Responsible Consumer Intermission, Sort Of

While I was sitting there in the hospital cafeteria, trying to get the Toddler to eat one of the fried chicken strips out of the oversized styrofoam container, I questioned what exactly had led me to that moment.

It all started that morning when I checked the messages on my phone. I have two new friends (!) and one of them had just gone in for a C-section on Thursday. Long story, but she was very unhappy about it. I had told her that if she went stir crazy in the hospital to give me a call, and I’d come visit her. We didn’t want her strangling any nurses. I wasn’t expecting her to call. We’re very new friends, and it’s hard to ask a favor of a new friend. But there it was, a voice mail saying with forced vaguery to give her a call if I had time. She must be desperate.

Even though I had just made plans with the other new friend for an early dinner, had tons of home things I wanted to do with my Sunday (read: Papa-can-hang-with-the-kids day), had already had a very rough morning with the Babe and sorely needed a break, I couldn’t let her down! And as long as I was going I might as well take the kids, so that I could save My Time for later in the day when I could actually get something done.

But that meant I needed to go, right then. I ran out the door with the two kiddies in tow, knowing full well that it was 11:15 and we’d need lunch soon, and what was I planning to do about that?

And that is how we ended up in the cafeteria at 12:45, wolfing down a deep fried lapse of integrity.

But…. what’s the real issue here, I was asking myself? How did our lives get to be so busy that we can’t even make ourselves lunch?

I know that in the full scope of American life, we live in a very slow relaxed manner. But it’s still way too much. We do too much. How is this supposed to work? We can barely manage one outing a day. Even at that, home stuff still stacks up, and then if a day comes along where we do two outings, all hell breaks loose.

It’s all wrong. I feel like a lot of the “slow” fad ends up with people just trying to fit more “slow” things in around their already full life. We have to actually pare down. Lower our expectations. Give something up. But what?

I feel like I should provide the Toddler with one kid activity a day, and that is the source of a lot of our outings. But throughout history, no one worried about providing their kids with playtime.

Mothering is crazy now. It doesn’t make a lick of sense for one woman to stay locked up in her own house with one (or two) kids. It’s downright unhealthy. For all involved. Kids are supposed to be running around in little neighborhood packs, getting into trouble while no one’s watching. Maybe with a few elders keeping rough tabs. Leaving us mamas to get some shit done.

But it doesn’t work now. For one thing, we don’t want to live near either of our parents, particularly. For another, there are no neighborhood packs. At least not here in New Orleans. And people are just too worried to let their kids run around with someone else’s eight year old in charge anyway.

This does all tie into responsible consumerism! Because to get by on less money, and still purchase the higher priced, responsible products requires a big time commitment. When you have kids, especially two, especially young, it’s damn hard to fit everything in. Conquering this time crunch cuts to the very heart of the issue.

How to make it work?

I’m struggling here, not particularly qualified to give advice. But I know it involves that ole’ (un)favorite, Reduce.

(And of course, reduce my computer time has been discussed before. I have actually, quite a bit. But, I have to leave myself enough time and energy to vent, share and find solace in the camaraderie of mamas who understand…)

So off I go to work out some reduction issue.

2 thoughts on “Responsible Consumer Intermission, Sort Of

  1. yip. it’s an infrastructure problem, social and physical. and the physicalness of the offspring makes the comeraderie and support one can find online of limited usefulness. intentional communities seem like one way to go, maybe, but it’s … such a huge and impossible-seeming thing, and also in some cases such a long and drawn-out process that if you already have a baby by the time you start thinking about it, the years you most need that sort of support might be past… (maybe i’m wrong about this, haven’t looked into it in years… decades. but there are other issues that make it not a simple/turn-key operation.)

    in the meantime, you do the best you can with what you got, where you are, and try to remember that the best you can do is at least good enough and most likely reallyreally good, on the whole, and keep putting one foot in front of the other until one day you wake up and Toddler is 16 and a very cool individual and you have no idea how that happened… erm…

    (fwiw, i think you’re doing an amazing job)

  2. Good on you (for going to the hospital).
    Yep, intentional communities are one way to go. There were definitely packs of littlies roaming the one we visited in New Zealand.

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