“Myra-Jean, remember we talked about this? If you’re not going to nap anymore, you need to at least find a way to play on your own. Just for a half an hour. Mama needs a little quiet time.”
These are the words I say.
What I am thinking?
“If you don’t leave me in peace for thirty minutes I’m going to tear my hair out! Strand by unconditioned strand!!!!”
I need to wash the breakfast dishes. There are dirty clothes–stray socks! underwear!–everywhere. The dog hasn’t peed in eight hours. I owe eighteen e-mails, ten phone calls, six texts, and God knows how many thank-you cards. The back garden is dying. Everything needs to be swept. There’s a dirty diaper in a bread bag on top of the dryer. Some bill has been on our dining room table for a week. MJ’s artwork is scattered everywhere. Every cloth napkin in the house is in use as a doll blanket. The dolls themselves are everywhere–in every chair, on every couch, in every corner. There is nowhere to sit. There are tiny pieces of green ribbon everywhere–MJ got hold of a scissors. The bathroom is filthy. Our sheets need changing. This requires more laundry–we now, officially, have no other sets. Our blue ones just tore, and I am not capable of darning them. I don’t even know what darning is. Who am I, Laura Ingalls Wilder? Back to the sheets–there’s the flannel set, but Mike considers them a “soft” torture method. Something about waking up in a pool of his own sweat.
And, of course, I need to post. Nobody cares, but then again, somebody might.
All of this to say? It may be true, as a preschool director once sneeringly told me, that “having an only child isn’t really parenting, it’s just a hobby.”
But when the nap is taken away? That hobby can still feel like a Sysyphean task.