Uneventful Revolutions

It started because I wanted to show you a picture of my grocery list.Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 10.39.49 AM

soupRemind me to give the three-year-old the keys to the car so she can go out and get it herself.


It started at groceries and ended with an uneasy truce. With myself. This year* has faltered forward, teetering and fumbling along and moving as least as much backward as making progress forward. “Progress.”

Last May, I thought I would be pregnant. On the other hand, it’s ever more clear that I’m a good parent of a single child. We were facing potty training with RR but look, an ENTIRE YEAR later and she has used the toilet exactly ONE time. Other parents and I bemoan the trials of potty-training and then there’s that awkward silence when they realize that RR isn’t having accidents. You can’t have an accident when you haven’t even begun. On the other hand, you guys. Grocery list.

I don’t talk about work much because, really, librarian. But I’m busier than I ever have been and, in comparison to life in the Foreign Service, it’s not that busy. But work and new responsibilities are seeping into my home life without compensation or recognition and as I think about the bills for RR’s school, I just want to die a little. Or at least eat more cake.

And the cake, holy cow. All that progress, the rediscovered jawline, the new pants, the good sleep and clear skin, gone. Gone after four months with my parents. Gone after checking my work email at home. Gone after watching women at work get pregnant and give birth. Gone. What I have in exchange is litanies of criticism every time my pockets pull and my waistband tugs.

I took that grocery list and, a single can of soup in hand, I bought new clothes that stretch, give, and flatter. I allowed some resignation (a feeling I am entirely uncomfortable with in every situation) that this is my body, it may change shape in one way or another, but I might as well accommodate it rather than lecturing, cursing, and condemning it. It felt a little revolutionary to spend money on something that fit rather than walk through the day feeling miserable.

Nothing really changed (except small spending we couldn’t afford) but it felt revolutionary just to say, I give up right now. Today, I’m not going to do that. I’m not pregnant, I’m undervalued, I’m exhausted but I am not going to wear an unflattering shirt.

Some revolution.



*I suppose one of the side effects of working at a university is that the year seems to end when the students graduate, when the fiscal year wraps up, when my vacation time turns over, when my professional responsibilities become less of a torrent. And now, when RR gets out of school, when she turns another year older, when the flowers bloom again, when the top goes down on the car.


3 Responses

  1. OK, your post about tomatoes was cuter than mine. In all seriousness though, the past 12 months haven’t exactly been a walk in the park for you guys. I’m glad you’re cutting yourself some slack. When the going gets rough, we do what we can to preserve our sanity. Sometimes that involves cake. Let’s face it, stress/comfort eating rarely (if ever?) involves kale.

  2. That’s adorable. 🙂 I hope she figures out that the potty thing is to her advantage soon. I had an uncle who took a long time to toilet train. He apparently had to miss sleep-away camp with friends before he decided that the toilet was okay.

  3. It’s been over a decade since I was last in school, but part of me still thinks of years as ending in the spring, and beginning again in the fall. Summer is just this weird lacuna.

    I hear you on the cake thing. “My life might be full of crap I don’t like and can’t change right now, but I can damn well eat this cookie, and I’m going to do it. In fact, just for good measure, I’m going to eat a second one. So there!”. Yeah. This might not be the best overall strategy long-term, but sometimes that’s what gets me through the moment.

    Oh, and we’re in a similar boat, potty-wise. I am pretty damn sure that Critter could be at least mostly day-trained in a single day, if he wanted to be. But he doesn’t. The only time he is at all interested is once in a great while, when he is supposed to be getting in the shower and/or getting ready for bed, and he will declare that he wants to sit on the potty. Sometimes this is productive, sometimes not. At least these days he’s saying he’ll use the potty when he’s four, instead of “when I’m a grown up”? Right? Sigh.

    I think the best thing I can suggest is to try to be kind to yourself. You’ve been through a lot this year, and you’re still a caring, thoughtful person, and that says a lot of good things about you.

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