Still Drinking Coffee

July 2, 2008

It’s almost 8:30, and I’m still drinking coffee. I’m soooo tired. I’m soooo stupid.

This is worse than college: I stay up all night, I regret it the next morning, but then I do it again.

All because I am desperate for a couple hours to myself.

Which are crucial. Not enough – and often, I still am not totally relaxing – I remain “interruptible” – Ariel Gore in her book The Mother Trip provides the insight that mothers are constantly interruptible, but we need time to be uninterruptible – it was really helpful to read her words and know that my constant feeling of being on call, on high alert, just ON – 24 hours a day – is not because there’s something crazy about ME. It’s commonplace, it’s hormonal, it’s motherhood.

It’s hard to explain to others that only when my kids are sleeping – and I know they’re asleep for at least half an hour, solid – can I come close to getting absorbed in something else – yoga, intimacy, writing, things that only have a benefit when you’re fully present and not leaving one ear perked like a satellite dish toward the children’s room.

Of course, by the end of the night, when they are finally both truly asleep – usually 10 p.m. – the last thing I feel like doing is yoga, intimacy, or writing. I want to veg. I want to watch bad television. I want to sleep. I want to read cheesy blogs. I don’t want to engage in anything that requires me to be thoughtful, soulful, or energetic. I have nothing left to give at that point. My body has been a source of nourishment, caring, and entertainment since 7 that morning – it wants a break.

So my relationships are suffering – long distance ones, that require phone calls – close ones, that require quality one-on-one interaction. Not to mention, my relationship with myself. Of course, the last thing I need right now is to grow distant from the ones I love. Again, Gore advocates for mothers to make time for things like sleep and meditation and sex – but god, it’s hard.

Sleep is so boring. And meditation and sex – though both can be reviving – require focus. Can I just chill with the Netflix for a good 48 hours? With some ice cream and vino, while someone gives me a massage, does my nails, trims my hair, takes notes for me when a thought of worth actually does crop up, a little crocus amid the weedy landscape that is my untended brain?

If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend Gore’s book and her site, hipmama.com. I don’t think I am at all a “hip” “mama” but it’s nice to know hip mamas exist out there. Mothers are not just saggy, docile, vapid yuppies in ill-fitting jeans driving SUVs badly. They are cool and creative and spiritual and sexual and intellectual and responsible for the human race’s various incarnations. They are not a sub-group for political pundits to try and buttonhole, nor are they a ‘they’ to be tapped and targeted by marketers.

More on that later – probably on my new blog…