Tuesday, June 27, 2006

How Life Is

This morning, I looked over at the car parked beside ours at the preschool parking lot. In it was a woman applying her make-up. I know this woman; I am this woman. Single motherhood means, among other things, that I no longer have time in the morning to apply my makeup before leaving the house (nor do I have time to wash my hair on a discouraging number of days). I can't keep my toenail polish even remotely acceptable (and I have ugly, ugly toes, so it's not a mere affectation on my part). These trivial things indicate the real lack: time for myself. All these experts and well-meaning friends (usually those who are a) childless and/or b) wealthy enough to employ nannies or armies of sitters) talk about how important it is to keep some time aside for oneself. I have plenty of "me-time"; it's just that it unilaterally occurs in the course of other essential functions. Time for reflecting as I empty the clean dishes from the dishwasher? Check. Time to grieve while I take out the garbage? Got it. A little haiku composing? Sure--while I roll the recycling bins back up the driveway and water the scraggly shrubs that pass for a "garden." Time for that inspirational pep-talk I've been meaning to give myself? Why of course--between miles 12 and 14 of the drive to dance class! Thus the time for those small personal chores that make me feel remotely human and more remotely feminine (eyebrow plucking, mascara application, toenail touch-ups) now happen in parking lots. I turn up the music, roll down the windows, and revel in self-indulgence. Really, I spoil myself.


At 10:59 AM , Blogger Yankee T said...

Oh, I so hear you! Having been alone with my girls for 12 years, I know exactly what you're talking about. I do understand that the difference is that I set out planning to be alone, and that somehow makes it easier. I wasn't dealing with the overwhelming grief. You are on my mind and in my thoughts, and if I can ever pass on any (not rich, no nanny) tips on how to grab a minute for yourself, feel free to email me.

At 7:57 AM , Anonymous MindSpin said...

Single parenting definitely calls for resourcefulness. I like to listen to audiobooks while I'm folding laundry or filing papers at school. One does figure out what really constitutes efficacious self-pampering and what's actually a waste of precious time. I've learned to look harder at what I do and why and for whom.

At 10:20 AM , Blogger OTRgirl said...

Wow, you're blog comments seemed zapped by a repeating virus!

Audio tapes while doing household stuff is good. The pedicure in the car can be quite lovely, really. Nice radio station, seats pulled back, oh crap I dropped nail polish on the console! (I've only tried it once, in a rental car).

All in all, it sounds exhausting, busy, and lonely. Sigh.

At 8:05 PM , Blogger Badger said...

* * *looks down at very shappy-looking toenail polish and sighs* * *


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