taking the passive out of passive-aggressive

Thursday, July 08, 2004

I often envy my single and childless friends, but they seem just as disaffected as I am. I think it's a matter of scale--even if your responsibilities are few, you're going to perceive them as really huge, because you've nothing to compare it to. And maybe I have the same syndrome. It's not like I'm suffering in any significant way--I'm just bored and restless and irritable and tired. And complaining about it is so unbecoming.

I wonder about people who have three, four, five kids... how can they handle it? Do you ignore some of your kids half the time? Do you have any life whatsoever? Or are my husband and I just complete retards who can't figure out how to parse time effectively? Maybe I have these effete kinds of "needs" for alone time and quiet, which other people have given up. I admit to some contempt here... I imagine that in service of having children, these men and women have completely sold their souls and now watch TV til they pass out at ten. It's not a life I would want, but then again, what's the difference between two and three kids? I'm still exhausted at the end of the day. I still have to make dinner.

But then again, when I had only the one kid, I could barely manage to get her to school on time, with a nutritious lunch and breakfast. I mean, I made it happen, but by the skin of my teeth. Now, with two, I'm flummoxed. I have to feed the baby and feed the older one, and get everyone's clothes and diapers and bathing suits together, and make sure the laundry is done, and appropriate shoes are available, and the diaper bag is packed, and spare bottles, and... I'm just no good at this stuff. I'm just going to have to hire someone eventually, because what I'm good at, what I should be spending my time doing, is schmoozing marketing people in conference rooms and restaurants. That's really my skill, schmoozing. And, as with globalization, shouldn't we each be doing the job at which we're the most effective?

I don't mean to be cynical about it, and I do enjoy the kids, when they're not whining, crying, or pooping. But really, I was built to sit around at Yaddo and have affairs and type on a manual typewriter, not to change diapers all day. Betty Friedan taught me that much.


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