Sometimes it’s important to force yourself to get dressed. Say, if you are going to the bank or the grocery store which, O Brave New World, we can do in one place in America. But what I really mean is, if you are mothering full-time, it can be all-too-easy to stay braless in your PJs the entire day while you lurch around your house, feeling schlumpier and lazier as the day goes by.
Today, for instance.
I just got dressed.
It’s 11:00 a.m.
I spent the morning working on things for daddywhumpus’ band, and once I finished, I was feeling disorganized and fractured. I realized that I needed to exert whatever control I could over my immediate environment to restore order. The best place to start is with the immediate environment of Me, which means change out of my extra large Jameson tee shirt and yoga pants and put on actual clothes. Sure, they are yesterday’s clothes, but I didn’t toss fish or frack for oil yesterday, so I figure it’s fine if the people at the post office see me in yesterday’s ensemble. They will never have to know.
The next environment, which is much less within my control, is babywhumpus. Time to get him dressed, which involves containing the whirlwind and focusing. The easiest thing to do when I am feeling frazzled is to get distracted from one task while I am trying to accomplish another, and this is when I wind up talking to myself. daddywhumpus does it the more often, but he tends to do it when other people are around, so I hear muttering and say, “What?” when it was really meant for his brain only. For me, the monologue is usually internal:
"OK, go get clothes for Finn. Oh, look, there are a couple of dirty socks. I should put them into the laundry and I have not made his bed yet so I should do that, too. No, wait, you ridiculous bitch, just get the clothes and get him dressed. That’s what you are doing. Those other things can wait. All right, I have the clothes, I’ll just take these dirty clothes over to the laundry basket; it will only take a minute. FINE! Go ahead! You never listen to me."
And here I am. He’s still not dressed.
But I’m working a new approach where I don’t do every little thing for him. He pretty much treats me like a servant, handing me his trash and ordering me around. This isn’t Downton Abbey, you little fucker, so take your trash to the bin yourself. I try to handle it a little more diplomatically, of course, saying, “You know where the trash is, you can take it there yourself.”
Consequently, I brought out his clothes and laid them at his feet with a, “Can you get dressed, please, honey?”
“First I have to do this thing with the keys.” (There’s always something First.)
He did the thing with his keys, and started on something with a ball and Hot Wheels track before I even noticed. I gave him a gentle nudge, told him he did the thing with the keys, so now it’s time to get dressed. He stopped, put the track down, got his clothes, and went into the kitchen, I presume to get dressed.
“Hey mama, you forgot to put the apricot and peaches in the basement.”
“I didn’t forget, I just didn’t do it.”
“Yeah, but you forgot.”
Just get dressed, Junior.