"6:57 PM: God, Kelly. Update your damn blog."

I have decided we either need to, Plan A, have one more blond and perfect baby – then sell it. Or, Plan B (because I think Plan A is illegal and I know it’s problematic due to my husband’s lack of fertility), find a way to downsize our life. And by “downsize our life” I mean get rid of a vehicle (my husband’s job requires him to travel so we probably will keep one for now), move into something smaller and out of town (perhaps the family vehicle!), this more modest abode maybe even requiring us to crap in a bucket and collect rainwater (Thanks K and T for your great ideas the other night!), and live like hippie scum.

My reasons are too myriad and tiresome (to me at least) to list here, and are not entirely financial. Although I wonder what it is about us Hogabooms that we can neither spend and live “within our means” like so many virtuous folk seem to do (or at least, like I’m led to believe they do), nor accept a high level of credit card debt like so many less virtuous (but arguably more typical) folk seem to do.

I can do it, though. I can do anything. If I can squat on the floor of my home and push out a baby, if I can convert my toddler and new baby to cloth diapers and be soaked in piss for two weeks as I figure it all out, if I can stop feeling sad I have crappy secondhand clothes and stinky four-year-old dyke martens, if I can accept the transition of working professional engineer to Houswife Nobody, if I can live with going from two incomes and no kids to two kids and one income, than I can surely go through all my stuff, cry real tears to let it go, and move into some goddamn shack. Can I live without a daily shower, without clean laundry, and without, dear God, without my Mac? I don’t really see how. But perhaps it is my fate.

I don’t know how to do it. I only know I (we) can. Except for thinking of living without my Mac. Anyway, I am this close to outfitting our van as a half-assed camper and parking somewhere.

Tonight my husband and I were gifted with tickets (ala his workplace) for “Dinner and A Murder” – the first annual – a $50 per plate benefit that, yes, involved a murder play “whodunit”. Which I’m proud to say I cracked the code for and came up with half the theory, and was only led astray because a member of the cast fucked up and LIED to our sleuthing group, but that’s another story. Unfortunately – in front of respected members of my husband’s employer, I said something about Ralph’s butt looking good in his pants – please understand I had not a drop of alcohol – and although I got some shocked looks, then uproarious laughter, and although I apologized for my random sexual harassment, I couldn’t help feeling like the girl I was several years ago had channelled herself through me but at least my tablemates seemed to like her.

poor, poor, pitiful me

I’m sick today. Only a slight sore throat, but a lot more debilitating is the accompanying depression / tiredness. I did several hours of paperwork / bill-paying today and it seems like that was an unfortunate choice as it only made me more weary. As I write this my husband and children are at our friends’ place – friends whose loveliness and graceful hospitality I feel too wretched to sully with my appearance and demeanor.

I put in a call to a girlfriend tonight to see if she wanted to sit on my couch and watch a movie or something equally as low-key. She hasn’t called back yet, and as I sit here I become less and less interested in doing anything, speaking with a fellow member of the human race, or even putting pants on.

I’ve had this picture up in one of my Firefox tabs for the last few hours. A friend of mine said she thinks my husband looks like him (it’s Martin Freeman as Tim in the BBC’s “The Office”). I keep accidentally clicking on it and getting this quasi-serious staredown from a cute British Ralph doppleganger.

it’s funny because it’s TRUE

Sometimes my standards are pretty low. Like, this morning at about 10:25 AM. My standard of life was: keep fecal matter off of clothes and face (hands were out of the picture since I was changing a diaper and unfortunately you still have to use your hands for that). Five seconds later, as I tried to steady the boy and pull his pants up, even my modest boundary had to go. In case you, dear reader, are wondering how I could retain human feces on my hands or clothes let me just say that changing a shitty diaper on the shitty floor of a shitty rec center without a fucking changing table – on a 18-month old child who thrashes like a wolverine and screams like a torture victim whenver I lay him flat – is one of the worst things you get to do as a parent (so far, in my four years). If anyone needs a diagram or further exposition, email me and I’ll fill you in.

But you know, I had to keep going with my day. What would I like to have done? I would like to leave my children, go home, strip down, take a hot shower, dress in PJs, crawl into bed, and cry. God, I don’t even know what I’d like. It’s been a while since I had it, whatever it is.

This afternoon my husband doesn’t bother calling to let me know he’s going to be an hour late. He calls about fifteen minutes before he’s due home. While I’m cleaning Horrendous Fecal Event #3 of the day (the first being abovementioned incident; event Number Two was a delightful Hey-Why-Don’t-I-Shit-In-The-Tub incident from this afternoon – by the way, shitting in a tub which was also full of newly-sanitized bath toys) – as I said, while I’m cleaning up shit just to maintain a safe household – my son finds a full pound of rice and dumps it on the floor.

But then I realize this is perfect. My husband was supposed to be home five minutes before the rice got dumped. So, I’m not going to clean it. In fact, I’m not going to go in the room at all. This wasn’t the plan. Right now, I should be in the kitchen making dinner as The Boy and Babydaddy are tidying up the living room. Yeah. I’m not cleaning it up. In fact, I’m not leaving this room unless I hear breaking glass or my husband’s voice when he gets here. And then I’m not speaking to him for a while, either.

Some days are just like that.

debunking the myth of Supermom

I never thought I’d be seen as the woman who “did it all”. I hate that phrase. Annoyingly enough, I have had more than a few friends and family pay glowing homage to what they think are my supernatural abilities to manage a home, create art, and raise beautiful children. In reality things had a darker side than they were seeing. I had become so performance-based I had lost the ability to enjoy myself. Here’s the real story of a SuperMom.

Last Monday at the tail end of a dinner party, a friend of mine hiked her cranky 6–month old baby up on her hip and said with genuine exasperation, “Well Kelly, I don’t know how you do it.” I was floored by her comment and it took me a moment to get my bearings. I knew, of course, what she was referring to – a humble but homey dinner party in a modest but tidy home, my recent success in putting out a zine, my sewing, my volunteer work for the Health Department, and my recent switch to cloth diapering my two children. In short, all of the items I struggle with and share with my friends. The fact that my friend would look at me and see a series of successes, a seamless life fully-lived and easily enjoyed, surprised me. I was being elevated to the title of SuperMom.

This episode was easily recognizable because it has been happening to me more and more in the last year. This almost makes sense considering the circumstances of my life lately. About the time my firstborn approached a year and a half, I found I had built a solid base of resources allowing me to enjoy and succeed at life as a housemom – to prepare meals, keep my home ordered, sew for my children and friends, enjoy my child, and tune into my husband. Not surprisingly, this latter development soon got me pregnant. Going through pregnancy and having a newborn while caring for a toddler certainly threw me a curveball in my routine, but with focus and help from friends and family I bounced back rather quickly into the busy life I’d come to enjoy. Referring to becoming a second-time parent, I told people, “I want to enjoy this time, not just survive it.” I asked friends and family for help, embraced my labor and birth, and enlisted my husband’s help in creating time for myself.

All of this has a dark side however. My second labor, birth, and early months with my new baby seemed almost too good to be true. They were. About six weeks into my son’s life I realized I had arrived in a dark place. To the outside observer, I probably seemed a relatively successful and capable woman. I felt a wreck inside. The most minor glitches in my day would seem insurmountable.

It took a few breakdowns before I realized no one was going to help me, and I needed to figure out a way to get the inner struggle, whatever it was, out into the open. I tentatively, oh so tentatively, suggested to my husband I might need a counselor. It was a tough call to make. What would happen? Would I find out? Or worse, that there was more wrong with me than I’d even imagined? The thing that made me determined to go was the realization that the only thing keeping me willing to survive was my love for my children. And if things got bad, really bad – and I lost my love for them – what then?

At about the time I started seeing a counselor, the fog began to lift. I began to see my moments of despair as being unreasonable. Life didn’t need to be so overwhelming.

And now I am wondering about my friends and acquaintances who appear to have a solid face to the outside world. I wonder what secret pain they hold, and how easy it would be for them to say to someone, “I am really faltering here. I need help.” For some reason, all the stories about women who need and get help seem to be about someone else. They can’t be about us. And maybe that self-imposed pressure is why it’s so hard for our friends to admit to one another that, for the now, it’s their story.