I finally gave in, caved, cried uncle, cried helplessly into a wine glass, however you put it, and hired some childcare. Just part-time, a couple days and hours here and there. I was dreading it, and dragged my feet throughout the whole process to a ridiculous degree, to the point that Jason started calling applicants and having them show up at our house so I'd be forced to take it seriously and offer one of the nice ladies a damn job already.
I had a mother's helper only once -- after about two months of screenings and interviews, she quit a month later. Oh! And when she told me that she would need to watch Dr. Phil every afternoon I thought this was a perfectly reasonable request, being wholly clueless about...well, LIFE, and in my mind I predicted the exact same thing would happen should I ever try again: I will get talked into paying someone to watch Dr. Phil.
Today, they spent all morning building fantastical Tinker Toy creations and are now at the playground. The laundry has -- get the fuck out -- been folded and dishes put away. I took a shower. Way to show me up, Poppins!
Now, of course, I'm sitting here with hours of uninterrupted work time stretched out in front of me and absolutely no idea what to do first. Mamapop? AlphaMom? Finally get around to writing something besides hurried stream-of-consciousness drivel over here? Book proposal? Book outline? A hearty laugh because I don't even have an IDEA for a book, much less the attention span to write one ooh I know I'll make more coffee look shiny coffeepot SQUIRREL.
What was I talking about? Oh, right. The enormous crazy PRESSURE that comes from being an overprivileged asshole. My first-world problems. Let me show you them.
Whenever people ask me what I do, whenever I mention that I do work from home, my default I-don't-wanna-get-into-it answer is that I'm a "writer" and if asked, I usually say something vague about "online parenting columns." Which is true! And yet, a hedge-y stretch. I obviously don't blog anonymously, and always assume that everyone I know can and will read everything I write. So I'm not hiding the blog thing because I don't want people to find my online slam book. But at some point I got tired of the following responses:
1) What's a "blog?"
2) So do you like, just write about shit you do during the day?
3) Seriously, like, "I woke up and had coffee?"
4) And you make...(DOT DOT DOT INCREDULOUS PAUSE) money doing this?
5) How much?
6) Wait, is this a porn thing? You can tell me... (DOT DOT DOT OVERLY CREEPY FACIAL EXPRESSION)
So it was funny when Noah's speech therapist hesitantly brought up the fact that she'd found me on Babble. I saw the revelation coming before the words came out of her mouth, like yep, that thing, it is true. Am professional oversharer. One time I peed my pants at work! I got off a train in Newark! And I think Lavar Burton is a little scared of me now.
But! She was totally cool about it and thought it was funny and something more special-needs parents should do, and was all, dude, bitch AWAY about anybody here you want, WHATEVER. And then I threw myself at her ankles like, BEMYFRIEND and it got kind of awkward.
But! But! Not nearly as awkward as a conversation I had the very next day, back at Jason's company's holiday party thing, a conversation so mortifying I am just now getting around to writing about it, when I -- for once! one time! the one and only time ever! -- voluntarily outed myself as a blogger when asked what it was I did for a living. It was probably the fourth or fifth time I'd been asked, and -- embiggened by the Babble thing and the generally positive reactions I'd gotten that evening after I drilled through "writer" and "online parenting columns" and down to the details of "blawwwgging" -- I finally just shrugged my shoulders and informed a nice-enough looking young woman that I was a blogger. Hear me roar! Or...type. Or whatever it is we do. Rabblerouse. Technoratidiscohashtag.
Here's a rough overview on how the rest of the conversation went:
1) Oh, God, BLOGS. Really?
1a) Yes. Really.
1b) Aren't blogs kind of stupid?
1d) I...guess so?
2) Who has time for that? I mean, I guess if you stay home.
2a) Well, I actually started it back when I worked full-time as an editor...
2b) Oh, well, I guess if you have that kind of job...
3) I can't imagine putting stuff about our life on the Internet.
3a) Yes, well, the Truman Show aspect isn't for everybody, but I try to tell stylized stories with a lot of humor and...
3b) Can you imagine, honey? If I wrote about our life on the Internet? HA HA HAHA.
3c) ("Honey," who may or may not actually work for my husband, begins to look vaguely panicked.)
4) You don't put your kids' photos on your blog, do you?
4a) (abort abort! mayday mayday!)
4b) Because my sister is really careful and won't put her children's photos anywhere online.
4c) (do I know ANYBODY ELSE IN THIS GENERAL AREA? is that my PHONE RINGING? why are we SO FAR AWAY FROM THE BAR?)
4d) You know, because of the child molesters. And pedophiles. Aren't you worried about that?
4e) Jason magically sees someone else that "we absolutely have to talk to real quick, but we'll see you guys around okay bye now!"
5) Nice to meet you! What do you do?
5a) I'm a writer.
5b) I write some online parenting columns.
5c) THE END.
So that was really fun, basically getting every well-trod criticism of the Internet Age thrown in your face during a five-minute conversation with someone you've just met, right when you absolutely cannot think of a single well-reasoned response because your shoes are too pinchy. Hi there! I write quality things on the Internet! You can tell by all the "uhhhhs" and "ummms" and deer-in-the-headlights stares I use when dealing with real live human beings. I also live in a hobbit hole, my best friend is a webcam and I think breathing through one's nose is overrated.
Also, I paid someone to watch my children just so I could write the crowning achievement of modern literature that you have just wasted entire minutes of your life on.
Aren't blogs kind of stupid?
Yes. Yes they are. Happy to help prove your point! I'll be here all week. All month, even. And longer, because like it or not, this is just what I do.