When you have a baby, many things are added to your life. Pure joy, for one. A love you didn’t know was possible, for another. Happiness. A sense of meaning. Wisdom (well, relatively…babies are super dumb so you are super wise in comparison).
Of course, it’s a bit of a trade-off because you lose things too in the process. A good night’s sleep. Daydrinking. The ability to talk to people without mentioning poop or very private medical details.
But the thing I miss the most is procrastination.
We’ve been friends a long time, procrastination and me. We first met in high school, where we spent countless mornings in the girl’s bathroom together, furiously copying Misty’s Spanish homework in the seven minutes between arriving at school and the first bell (which wasn’t really cheating because I was totally absorbing the material as I sloppily scribbled it down…el gato esta en la microonda, comprende?).
Procrastination is also the reason why I read “Huckleberry Finn” in one night in college, closing the cover at 4 a.m. and realizing I had just read one the greatest books of all time as I drifted off to sleep (and then continued sleeping right through the exam).
But once you have a kid, being able to procrastinate is the second thing to go, right after the ability to watch any TV show in which a child gets kidnapped.
Yes, no longer do I possess the luxury of putting things off. Oh, trust me, I tried. There for awhile I kept my same kitchen cleaning schedule of “only do the dishes once you find yourself eating soup out of a Frisbee using a shot glass.” But then what ends up happening is that all the bottles and sippy cups are dirty and you have to wash an individual one in the sink like some kind of peasant and all the while the baby is screaming because he’s hungry and you realize you’re just going to repeat this whole horrible process in three hours unless you finally just cave in and load the dishwasher. And before you know it, suddenly you’re emptying and reloading the dishwasher every single day.
It’s the same way with the laundry. I put off doing it until the evening I realized Riker was completely out of clothes. So I just slapped my old Nirvana T-shirt on the kid, tucked him in and called it a night. Except I didn’t get a wink of sleep that night because I kept worrying that, of course, that night would be the night something horrible happened and I’d have to take him to the emergency room and the doctor would take one look at this tiny thing swimming in Kurt Cobain’s face and immediately call child services because I am obviously an unfit mother.
And let me tell you, you will only once, ONCE, miscalculate how many diapers you have and say to yourself “oh, that should be enough, we’ll just go to the store tomorrow.” Because babies can sense when you only have three diapers left and they view it as a personal challenge to use them all in the next 37 minutes.
I don’t even procrastinate on paying bills anymore. Because while having my electricity cut off and my landlord knocking on the door while I drink vodka in the dark and praise my creative spirit that wouldn’t let me sell out (I am CREATING ART, I have a DREAM, dammit) seemed very “la vie boheme” a few years ago, it’s just irresponsible and sad when you’re a parent.
But I think what I miss procrastinating the most on is this right here. Writing. As I type this very sentence, it’s been two hours since I sat down and started this column. And I’ve sat here this whole time, just typing word after word, until they became sentences and the sentences became paragraphs. I haven’t gotten up. I haven’t checked Facebook and Twitter. I haven’t made myself a snack or Googled new diets as I ate my snack or online shopped for clothes I would fit into thanks to my new future diet.
I just wrote.
Now, if you’re not a writer, you might think “well, yeah, that’s how it works.” But it’s not. Writing is the thing writers spend the least amount of time on. When a writer says they’re writing, what they’re really doing for three hours is anything else in the world followed by ten minutes of actual writing followed by Googling their own name as they eat Cheetos.
And I miss that. Deeply.
But here I sit. Actually writing. Because my husband has stuff he needs to do today and in a few minutes it will be my turn to play “Let’s Not Kill Ourselves!” with the baby.
So, for those of you out there who are still able to procrastinate, enjoy it. Luxuriate in it. Hug it, kiss it, then air hump it and spoon it for an hour.
Because once it’s gone, once you actually have to do the stuff that needs to be done all the time, you’ll miss it.
Or at least you would if you weren’t busy sweeping the floors because you just pulled your baby out from under the table and he looked like he went a couple of rounds with some mammoth dust bunnies on steroids and lost.