The Busy Times of a Zen Life by Heather Bowles
If you’ve been reading from the beginning, you know that my husband lost a good job as a commercial driver just two months before Tabitha was conceived. He never found anything to completely replace the lost wages, so he’s back in school, and between that and slaving away for peanuts in a mindless position at a local retail outlet thirty five hours a week, he’s away from home even more than a local driving route would have required of him. For my part, depression can make a woman do stupid things, and the inability to conceive was probably the biggest, longest running source of depression in my life. I succumbed to it and gave up about two years ago. I let my certifications lapse, and justified my inaction by saying that in the current economy where the only teachers being hired are substitutes, they weren’t worth keeping up, but the hard truth is I just didn’t want to be around anyone else’s kids, so I found an excuse not to be.
Now we’re left scrambling to support a sweet little surprise with the most horrible yet wonderful timing ever. In my effort to cut corners and pinch pennies til they scream, I’ve learned to make our own laundry detergent and hand soaps, and although the patio gets no sun where we live, I’ve developed an interest in organic gardening, at least, academically speaking. Yesterday I found myself reading up on how to can fresh tomatoes.
Although there doesn’t seem enough hours in the day to do all the things that I need to do, and learn everything I want to learn, now I have to start packing. This one bedroom apartment is WAY too small. If we had known there were going to be three of us when we signed, we wouldn’t be here now. We’re wall to wall baby furniture in the living room, and our dining room has turned into where I sort and fold the laundry.
The kitchen counter is now mostly occupied by this little half size washing machine from China where I wash all her diapers. It’s actually called a Panda, and this thing is so basic it doesn’t even drain on it’s own. After the wash cycle is complete, you take the drain hose from the back and drop it in the sink to drain, then run about five consecutive rinse cycles, draining each in turn, to make sure all the soap is gone. It can take hours to finish while being chained to the breast pump every three hours and cooking, vacuuming, mopping, dusting, chasing the screaming cats out of the room where I just got the baby to sleep, squeezing in the occasional yoga routine… yeah. I’m that busy.
I find myself wondering how working moms do it. Then I remember that if I were working, she’d be in daycare, in disposable diapers, and I probably would have fed her formula after the first six weeks. Do I miss working? Well, I miss having adult conversations! And I do miss the paycheck. I’d kill for an actual fitness class at the YWCA right now. Or some new lingerie. I can’t read 50 Shades of Gray in that old stretched out nightgown! Please.
Despite our current struggle though, somehow I’m satisfied to stay home. Even more than that, I believe I’m the most content I’ve been in my entire life. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather teach than her and I know there’s no one I’d rather make smile.
I just hope the next patio gets some decent sun, or at least has a full size washer and dryer.