I am now officially a full-fledged member of the parenting club I was so reluctant to join. I paid my dues and everything—and I’m not speaking metaphorically. I’ve attended three meetings and have come to think of the ten other moms as my coworkers. (The ten other babies are, of course, my baby’s coworkers.) They help the day pass much more quickly. They share their snacks. They’re great for conversations around the water cooler. And if the boss gets upset with the quality of my work, I know they’ve got my back. (Who’s the boss? The baby, I suppose. Or maybe Tony Danza. Whichever. They communicate their desires with clear verbal instructions to me equally often.)
The downside, of course, is the inevitable competitiveness—not over assignments or clients or praise from the boss but jeans size and sleeping habits of our offspring.
My personal low today hit me after the following exchange:
Me: Does anyone else try to get work done at home and feel like it’s impossible?
Sweet Blonde Woman [est. size 6 jeans]: Yeah. It’s challenging, isn’t it?
Me [size 12 jeans]: Totally! How do you—?
Sweet Blonde Woman: I can only get work done in a few two-hour chunks when she’s napping in her crib.
Me [in my head]: Two-hour naps? A few of them? In her crib?
Me [in reality]: ---
Sweet Blonde Woman: Also, I get up at 6 so I can get a few hours of work done before she wakes up. But you don’t want to do that! [Smiling.]
Me [in my head]: Right! I don’t want to do that because the 3 to 21 minutes of work I would get done before my child wakes up is hardly worth it. And since my child has migrated to a spot right next to me by 6 in the morning, she would likely wake up with me anyway! Why won’t my child sleep in her crib?! Why won't she sleep until 8am? Why won’t she nap for more than 20 minutes at a time?! Why must she sleep on me?! When will Dr. Husband and I ever have sex again?!
At this point the facilitator sensed my panic and very gently reminded me that my baby is younger than Size 6 Sweet Blonde Woman’s baby. There’s hope, she seemed to be trying to say. Or maybe, Chill the hell out, crazy anxiety lady. You’re scaring all the babies.