I just need to peel 10 potatoes. Throw the chicken in the oven. Quickly cut up some cucumbers. I should have it all done in time for it to be ready when the kids finish their computer time. Mommy Camp is running nice and smooth at this very moment and I’m feeling pretty pleased about it.
And then my baby wakes up. My very tiny little baby. I have to remind myself that he’s really still a newborn, since running full blown Mommy Camp can make me forget that. And he wants to eat. Like now. Well, Mommy Camp is about to lose its efficiency.
I sit down to nurse. And rock. And change the baby’s diaper. And nurse again. And rock again.
All this while I peel potatoes. And cut cucumbers. Get the chicken in the pan and pop it in the oven. Switch the load from the washing machine (that I put in 8 hours earlier) into the dryer. And put in a new load of laundry.
Except for that I do that all mentally-but accomplish nothing.
I look around and realize that time is not stopping and neither is this little precious three week old.
Although there’s so many things I’ve mastered doing (safely!) with one hand, peeling potatoes isn’t one of them. It’s one of the few things I still can’t do while holding a baby. And dealing with raw chicken while holding him…no. And no, I will not put on any sworn-by baby carrier/sling what-not because I do not like them. I don’t care if every other mother does – I don’t. Doesn’t work for me.
And so I close my eyes and try to ignore the clock.
And open my eyes and notice the clock. And feel the stress and dread of supper not being ready when this very energetic Mommy Camp bombards this kitchen.
And I look at my newborn and try to breathe and count and relax and enjoy the moment. And close my eyes so I don’t see everything waiting for me.
It’ll wait, I know it won’t go anywhere.
But my nerves are getting a little stretched, despite all my therapeutic calming techniques.
I look at my baby and ask him to help me brainstorm for a magical supper menu that’ll prepare itself.
I know I’m not going to win here.
I also know that no one will complain if there’s cereal and milk for supper, and I can serve it with one hand too. But the longer I sit, the longer my to-do list grows.
I look at my sweet little baby who I love dearly. I smell him and hold him close. I look at my kitchen waiting for me and try to push away the demanding look it’s giving me.
I try to make sense out of what my baby is telling me. I try to push all my demanding thoughts out of my head. He’s screaming. Loud. Nothing else exists other than this little swaddled baby. I know this stage passes by so quickly. But right now, I also need the bathroom.
Here’s the thing about newborns. There’s no negotiating.
Newborns don’t teach you how to prioritize, they force you to. And it sure isn’t easy.