Tag Archives: parental wisdom

A eulogy for procrastination (that I’ll finish writing later)

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).

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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.

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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.

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33 Things I’ve learned in 33 years*

*(New Parent Edition)

1. A baby’s cry has the magical ability to make time stop. For instance, 45 seconds of crying feels like three hours. And three hours of crying feels like you can’t remember life before the crying started and will probably die before it ends.

2. There are a lot of perks to having a baby. Using them as an excuse to stop cleaning your house is the best one.

3. How much a baby wants to vomit is directly proportional to how much you like the outfit you are currently wearing.

4. Never get mad when someone gets the gender of your baby wrong. Only get mad when they get your gender wrong.

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5. Watching your kid get a shot at the doctor really does hurt you more than it hurts them. But then you remember how much the first six weeks of breastfeeding hurt and suddenly you don’t feel nearly as bad for them anymore.

6. Babies are born with two very strong instincts: To suckle and to headbutt you right on the nose. They will want to do both of these things often.

7. Ironically, babies themselves are the best form of birth control.

8. You will love your baby more than anything else in the world. Except for sleep.

9. Always assume a pregnant woman is hungry. Because she is.

10. You cannot fathom how much you will talk about poop once you have a baby. How much, how often, consistency, color, smell, whether or not it exploded out of their cute, little tushie like an erupting volcano. It will sneak into every conversation you have.

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11. Apparently, there is such a thing as a stupid question. Or at least that’s what my son’s pediatrician told me when I called him at 3 a.m. last night.

12. Dogs love babies. And they show this love by licking them directly in the mouth every chance they get.

13. Hearing your baby laugh is the best sound in the world. I don’t have a follow-up joke for this. It just really is.

14. You will often find yourself oversharing incredibly personal information to your other mom friends, such as how your C-section scar is healing and why you need to use a nipple shield while breastfeeding. And you will do this loudly. While in public places.

15. Never tell a pregnant woman that cheeseburgers are not an acceptable breakfast food. She will stab you.

16. Babies use sleep deprivation as a mind control device. You will quite literally be willing to do anything for them if it means you can just take a five minute nap.

17. No matter how clearly you explain it to them, babies will never understand the correlation between them shoving their finger in their eye and why they are currently in pain and crying.

18. Never ask a pregnant woman if you think she should be eating that. She will stab you.

19. You will completely forget how much you hated people who constantly posted photos of their kids all over Facebook and Instagram while you’re busy uploading 56 photos to your album “Baby’s First Tuesday!”

20. Never eat off a pregnant woman’s plate. She will stab you.

21. If there was an Olympic sport called “Who can pee the farthest?”, a baby would win.

22. If there was an Olympic sport called “Who can spit the binkie out the farthest?”, a baby would win.

23. If there was an Olympic sport called “How many times can I make this idiot pick up the binkie off the floor?”, a baby would win.

24. I can’t prove it, but I’m pretty sure maternity ward nurses are angels. Angels handing out magical painkillers made of rainbows and unicorns and the happy tears of a teacup pig.

25. The second you brag about how well your baby sleeps through the night is the second he decides to wake up every 15 minutes every single night for the next six months.

26. Never ask a pregnant woman if she ate that entire cake. She did. And she will stab you.

27. Grandparents are the only people on this earth who will not immediately hand back to you your screaming child.

28. Screw sliced bread. Disinfectant wipes are the best invention since forever.

29. Once you have a baby, eating a meal becomes a luxury. One you can no longer afford.

30. For some reason, babies hate any entertainment that isn’t jiggling keys. Hence, you will never watch a full TV episode or a movie in its entirety ever again.

31. Never tell a pregnant woman you think she’s gained too much weight. She will cry. And then she will stab you.

32. There are a lot of things wrong with the world. But it’s hard to think of any of them when you have a sleeping baby on your chest.

33. It’s likely at some point in your life you will be stabbed by a pregnant woman.