Don’t I Have a 2:00?

Posted: April 17th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Career Confusion, Misc Neuroses | No Comments »

It’s so weird not working. Somehow I haven’t managed to purge the subconscious corporate brain activity from my psyche. So, when I’m not actively engaged in diaper changing, toddler taming, or maternal mammalian activities, I find I have this subtle nagging feeling that there’s something else that I should be doing.

Do I have a presentation to write? Employee to lambaste? Meeting that I’m somehow extremely late for?

I wrack my brain. Truly. Isn’t there something I should I be doing right now, while I have the chance with both kids sleeping? Are there voicemails from ornery clients on my cell phone that I’ve neglected to check? An issue of Ad Age I forgot to read? HR forms to fill out? For the love of God, isn’t there something other than this?

I’m no doctor, but I’m pretty sure I’m just coming down off of a stress addiction. And man, it sucks. I don’t feel it all the time, but it’s like the no ciggie after a meal thing. When I do remember I want it, I want it bad. I sweat and slap the inside of my elbow staggering around the house. Where’s my next hit going to come from? Certainly there’s some shit storm brewing ugly revenue-loss implications somewhere. Or an employee who is right now saying the exact wrong thing to a client?

But no. Often there’s nothing. The kids are fed, the house is tidy and often actually clean too. And I’m caught up on my People Magazine reading. Nothing is bearing down on me.

The best I get is a load of laundry I’ll find that’s lingered in the washing machine forgotten. I open the door, crouch down, and sniff to see if it’s gotten mildewy. Maybe I’ll have to re-do the load! Maybe it’ll all happen when Kate needs me to tie her shoe! Oh the challenge of it all. But, no luck. It’s just fine and I sigh and heave it into the dryer.

My heart races slightly when we’re dangerously low on milk. Only a quarter of the carton left, I think! I’ll need to get to the store quickly before we totally run out and Kate is standing forlorn–worse tantrumy–demanding “milkie” in her “new Sigg cup with the cars smiling on it.” But deep down I know that even if we’re suddenly milk-less, it won’t rock Kate’s world too extremely. Nor is it too hard to get to a store to buy some. There’s a glimmer of stress I work up around it all, but it’s hardly the hit off the pipe I’m needing, if you know what I mean.

The other day, while racking my brain for what it could be that I need to attend to, I remembered my long-neglected scrapbook project. It was something I decided to delve into when I was home with Kate as a baby. It would have been more efficient to simply sit on my front steps and burn wads of cash. But going to the scrapbook store and browsing at “papers” (all part of the “scrappers” lexicon) seemed to fill some void in me at the time.

After putting together about seven scrapbook pages chronicling Kate’s life–I barely covered events beyond the first days in the hospital–I decided the world of scrappin’ was not for me. I’d toiled and fretted so much over each page, working painfully to achieve supreme cuteness and creativity and never committing to using the permanent double-sided tape to adhere all the nostalgic crap down. When I wasn’t working on the book, I berated myself with guilt for letting life’s little and big moments pass us by without photos, collages, and puffy stickers to commemorate them. Like watching Leave it to Beaver as a child, where I internalized stress over every of the Beave’s misdeeds to near the point of bleeding ulcers, I knew this hobby was no fit for my OCD innards. It just wasn’t healthy to be cutting colored paper with scalloped scissors over and over again to make the perfect oval border to showcase Kate’s umbilical stump when I could be spending her babyhood engaging with her instead.

But now, with my anxiety level so dangerously low and my days filled with plenty to do but all of it mindless busy work, I can’t help but wonder if I could practice scrapbooking moderation.  It might just be the antidote to the What Now? Blues I’ve been having. Maybe I can control my scrapbooking–dole out just enough to myself each week to boost my blood pressure slightly and get me chewing my cuticles again?

It’s something to consider as I daydream during my next meeting with Paige’s poopy diaper.

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