Sunday, September 07, 2008

45 minutes

No matter where you fall on the political scale, the sanity scale, or the bathroom scale, one surprising effect Sarah Palin has had on some of my most awesome fabulous mama-friends and colleagues is existential crisis. “It took me FOUR months to go back to work after the birth of my special-needs baby,” one lamented. Another chops her own wood, but she can’t field-dress a moose, though she can make hysterical photos of plucked chickens that she’s housed dressed (in fanciful garb). Another, a nuclear physicist, is so good at explaining calculus that I didn’t die of embarrassment on my GRE, plus she can do wicked cool stuff like split neutrinos, but she’s not been able to govern a State.

Some of my friends feel inadequate because they had to choose between high-power careers and children. But everyone is a little frightened that if, G-d forbid, something were to happen to McCain—were he to have been elected (the oldest president ever)—congress would expect all women to be as efficient as Sarah Palin. Imagine: “why do women need six weeks maternity leave? Our president gave birth to her eight child while on conference call to Osama Bin Ladin!” (Honestly, the first woman president, if she plans to have a child while in office, should try it. If she was like me, her yells would pretty effectively pair with her threats to kick someone's ass.)

I may have had to go back to work after a C-section when my child was 3 weeks old and no one was with me to help out. But, what with the stitches, blood loss, colic, breastfeeding, and sleep deprivation, I think tax payers would have been better off had I been paid to stay at home for a few months.

Ladies, if it makes you feel better, I offer myself as a humble example of how efficient this woman/mother is when she’s caring for her delicious daughter.

Personal Fitness—I like to think I’ve not cut back on the time I spend working out each week since my child was born. I’ve just made the following adjustment for a one-hour workout.
Before: I ran six miles
Now: I walk 6 blocks with my little future voter. (I’ve not figured out the exact mileage, but if you count retracing steps, climbing up and down neighbor’s steps and paths, it’s gotta be further than it seems).

In 45 minutes I can fold and put away laundry, sweep and mop the apartment if no one else is there.
OR I can choose to devote that time to cleaning the pasta sauce out of my child’s nostrils and ears, hair, belly button and from between her toes.

In 45 minutes I can prepare a 3-course meal for 4 (or, if you count halved grapefruits for appetizers, a 4-course meal).

But unless I’m hosting a Shabbat meal, I don’t use precious babysitting (or baby bed-time)time for cooking, so usually in 45 minutes I can peel 4 carrots and crack and separate 6 eggs with my girl, who pours the egg yolks into a bowl and throws the shells away for me.

In 45 minutes with my daughter’s help I can make the bed—complete with a few games of hide-and-seek, peek-a-boo, and a couple of stories tossed in. But I guess this should be counted as “playing.” And one day, please G-d, my daughter gets a father and a sibling, they can play (and make the beds) together…see, just gained 45 minutes! If that happens, I might look into governing a small state like Wyoming (Just kidding Gov. Freudenthal).

Some things are actually faster with a child. Shopping, for instance. What used to take me an hour now takes me 20 minutes flat. Mostly because I feel guilty about the quantity of grapes my child consumes before we reach the check out. I’ve asked the checkers to add 50 cents or so to each lb of grapes, but they think I’m joking.

Well, for starters, it takes me 15 minutes each morning to find my “tick-tock,” cell phone, and keys, all of which my daughter had requisitioned for toys the night before.

I’m currently calculating how many classes I have to teach until my number of students equals the population of the state of Alaska. Stay tuned.

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