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The Single Mom Diaries (or, how I survived a 48-hour babysitting stint)

Posted by Nora | Thursday September 29, 20119 comments

With the exception of the whole 9 month pregnancy thing, most women don't get to gently dip a toe into the waters of motherhood.

But most women aren't me-- the kind of woman who kind of sort of forgets her commitment to watching her darling niece and nephew for two nights while their parents go on a nice, grown-ups only vacation.

Which is how I found myself in the unlikely role of working, single suburban mother. If this were a movie, I would like to be played by a hapless and affable Katherine Heigl.

As a child, I vastly underestimated how much of a life my mother had outside of our family. She would return from long days of hammering through the glass ceiling in the world of advertising only to make us dinner, drive us to swim practice, and listen to us recount the injustices we had suffered at the hands of our siblings. Most days, we would call her when we got home from school to complain about the food options in the fridge. We would even have the RECEPTIONIST PAGE HER so she could settle disputes over the TV remote control.

While I've been babysitting since I was 11 (and still totally do), and I've been a legal adult since 18, my niece and nephew still sensed how woefully unprepared I was for the situation:

Thursday morning

7:30: Niece asks if I know how to make cereal

7:45: (2-year-old) Nephew reminds me that he needs a pair of socks to complete his outfit

8:00: Nephew asks to drink some of my coffee. I oblige. Whoops.

8:15: Niece points out that I'm driving the wrong way to daycare.  Whoops again.

8:30: Daycare lady asks if I'm heading back home to shower before going to work. The answer is no. I have already showered but one night of motherhood has taken its toll on my appearance. Fantastic.

8:50: Niece asks me if she can wear a jacket to school. I mean sure it's only 50 F but I guess kids aren't as tough as they used to be.

Thursday afternoon

5:45: "Whose mom is THAT?!" an incredulous group of kids ask aloud when I walk into the after-school room. Niece emphatically states that I am NOT her mom. Okay then.

Thursday night

About three hours of brutal protest over bedtime. I didn't know that small people could make me want to cry so easily.

Friday morning

8:15: Niece points out that it is a good thing I didn't get lost on the way to daycare...yet

8:30: Niece decides that even though the note from her teacher says homework is due Tuesday, it is actually due today. Begins furious glitter glue project.

8:58: Niece boards the school bus without saying a word to me. "Have a good day!" I yell. Mother standing next to me assures me that Niece also ignores my sister. I am comforted by this simple fact.

Even though I scored pretty low on my first Mom test, and even though it is an unspoken law that no single woman over 25 ever confess such a thing, I will tell you right now in front of God and the whole Internet that seeing two little faces smiling at me in the rearview mirror gave me that crazy, kid nappy feeling I have been seeing in my friends lately.

I want a little nugget.

At least for a night or two.
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on September 30, 2011  mamaluv  STAFF said:

One of the first things motherhood teaches you is that you need to immediately beg your mom's forgiveness for having been such a cow when you were a teenager. Nothing like perspective!!

on September 30, 2011  Nora said:

Ali and Claire, I admire you more than ever after my 2 days as a mom. Same goes for my sister, my mom, my aunts, and all the other ladies who helped raise me while working...

on September 29, 2011  Ali de Bold  STAFF said:

I can't believe the daycare lady said that to you! And I totally hear you on the crying thing. Yesterday he and I cried at the same time. Him because of what, I still don't know. Me, because he wouldn't stop crying.

on September 29, 2011  AlexJC  50 said:

I babysat a lot growing up, in middle and high school and sometimes at the end of my shift I would go home and be like- NO KIDS EVER.

I guess that permanently stayed with me because I'm still really on the fence about ever having kids!

on September 29, 2011  mamaluv  STAFF said:

"I didn't know that small people could make me want to cry so easily."

It takes a lot for me to cry when my hubby frustrates me or we fight. My kids are much more efficient at it. In other words, I know only too well what you mean.

Still, it is the most rewarding thing I have ever done - and I was someone who originally never wanted to have children.

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