Before I Became a Parent

I was a model of efficiency and productivity.

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Sydney overseeing production of from our kitchen.

Before I became a parent, I was a model of efficiency and productivity. I could look back at the end of each day with an air of self-satisfaction as I reviewed all I had accomplished. My skillsets as a “glorified secretary” had already proven transferable across a variety of complex industries and demanding personalities over a 10-year period in one of the toughest corporate environments in the world. New York City.

A baby would certainly be no exception.

Over a year in, I instead find myself doubting my ability to instruct and delegate as I repeatedly fail to convince Sydney that the wooden triangle, in fact, does not fit into the hexagon-shaped hole of the shape sorting cube.

Her two-page attention span means that I still don’t know how Goodnight Moon ends. And every time a new book is thrust atop a fresh, unfinished page, my success rate of enabling consistent and thorough follow-through continues to decline.

On days when it takes me an entire morning just to get the two of us out the door to run an errand at CVS, I question my own competence and integrity to function as a productive member of our family.

When we finally descend our 15 floors, we emerge at street level suffering from an obvious lack of prioritization — Sydney is pristine in the latest designer baby attire, gifted by her fashionable NYC aunties, and it’s (frequently) debatable whether I’ve even showered.

When you have a toddler in Manhattan, the nearest CVS — which is only half a block from our apartment — might as well be in Brooklyn … but it is only after I have finished scanning all of my drugstore items at the self-serve check-out kiosk that I realize the usual contents of my handbag have been traded for ligneous blocks of various colors and shapes. I pause to consider whether Sydney might have hidden my wallet inside of the wooden kid’s tool box that I had seen her push under our couch. Then I apologize to the line of customers that has formed behind me. I ask the nearby sales clerk to hold my intended purchases behind the counter while the automated kiosk begins to robotically demand that I “please place the item(s) back in the bag” … and I exit.

I’ve begun to often wonder whether my brain cells are slowly dying in the monotony or if being a mother really is just that damn hard.

And yet the thing that is really bothering me … as I push our stroller back home to search the most obvious toddler hiding spots for indiscriminate items … is whether anyone cleans up the bowl full of mush after the quiet old lady is done whispering hush.

I am looking forward to finding out with Sydney.

When she is ready.

Originally published on Facebook on November 19, 2017, and at on February 1, 2018.

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