Sunday, March 06, 2011

Of Grocery Shopping and Cake Baking

It's really very hard to believe that I've already been off work for three months. I started Mat leave on December 3rd, and when I think about what I've been doing with my time "off", I have to remember to change my perspective significantly...
Left t0 my old ways of thinking, it's tempting to say 'I have nothing to show for the last three months', but, uh, HELLO, I have a two and a half month old baby to show for it! And that's what I mean by a shift in perspective. Because after you've spent your whole life in school, followed by 6 years at an office job, you measure productivity by deliverables. For as long as I can remember, I've had something to submit: homework assignments, first drafts, book reports, lab results, presentations, standard operating procedures, flow charts, meeting minutes, work tickets... The list goes on and on and on.
This project though, the one I'm working on write now, project Little Boy, is not "deliverable based". I don't get to submit Dude to anyone for evaluation every two weeks. I don't file a report nightly ('today Dude slept 10 hours and was awake 14 hours. He had 8 diaper changes, 10 feedings and a bath. He spent one hour being burped, one hour in his baby swing, and 15 minutes doing tummy time. He looked at me and laughed 7 separate times. He cried 12 separate times.')
No, Dude-raising is a long term project, a VERY, long term project, and while there are milestones by which I can assess how I'm doing, there are also a million little repetitive tasks that fill up the day before I add anything extra, like, say, cooking, or laundry.
Still, on the one hand, though my tasks now never end and my time isn't mine any longer, on the other hand, my schedule is as open-ended as it's ever been. At this age for Little Dude, so long as he's fed, burped, changed and warm, he really doesn't care about anything else. And so I can decide at 1:30 pm that I will do some grocery shopping at 2, or bake a cake on the fly, or try a new recipe I've never made and spend 40 minutes going through the store aisles painstakingly searching for ingredients. I can spend all day reading a book while I feed, burp, wrap, and rock the Little Dude. And that is what I have to show for the last three months, because soon this stage will be over: he'll be crawling or teething or talking or going to playgroups and my schedule will be tied down again, and 2 a.m. will no longer be the same as 2 pm., so I'm enjoying it while it lasts...

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