Standing in the middle of my living room, up to my knees in stuffed animals, discarded socks and receiving blankets, I remember a time when my apartment was tidy, minimal except for the alphabetically organized books. I might even venture to call it sleek. Order was maintained with little effort, but since Joanie’s birth, when we returned home and collapsed in an explosion of wipes and forms, pills and bottles, I have been frantically scrambling to catch up with all the annoying chores that compose my life. No matter how many post-it memos I leave myself I can’t pay my bills on time, I always forget items at the grocery store, I order pizza too often, and I still haven’t written my will.
On weekends I serve brunch at a restaurant in my neighbourhood. At the end of my shift on Sunday I slump onto the couch, order pizza and watch an episode of Gossip Girl, despite my promise that I wouldn’t watch that stupid hallow show anymore. In my state of exhaustion I say to myself, “next week I am going to be on top of everything.”
This affirmation reminds me of a similar pronouncement I would repeat when I was twenty. I was living in an apartment with my best friend, a performance artist, an international student, and a university professor whom I never met and would never meet. Most nights I’d work the overnight shift at a diner, then meet up with bartender friends for breakfast, go home and sleep until three or four in the afternoon. For an entire winter I didn’t see sunlight and on days I didn’t work I’d go to a carpeted bar to drink and dance. It was loads of fun, but outside of work and drinking I didn’t do much. My bills were left unpaid, the floor of my room was littered with pizza boxes and Lord help you if you expected me to respond to an email. And just like I do now, I’d wake up once a week and say, “this week I’m going to get my shit together.”
When friends hold Joanie on their knees and watch her wobble on her six month old legs, they laugh at a joke I’ve heard time and time again: “she’s like a little drunk person.” Babies may stumble through life as it they were intoxicated but I assure you it is the parents who live as drunks do. We’re sleep-deprived, we walk into doors, and we insist on talking about gross things nobody wants to hear about (see my other posts on poop). Most importantly, parents are constantly trying to catch up with their own lives, wishing there were twenty-eight hours in a day. Even as I write this, I should be calling Canada Revenue to wade through some bureaucratic nonsense. But it’s Friday. Tomorrow I work and I’m sure, come Sunday evening, I will make all sorts of promises about the week ahead.