working + writing with women


Working Single Mother (or, Tonight w/Nutella)

Here’s what I’m doing: I’m eating Dave’s Killer Bread smeared with butter and then Nutella. Yes, both. I’ve never done it before. It’s as good as it sounds, and better than you think. Now I’ve eaten two pieces. It’s not even 9:00 yet, and I’m tired. Sore-shoulders, headache tired. It could be because I’m about to get my period. I think it’s also because I’ve been staying up a little bit too late this whole week. See, I love staying up late. Late at night is where my creativity lies. It rises up in the night time, like an owl, swooping from the rafter’s roost and rocketing into the moonlight. I feel creative (art) at night and I feel productive (work) in the morning. The afternoon compels me mostly to daydream and rest and have fun, but as we know, that’s not always possible. There are things to be done.

My child has a fever. I gave him ibuprofen before bed, because I secretly cannot bear the terror of letting him burn it off, even though that’s what the grandmothers say I should do. But once it hits a certain point and it’s bedtime, I have to dose him. It makes me feel protected from other possibilities.

I’ve been working all evening on various projects for various clients. It makes me feel tired and happy; it makes me wish I didn’t have a headache, or that I was 23 and could stay up as late as I wanted working. But alas, I am in my 30s now—and a mother on top of it all. There is no staying up as late as I want without brutal repercussions the next day: namely, my own suffering. Sleep is of the highest order. It is essential to my well being and therefore to the well being of my child.

There are exactly two loads of clean, unfolded laundry on my bed. I know for certain that I won’t fold them tonight, just as I didn’t fold them last night. The question is whether I will relocate them, or simply sleep beneath them, like a layer of extra insulation. I can’t decide because I’m so tired. Today I’ve been thinking of the phrase “working single mother” a lot. Because I have a job now, so that’s what I am. (I’ve always worked, so I’ve always been a working single mother. But this is the first time in a decade that I’ve worked outside of my house). There are different things I have to consider now, like, how will I go to work tomorrow? Perhaps I won’t be able to. Perhaps I can go for part of the time. How high will the fever be in the morning?

I’d like to write poetry tonight, and read my horrifying Murakami book that I am enjoying, even though it’s horrifying. I’d also like to work on my wall-hanging that I’m making ouf of driftwood and wool. But I don’t think I will do those things, except for maybe read a little bit of my book once I’m in bed. Because tonight it is essential that I go to bed as soon as possible. The ibuprofen wears off in 8 hours at the most. It is always a crapshoot as to what happens after that. It is best if I am rested by then, no matter what. When our children are sick, we have to be ready.

Tomorrow will unfold just fine, I’m sure of it. I may be a Working Single Mother, but I love working and I love being a mother.

I’ve decided: I’m going to take the laundry off my bed. It will make me feel more grown up.