The Black Hole of BabyCare

The prizes are still on my couch. Argh! I’m sorry. It’s been a busy weekend. Weekends are now black holes for me where nothing gets done because we have no weekend nanny. Which means we are parents 24/7 from Friday to Sunday. I actually really enjoy falling into the black hole, because when I’m taking care of the baby, I don’t have to worry about anything except feeding her, putting her down for naps, bathing her, and then doing everything all over again the next day. My mind completely goes blank–I don’t think about my books, my deadlines, proposals, or anything career-related. I’m just a full-time mom.

I find if I try to do both mom-ing and working, I am deeply unhappy. As in, put Mattie down for a nap and try to squeeze out a few revisions in the meantime! Nope. Does not happen. Mattie fusses after fifteen minutes, and then I’ll have to get up and rock her back to sleep. (For naps she ONLY sleeps in her Bugaboo stroller. Yes. I know. It’s bad. But we’ve come to accept the stroller-sleep rather than the hour of crying in her crib if we try to put her down in her crib for naps.) And once I get back to my desk, I’ve completely forgotten what I was working on. So nothing gets done, I get frustrated, and it’s not fair to the kid.

Every Sunday, Mike and I flop down, completely exhausted, and we whine, "WE NEED A WEEKEND NANNY!" We say this every Sunday night. The weekends are much more exhausting than the weekdays.

But as much as I’d like to shove off ALL childcare duties to someone else though, I know we’re not going to do it. It’s just too easy to ignore your kid if you have help. And she is so much happier when she is just with me. (Although she is also happy with nanny and since Mike and I work from home, we do see her all the time anyway.)

And by the way, I have REALLY enjoyed chucking the tabloids across the room when I read about a celebrity who really enjoys spending time with their children, and all those gooey Brad and Angelina shots of them at Central Park of some carousel in Deuville. YEAH, RIGHT! It’s EASY to enjoy your kid when you see them for fifteen minutes a day for the photo-op. We love our kid the most when she is ASLEEP. But when you spend 24/7 with a small baby or child, you can go crazy. Also, yeah, they’re such great parents taking their kid to the park, and then, HELLO,  they’re helicoptering out to the Hamptons the next day WITHOUT the kids, or having a couples retreat in Spain. And where are the kids?? With the nannies of course!

If we had that life, we’d have a soccer team of kids too.  It’s easy to have kids when you don’t have to take care of them.

I grew up with nannies. My parents had a full-time staff. My mom never found motherhood difficult she told me, mostly because she "supervised" the taking care of children. I hardly saw my dad when I was little. He was an investment banker and worked late, or they were always out at night–they had a very full social life, and on the weekends, they were at the country club early for tennis. I think I saw my dad on Sunday dinners.

Then we moved to America, and all those trappings of wealth from our former life vanished in an instant. We had dinner together EVERY night. My dad drove us and picked us up from school. We were together, as a family, all the time. And you know what? It made a difference. We became incredibly close. Of course we were happy in Manila too, and I knew my parents loved us. But the day-to-day interaction made a huge difference. It was like having a different set of parents all of a sudden. Back in Manila, us kids fought for attention between my parents’ social life, their friends, their careers. But when we were in America, it was just the five of us. Careers? My parents were just trying to make ends meet.

Anyway, I find I have turned into the neurotic desperately ambitious over-scheduled-child parent from my Au Pair novels. Momzilla, c’est moi. LOL. Mattie is signed up for baby yoga and baby pilates, music appreciation classes, Spanish immersion ("Abla Blah Blah Blah"), tumbling, Mommy & Me, "Free to Be Under Three" and many more.

The other day Mike and I watched Little Children. I LOVED the book, but the movie STANK. The voice-over was awful. But anyway, the funniest part of the movie for me was the choir of bitchy moms. I loved the bitchy suburban moms! Especially when one of them goes, "Yeah, she thinks she’ll have the kid and be right back at her desk three months later, but she’ll be right here on the park bench with us in six months!" I can so relate! I totally thought I would just shoot out the pup, and life would go on as normal. That I would get my books done or work the same way. But no. That is not the case at all. In fact, I deeply, DEEPLY, DEEEEEEPLY resent the fact that I had to write a book right after Mattie was born.

I know it was my fault. EVERYONE–my agent, my editors, told me not to write it. But I argued with them. I fell into the "I’m still me!" trap that women who are about to become mothers fall into. The one that says, "Look, I still have cojones! I can still write until three in the morning! I can still do two  month’s worth of revisions in a week!" So I took the deadline. I took the responsibility. But now I look at this book, all shiny and done, and I almost want to chuck it out the window. I am not telling you what book it is because it is a good book, I am proud of it, but I DEEEEEEEPLY resented the fact that I had to write it. Because of this book I did not have maternity leave. Because of this book, the precious first months of my baby’s life was devoted to worrying and writing this book. Sigh.

But things are much better now. Now I am excited to write the books I have due. Especially Blue Bloods 3: REVELATIONS which a lot of you are waiting for. Why does it take so long, you ask? Because it just does. The Blue Bloods books take so much out of me I need like a year just to feel normal again after writing them. Then I get the itch to write the next book. And then I get obsessed and that’s all I want to do and the writing goes fast and furious as I fall into the black hole of the book, which means late nights, not seeing friends, and hours alone at the computer. But before then, I try to enjoy my life.