegant, but it was a system, and it worked for me.

It worked, in part, because WonderBaby was pretty predictable in every respect save for napping, and in (larger) part because I had absolutely nothing to do but nurse and change diapers and wipe up shit and and tend to ravaged nipples and maybe get in the odd weekly shower and generally try to keep from going insane. It also worked because there was no time in the interstices of those activities: I just did the work of mothering, I didn't think about it, I didn't plan it, I didn't schedule it, I just did it. Where there is no time, there is no need for a schedule.

Now, however, things are different. The work of motherhood is, in many respects less intense, less filled with anxiety, but it is, at the same time, more difficult to manage. My boobs don't tell me when it's time to feed WonderBaby, as they used to. And they certainly don't tell me when swim class begins, or when our next appointment with the pediatrician is scheduled, or when we're due to meet her posse at the park. Which is a shame, because that would be really convenient, except for the leakage part.

Which is to say: I can no longer follow the rhythms of my own time, and apply order to those rhythms after the fact. WonderBaby's rhythms and my rhythms are no longer in tune, and our time is no longer completely our own. We have lives now, mother and daughter, outside of our cave, and with those lives come schedules and timetables and appointments and watches and clocks. With those lives comes time, and goes time.

With this life, my feet have become tangled in time. It comes and it goes and it swirls around me and I cannot pin it down, hold it firm, keep it still long enough to seize control of it. So I fly by the seat of my pants (mercifully, no longer maternity), but am now unable to impose order retroactively. I no longer have my little book. I am no longer in control of my chaos, because it lives outside of me, and beyond the reach of any little book. It's just chaos.

But we manage. We make it to the park, to the playgroups, to the pediatrican, usually. WonderBaby gets her meals, and (knocking knocking knocking SO LOUDLY on wood right now) her naps (yes, she naps, after such a long period of abstinence. A miracle. KNOCK WOOD), and everything else that she needs for a good life, a rich life. And I manage. I meet most of my responsibilities. I tilt and spin through the day trying to keep track, trying to remember, trying to stay ahead of everything that I have to stay ahead of. Always, I fail, in big ways or in very, very small ways, but the days still go by and we keep moving on and every day still feels pretty awfully good. But still - at the end of each of those days, I ask myself, where did the time go?

I know: it didn't go anywhere. It spun around me and it tripped me, or tried to, and at the end of each day its memory sticks to the heels of my feet like so much tattered, wasted toilet paper.

Which is where it will be tomorrow, too.

And the next day, and the next, and all our yesterdays, too.


This is posted as part of the current Parent Bloggers Blog Blast: 'Where Does My Time GO?" which celebrates both BlogHer (could win a registration! will give away! whoot!*) and
Light Iris – a site for moms featuring a specialized Google search which will - YES - help you to get more control over your time.

*Yep. Will give away the BlogHer registration if this post is drawn as a winner. But if not - there's still one to give away over at
MommyBlogsToronto... Check it out - you have until June 15th!

1 comment:

mothergoosemouse said...

"No need for a schedule."

Oh, how you summed it up right there. No wonder I felt trapped by those baby days. My life is happiest when I've got lots of shit to do.

Thanks, C.