Can Single People With No Responsibilities Whatsoever Have It All?
I have a friend who is a single mom with a fulltime job and two babies. I like to help her out. It makes me feel good about myself to help her out. And it helps her out.
I’ve begged her to call me if she needs help with anything, and she’s given me the gift of doing that. My answer is always yes—I’ll reschedule whatever it is. She’s got two babies and a job working with autistic people. I have no babies and a job working with myself. Yes. Of course. Yes.
Yesterday she asked if I could come to her house at 9 this morning to watch one baby while she took the other baby to an appointment. I was happy she asked me to do this, happy to do this, happy to have a job that allows me to do this. I said yes.
Knowing I’d be hanging out with a baby this morning, I’d intended to do all my morning work last night, but last night I was exhausted and kind of sad, so I soothed myself by watching rewatching episodes of TV I’d already seen. I’d watch one episode, then work. Two episodes, then work. Three episodes, then I let myself go to bed, my work undone. I’d do my morning work in the morning. The baby would be sleep, I’d work fast.
I set my alarm, planning to get up at 7:30, leave the house by 8, pick up doughnuts—what a nice treat, a surprise, doughnuts in the morning–be at my friend’s house by 8:45. Right before I fell asleep I made a mental note to bring a book to read, for when I finished my work. Obviously I would finish my work very quickly, while the baby slept, and it would be nice to have some analog entertainment. I could read the book while rocking the baby, maybe. Multitasking.
This morning I woke up at 7:50. Stared at the ceiling until 8:09. Brushed my teeth and got dressed and was almost out the door by 8:20. Paused: food. I’d buy a sandwich later. No. I’d make a sandwich now. Made a sandwich, out the door. I got to my friend’s house at 8:57. No surprise doughnuts. Surprise, I’m on time.
I hi-and-byed my friend and her one baby and settled down next to the other baby. She slept in sweet minutes-long stretches, interspersed with the tiny, animal wailing of a newborn. I sung to her. I walked her around. I fed her. I changed her little diaper. I asked her to tell me what she wanted and she didn’t answer.
I laughed at what I thought I’d been in for—sitting next to a bassinet with a sleeping baby in it, doing my work, reading a book. I put her down long enough to do two posts, edit something I should have edited last night, search for something else to write about. She cried, and I picked her back up. We walked around the apartment, crying and singing.
My friend came home just after noon, and I left her with her two babies so I could go to the city to work. I’m writing this on the subway, late for the one meeting I have scheduled this week.