Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The intellectual females's guide to surviving motherhood

That's a great title for a book isn't it? It's too bad that I'm busy writing fiction and articles for other people.

If you use the dictionary standard definition, I am not an intellectual. Intellectuals have a high IQ (I do not) and are astrophysicists or biological engineers. I am just a simple mother who prefers to read classics like Gone with the Wind (wasn't that just the original Mean Girls?) over chicklit and can't stand to have my brain run dormant for any length of time. I am always thinking of something to do, someplace to be. I am never so happy as when I am writing on my computer or working through a complex computer issue. I taught myself how to code web sites, use PHP, portals, and any other software I can get my hands on. Not because I was smart, but because I was BORED and it seemed like a good idea at the time. There are a lot of moms out there like me.

I can handle being idle to a degree, but a mind that is involved in repetitive tasks day after day is mind that is BORED for me. Some days I play scribblenauts, just for a check up to see if the grey matter is still running. Other days I am ready to simply cry from boredom, and it literally weighs me down to the point that it's difficult to carry my baby because my arms and legs feel so heavy. The cleaning, cooking, etc. that I could be doing isn't appealing.  I spend endless hours playing with my baby, tossing him around because he loves that, carrying him around, cuddling him, tickling him. I make sure my kids are outside when it's sunny and entertained when it's rainy. I bake cookies on demand. If I can find a free ten minutes, I run to my computer for a peek into what other people are doing that day, because although I know my job is to be with my kids, I am sort of envious when I read that other people are out there living life.

I, like other mothers who get to stay home, realize that we are the lucky few that get to see them from birth until they start out on their own. I feel fortunate for that, and I am grateful that I saw them do everything from roll to walk, and that I was there when they learned to ride their bikes. Some of it is a blur, but I was there and am still here so that is all that matters.

What are some of the types of things that a new mom, one that considers herself an intellectual, can learn from someone who has been there and done it four times over?
  • Rethink your thought processes - Often I find myself standing in front of a crying baby and thinking "Ok, there has to be a logical way to go about this" but I cannot come up with a decent idea because my child is crying so loudly in front of me and there is no instant off switch. There is no logic anymore, unless you can find a free hour to sit down and regroup. You need to learn to think differently. A baby isn't like a complex computer issue, where if you try A and A doesn't work, B is sure to be the answer. Sometimes you can try A, B, and C, only to go back to A because A was the answer all along but the baby wasn't having any of that. 
  • You have no sounding board for brilliant ideas - I often think of Lynette from Desperate Housewives for this one. She'd often come up with some great marketing idea and tell Tom about it when he came home from work, only to have Tom squash her like a bug and tell her that it wouldn't fly. Then, he'd go into work the next day and tout the idea as his own.  Lynette was in a bubble surrounded by children. Tom knew Lynette was in a bubble, so the ideas she'd have would simply bounce around the bubble and never come to fruition. 
  • You have no time to act on anything - Unless you are Angelina Jolie with numerous nannies, you will not have the time to act on any of the brilliant ideas that manage to escape the surface of your bubble. Why? Because you have children. Children take up time. Yes, you can leave them with daycare or a grandparent, but if you want to be the one to raise them then you have to forgo ideas that would require endless hours away from home.  This is especially irritating because you end up seeing one of your ideas broadcast on television three years later, and you think "OMG, I thought of that." They have time, you don't. 
I have to stop here and cite an example of what I thought was a great idea five years ago. I told my husband that I thought there should be a toy vacuum, something to pick up the tiny pieces of junk that the kids lay all over the house. I even drew it for him, and showed him the filters that would shuttle the small, irritating polly pieces into a baggie for my child to put away. I thought it was an awesome idea, but he rightfully stated that it would be too much to produce it. I forgot about this idea, until I saw them mention it on The Office of all places. Husband burst out laughing. My mouth was hanging open. What are the odds?

There are many more examples I can cite here about the challenges that someone who has the gift of an overactive mind will face, and how to overcome these obstacles. Unfortunately, my timer has dinged and I am being summoned to play. Have a great day!

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