Peanut told me this week that he wants a new mom.
He ain’t the only one shopping for my replacement.
I’m just done.
I finally found a sitter, after two years of a Spouse who worked such long hours he only saw our eldest on weekends and two more years of an intense kid who was awake 14 hours a day and most of the night, and another year with two children, the sum of which ate away all my reserves. And put me deep into patience debt. And fun ideas debt. And giving a shite debt. So I found a sitter from a trusted source and scheduled her twice a week for two hours.
Four hours of solo time. Of daylight hours where I could choose my own destiny. Or at least have a cup of tea and close my eyes while walking. (I love doing that.) Or, heaven forbid, writing.
And this answer-to-my-prayers babysitter has canceled six times now. Out of eight appointments. Sick some of those times, needed at work (a preschool) others, planning a trip another, and “tired and unable to be attentive” once. Five cancellations were an hour before she was due here.
So clearly I’m not going to ask her back.
And without outside help I’m back to 86 hours a week of being tasked with guarding and teaching and protecting and not stabbing small children. And another 14 hours a week while they sleep of cleaning and preparing and cooking. And another couple of hours every night, when the toddler wakes 2-6 times for comfort and milk and the older one wakes for bathroom or nightmares or some bullshit invention that tests my theories of nighttime parenting.
I’m too tired to calculate it, but that seems as though at least 114 hours of my week is child-centric. (For those keeping track, that leaves less than 8 hours a day, so I can do all children all the time and sleep, or rob my sleep to have some reading, writing, exercise, thinking, talking, adult time moments.) I love these kids 168 hours a week. But 68% of every minute of my year seems like a lot of unblinking moments. With healthy, loving, awesome kids. And two hours to myself most weekends. Whine whine whine. Except, come on.
With a sitter who calls in too tired to pay attention to my kids for two bleeping hours.
So when the five year old offers to throw me out on my ear, I’m eager for the chance.
P: I get a good allowance, you know. I can buy a new mom.
M: Hmmm. What are you looking for in a new mom? What qualities will make a new mom worth your money?
P: Well, mostly what I’m looking for is no rules.
M: Oh. Yeah, that would be nice.
P: I want one who says yes to hitting.
M: Well, let’s see. That knocks out M’s mom and E’s mom and R’s mom and your aunt and your grandmas. Who else do you have in mind?
P: I don’t really need to buy a new mom. I just need to pay you to have no rules.
M: No deal. You still have to hold hands in the street and wear a seatbelt and use sunscreen if I’m your mom.
P: Okay, but I want to pay you so I can hit.
M: What do you want to hit?
P: I’ll give you $100 if I can knock down this house.
M: There’s a problem with that plan. If you knock down this house I have to pay the landlord a lot more than $100. So it’s not worth it to me. Sorry.
P: Well, I’ll keep looking.
M: You do that.