My worst fears have come true. Well, not my worst fears, because, as you can imagine, those involve unspeakable horrors about outliving my family or dying young or any number of other disturbing thoughts that cause me to simultaneously mutter prayers and shake my head vigorously as if trying to knock the bad thoughts loose. I’m a chronic worrier, worst-case-scenario-imaginer, and, as Tony likes to point out to me on a regular basis, extrapolator to the nth degree. Meaning, whatever has been going on recently is clearly how it’s always going to be forever and ever amen unless something drastic happens right this instant, DUH.
Like last night. Now, I don’t know what’s wrong with our “master” bathroom sink. “Master” must always be in quotations when referring to this bathroom, because it is clearly not the “master” of anything. Not bathrooms, not rooms, and certainly not bathroom fixtures. I won’t even use the shower stall because I can’t get it clean. The tile grout is rotting and the stall inset has that kind of texture that gathers nastiness under your feet and makes me think of tiny creatures that will burrow under my toenails and cause them to turn green and fall off as they eat my flesh from the inside. So Tony showers there, because he is a boy, and he doesn’t care. I have come to accept this.
Anyhow, the sink. Is always clogged. And my parents must’ve fixed it somehow when they took care of Charles while we were in Mexico because for awhile after that, it ran smoothly. And it was so awesome! I mean, how disgusting is a sink that drains so slowly that there is a ring of toothpaste-spit around the bowl when the water’s finally gone? Or little hairs from Tony’s shaving? *shudder* So, I’ve been asking Tony for a couple of weeks now to take the P-trap off and see if he can clean out the damn thing, and the only thing I can imagine is that he hates the sight of sink clogs as much as I do but won’t admit it. You know, I have had my hands in someone else’s bodily mess every single day since Charles was born and I don’t squirm, I don’t even wrinkly my nose. The other day, the daycare accidentally sent home some other kid’s poopy pants with Charles and I just dumped it all in the laundry and then washed my hands. No big whoop. But drain clogs? Oh, barf in my mouth. So yeah, I asked Tony to clean the drain. And he hasn’t. For weeks. So I don’t think I’m so out of line with this extrapolating nonsense. After all, we own enough baseboard to put it throughout our entire house, but for 2.5 years it has gathered dust in our garage. Clearly, the sink will be clogged forever.
I guess it’s time for me to turn over a new leaf, right? Buck up, learn how to do this shit myself? I don’t know. Tony’s busy and puts the money in the bank so that food makes it to the table, so I want you to know, this isn’t a complaint about him. It’s a complaint about me. I had this professor in grad school who told me (before I had kids, of course) that people who have kids just need to lower their expectations. You can’t have a clean house with children, you can’t have all the sleep you want, you can’t have the social life you did before, you can’t be the same career-minded person you would have been otherwise. Lower your expectations. Well, this has always seemed both ridiculous and frustrating to me, because I have high expectations for myself, always have, and I don’t think I should be forced to compromise. But also, I know I have to. The sink in the bathroom off of my bedroom might forever be clogged, so I’ll just move my toothbrush and facewash down the hall. We might not have baseboard until we sell the house and move into a retirement home because there’s just no time. The floors are unclean, the counters not fit to eat off of (even though we do anyway – we’re building up our immune systems around here to get ready for Zombie Apocalypse), and dammit, we should be thankful we at least have clean clothing. I am frustrated because I know it is true. I need to lower my expectations. I can’t have or do everything. And neither can Tony.
This week, Charles reached a milestone and confirmed my worst fears about us and children (see how I came full circle there?). Out of the past five nights, he has slept through three of them. And now he sleeps, in his crib, until 7 am everyday. And my expectation of myself as a person who has a sleeping child (God, we’ve only waited 21 months for this!) is that I would continue to get up a bit before 6am, get to the gym or go on a run or do a workout video, shower, and then be ready to make breakfast just about the time Charles woke up. But the reality of the situation? The reality is that I sleep until 7, too. And so does Tony. After so many, many months of getting up at 4 with Charles to bring him into our bed just so we could coax another hour-and-a-half of sleep out of him and get up for good by 5:30am, I am reveling in the extra sleep.
I had recently begun saying to people that we should probably have another child before Charles starts sleeping through the night with regularity because we might get used to the sleep and not want to go back. And after a few days, I am totally LOVING the extra sleep. I might be fat because I can’t work out in the morning, I might not eat a healthy breakfast and I might go to work with wet hair, but I am getting sleep. Blessed sleep. So I guess I have to lower my expectations of myself to accommodate a fat slob who sleeps in everyday, has a clogged sink, dirty floors, and no baseboard. And I don’t think I want to give it up, maybe not ever. Maybe not for another baby, unless I can be guaranteed that the next one will sleep better. I’d like to say that after the past twenty-one months of little sleep, we deserve a sleeper with the next child, if we ever have one. But I don’t deserve it. I get mad at my husband because he’s just as tired as I am and also probably hates drain clogs and I don’t clean often enough and I detest dusting and the groomer said I need to spend more time brushing Buster to keep his mats to a minimum. I need to be a better wife, mother, and person before I can expect any favors from God.
I guess I’ll try to be happy with an extra bit of sleep for the moment and then buck up, get up early, and try to change things. The cleaning never ends, but if I sacrifice some of this new sleep, I should be able to get a handle on it. Maybe I’ll even overcome my drain clog revulsion. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my family, and it’s time I step up and take care of things. After all, there’s only me to do this stuff, and even if I don’t deserve it, my family deserves to live better.