There was this PBS documentary mini-series titled: Mormons. I had to watch it. I was two glasses of wine in and walking the line between buzzed and pretentious buzzed. “Oh yes, a PBS documentary. What else would I watch?” *adjusts imaginary glasses*
Because if you watch a PBS documentary while buzzed, and no one is there to admire your choice in programming, does the tree falling in the middle of an empty forest make a sound?
I argue that of course it still counts when you incorrectly recount the facts of said documentary later that year at holiday parties. It still counts.
And I wondered if I was watching the documentary because I wanted to or because someone once told me that well-rounded people watch documentaries. Honestly, I couldn’t be sure exactly why I was watching it. I couldn’t differentiate between my likes and desires and the desires of “the panel”. I always imagine there is an invisible panel…monitoring the decisions we make. Holding up numbers; grading our performance.
Grilled cheese and carrot sticks for dinner? 4.5
PBS documentary watching? 7.5
I’ve never medaled in anything.
But this whole idea of why we do things…this has been consistently gnawing at me for a few months. Do I do anything for the pure joy of it? Do I stop and say, “Fuck it! I don’t care that laundry is smothering my will to live. I don’t care that my toilet bowl looks like a Before shot. I don’t fucking care!”
But, I do care. I just don’t know why I care.
So, I’ve been breaking it down. I’ve been thinking, hard, about why and to what benefit and, how this relates to womanhood and personhood and motherhood.
I’ve been mostly considering how it relates to my reign as dictator over these four, small people. It’s not a democracy. They had no choice. It’s just me. I’m the hand they were dealt.
And because my desire to become a mother was so primal, it felt less like a choice than a reckoning. I HAD to be a mother. It wasn’t a choice. It was a calling. My bones told me I had to be one and so, I obliged. You don’t ever say no to your bones.
But, the rest of motherhood doesn’t feel like that. It taunts you because there are no right answers. You don’t feel it “in your bones” when it’s time to talk to them about sex or drugs or toxic friendships. Your bones don’t jump in to help when they tell you they hate you or ask you to stop dancing because the mere idea of you moving makes them want to dig their eyes out with a spoon. Your bones forsake you and then, it’s just YOU and THEM and nobody has the answers (no matter how many organic crackers you bought when they were toddlers).
And they are always asking you “WHY?” as well. Like we have any idea at all.
When my eldest was about 16 months old, she ate her own poop. I walked in and she was in a shit covered room, with a shit filled diaper turned upside down on a shit stained floor. She was in hysterics screaming, “I eat it! WHY I DO THAT?”
My bones didn’t help out then either.
That’s just it, we don’t know “why we do that”.
And we are always looking for answers. Begging for answers. TELL ME THE PARENTING ANSWERS. Fuck it. There are none.
There’s just your toddler eating poop and you wondering if you can bleach your baby and then figuring it out as you go.
There is no why. There are no answers.
Fuck it. You can do laundry tomorrow.
Your bones will help you push the “dry-clean only” comforter into the washing machine.