It turns out that going a whole week without watching television is much harder than one very disciplined blogger might have imagined. As you may remember, I was planning to turn the tv off last week and see how much more I got done. And on Monday I was like a woman possessed, getting things done like my life depended on it. Tuesday was much the same, but by Wednesday, the bloom was off the rose and I caught a few Sex and the City episodes while Jack napped. Thursday wasn’t much better and Friday would have been a complete failure if I hadn’t scheduled a day of appointments and a trip to my hometown.
So, where to go from here? In the past, I might have just concluded that watching tv is what I want to do (refusing to admit my “failure”), so I’m going to do it. But it’s not. I did get a lot done last week and I felt better watching less of the “idiot box.” I was able to get out and see people and do more. So this week I am going to continue my efforts towards no tv, and just shoot for less tv. I have pretty well cut morning tv out, giving me an extra hour to play with Jack, or eat breakfast, or start laundry. But the evenings are still very difficult. I am lonely after Jack goes to bed and so I turn to the comfort of the friends I’ve made on the sitcoms I love so much. I am going to look for a book to read this week and substitute that for the tv family I’ve made.
This week will also be a big test of my self control. Tomorrow Jack has an appointment with his pediatrician and his father is “scheduled to appear.” I shouldn’t say it like that, I’m sure he’ll be there. He’s actually been trying very hard with Jack lately and this weekend, he kept Jack at his apartment. I dropped him off so that I could check things out and was, quite honestly, stunned at the home he had created within the walls of his bachelor pad. He had a beautiful crib with sweet blue sailboat themed bedding. He had tiny clothes for Jack to wear and toys and food that were all age and stage appropriate. And he had photos of Jack on the refrigerator and on the wall. In frames. And while it took my breath away to see pictures of my son on the walls of a person who has essentially become a stranger to me, I had to admit that he was making an honest effort.
At least I hope it’s an honest effort. I remember the day I told him I was pregnant and the following six months, during which he wanted nothing to do with the baby. And I remember the eight months after Jack was born when his father continued his devotion to his job, and yet failed to attend even a single doctors appointment. I even asked him at one point to take a CPR class so that he could come keep Jack while I slept during the exhausting first months home when I was waking every three hours to pump milk, and feed and medicate Jack. I remember that he said “no” and that he just didn’t think he could be involved.
It’s hard to trust this man and I don’t yet believe that his commitment to Jack is real, or will continue. Especially if Jack gets sick again, which he almost certainly will. He will need another heart surgery before adulthood, it’s not a maybe. And will his father show up and help me change the bandages and give the medication and monitor the heart rate? I don’t know. I hope so. But I know, for sure, that I don’t want to be the reason that he isn’t. I waste a lot of time worrying about tomorrow, but the thing I worry the most about is having to tell Jack, someday, that his father isn’t coming to see him as planned. But if that is because told him that he couldn’t come and I wanted to protect him, then I will be the real cause of his pain, and I don’t want to be the reason for any further pain in Jack’s life. He’s had enough for a lifetime.
For now, I am making every effort to allow Jack and his father visitation each time it is requested. And while we are apart I fret and worry about how Jack is doing and whether this will continue, and whether I should have that margarita because what it I’m called on to go retrieve Jack because his father changed his mind. And then I stop. And I have the margarita. And I try to enjoy my alone time, because his father has had almost two years of “him time” and now it’s my turn.
Being a good mother is harder than it looks. So much harder…