Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A dream mask

Oh, so this is what they meant when they said uncomfortable!

Don’t worry, I am not about to launch a waterfall of whinge. Frankly, the online space is filled to capacity with guff of that sort already.

Actually, the online space is capacity-free, isn’t it? And isn’t that a worry.

Suffice to say I am feeling quite awkwardly large for the first time. I sit down at a desk for most of the day – not a position conducive to pain-free late-term pregnancy.

I have been dreaming this past week of inventing a contraption that allows a laptop to be strapped onto a bib-style apron to enable the wearer to walk around, rather than sit, while working on a computer and doing a lot of typing.

It probably already exists, even though most people would surely only use it for a matter of weeks during their entire lifetime. Perhaps I could design one, and one only, that is shared about the world’s pregnant working women via a roster.

And I do know there are 14 million mobile devices on the modern market that allow people to check emails and various other internetty things while IN MOTION, but I mean something that enables people to stay standing and do hours-at-a-time typing-related computer work. Hmm.

These, and other random thoughts are par for the course between my ears right now. What else am I meant to do between the hours of 3am and 5am, when I am regularly awake.


If I am not awake, I am dreaming some truly weird things. In the past week, I have stolen discount vouchers from an old lady while a fellow I used to work with, oh, about 12 years ago watches with uniformed police from a surveillance room next door; and I have flexed my biceps while conducting a post-match press conference at the Australian Open tennis event. Just some of the weird dream flashes I can remember off the top of my head. It's been a busy week for my subconscious.

I am also thinking a lot about how life in our little house will change so much in a short matter of weeks.

I am reading Susan Maushart’s book The Mask of Motherhood, given to me, funnily enough, by my own mother.

It is part feminist textbook, part comedic rant and part statistical report that more than partially does my head in. But on the one-in-five occasions when I am mentally coherent enough to absorb what she is saying, it certainly does make my head think rather than hurt.

Suddenly I have realised little things like I may not be the one making dinner seven nights a week, just like I used to, due to certain new priorities. I am realising bigger things too that I will most likely fail at something so very new, in the short-term at least.

And I use the term fail deliberately, because parenting is full of little failures. You just hope the victories are bigger and tip heavier on the scales. And little fails are not full-time or permanently scarring (I hope). The best ones are short, temporary, and they teach us stuff.

Hopefully, I’ll be awake enough to pay attention.

Maushart also paints a rather depressing picture of the facade mothers all over the Western world perpetuate...essentially lying to each other about how well their babies sleep, about how lucky they are to have husbands who deign to change nappies (when two parents should be sharing parenting roles equally) and how expertly they are managing to juggle motherhood with work and wife duties.

The reality, she claims - and with the results of about 3,000 research studies to back her up - is quite the opposite. But it's like a massive conspiracy that no one talks about. Women working part-time with a baby just months old will, she says, think she is multi-tasking with great skill. But she is actually, she claims, failing spectacularly at each 'task', so thinly is she spread, so stressed is she under the weight of many burdens.

I partly disagree and partly absorb for future reference. First of all, 99% of the situations she writes about involve heterosexual couples and the traditional constraints, she claims, that continue to be placed on their relationships.

That is a whole other blog post. On the whole, it has been refreshing to read something that reminds me how big the upheaval will be in a few short weeks. I am preparing for a memorable time where I will not be capable at some things, where I will make mistakes and be sleep-deprived and hormonal and all over the damn place. I have to surrender to that, and lots of other things...and it will be bloody good for me, I am sure.

And as someone reminded me today, while I have not undergone the full physical part of giving birth; I have been in baby-land before. I was a mum to a baby only a few years ago.

But I was a kind of father-mum...someone Centrelink may not define as the “primary care giver”, not exclusively the one getting up for night feeds.

Plus, you forget so easily. You forget about things like teething, nappies, solids, burping, toilet-training, tummy time, dummies, rashes, wind, that first smile, baby talk. Ok, I am remembering now...

But life can be so busy that the only way is to live in the moment.

I just wish the moment that she arrives was here! These last few weeks are dragging so much!

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