note: you’ve probably already read this. originally wrote and posted this on 10/18/2012 on noonecanfathom.tumblr.com. i wanted it here too 🙂
Even though I am only a nanny, I often think I understand motherhood when I feel crazy love coupled with complete frustration for three-year-old Wyatt, my charge for 6-8 hours every weekday. I can scoop up the little perfectly-bred Arian beauty and all I want to do lay on the couch all day with him. His little sweatpants are soft and he can sit on my stomach without crushing me and sometimes he even holds my hand and plays with my hair, trying to make a ponytail. This extended snuggling may require watching four consecutive hours of Dora the Exlplorer, but who cares? I have a perfect fun-size cuddle buddy! Then, just as our hands meet in the bowl of shared cheese popcorn, he will tell me that he hates my sweatshirt. He doesn’t like purple, and I should wear orange tomorrow. He also wants chocolate milk NOW even though I just made him waterered-down white grape juice, which I know is his favorite. So I turn off the TV and make him practice learning the days of the week, so that next time he insults me he will actually know that tomorrow is Wednesday. He kicks me with his adorable little crocs on and yells, “You’re mean” and “Mommy said no!” which are the meanest things he knows to say.
I take Wyatt to the library and I wonder who perceives me to be a mother of a three-year old. Wyatt doesn’t let go of me the whole time we are there, but its not like he is accidentally calling me, “Mommy.” On the days when I know Wyatt and I will be going out in public, I actually plan to wear a baggier pair of jeans, instead of my beloved leggings as pants.
I am not too thin to be a mother. Everyone around here is thin, because everyone is a runner. I used to hate the monotonous activity, but now I feel as though if I don’t run, I am not paying my dues to the jogging god of Grand Rapids, and that all of the young women in spandex at D&W will know I skipped a run. If you aren’t at church on a Sunday morning around here, you sure as hell better be jogging. About a year ago, my best friend Rachel ran a marathon. She ran through my church service and my three cup of coffee. She ran for four hours, became a saint of Grand Rapids with an aluminum foil blanket, and spent the next three days limping up and down the stairs. It looked like torture, but she was admired by all, including myself. She loved the photos I took of her, frozen mid-sprint, smiling—-head-to-toe in Nike.
I mostly run as an attempt to teach myself some self disciple, but I also run with Wyatt, around the house playing Power Rangers and around the local park—-the only place where a mother with a child of her own once asked me, “Is he yours?”
“I’m the nanny.” I replied, which in retrospect sounds cinematic, as though every child has a working mother and a nanny, and this was the Upper East side of Manhattan. I could have said, “I am his nanny,” or even, “I am hisbabysitter.” But then again I am no longer the fourteen-year-old who tucks a couple of little kids into bed and then spends the majority of her work time in front of the WB watching shows about teenagers having sex and playing basketball so that she has something to talk about with her friends at school. Any young teenager will tell you that it is always best to get a babysitting job on a night when one of those beautiful and forbidden shows is on. You’ll suddenly understand what all the girls are talking about in front of their lockers in the morning.
Now, given glorious grown-up freedom, I come home from a day of running around and can watch anything I please! So I watch sit in bed alone watching reruns of Sex and the City, and text my mother about it the next morning.