The thing about having a baby is that it really puts your life into perspective. I've always had a great sense of direction; as a scout, I earned the "finding your way" badge. Twice. I've always known where I was going. Once I had Caroline, though, I spun out for a little while. And, while I had a plan for the immediate future, I had no idea where I wanted my life to eventually take me. And, you see kiddos, that was the problem. Life isn't taking me anywhere, I'm going someplace of my own accord and every action or inaction is getting me there. That realization really helped me focus my energy....and also kicked my monkey brain into high gear.
Many sleepless nights followed this epiphany until I finally had it figured out. Now that I know where I want to end up, I find myself on a series of convoluted side streets. I can see exactly where I want to be, but I have no clue how to get there...that scout badge sure isn't helping now. Maybe I just need to persist. Maybe I need to make a map. Maybe I just need to ditch the car and walk. But I'll figure it out, mark my words.
Having that figured out really takes the pressure off and infuses me with new-found motivation. It's a lot easier to want to go back to work when I know what I'm working towards. One thing that's way less intimidating now is romance. Now, I was never great at this before I had a baby and my new priorities don't really lend themselves to being trifled with for the sake of a good snog. To more fully examine the dating/romance scenario, we'll have to set aside a few things that infuriate me:
-the double standard of dating which requires women to be demure, coy and borderline ignorant in the name of finding love
-the complete lack of honest communication between people at the outset of a relationship
-the concept of sex as the desired end result of a date
-the absence of a good mascara in my makeup kit
Those are all topics for another day, preferably with a stiff drink and a healthy dose of feminism. As I was saying, I was never great at the whole romance thing before Carrie came along. I'm wawkward and neurotic with social anxiety. I have body issues and sometimes talk out of my ass when placed on the spot. I don't like to eat in front of people. All of these are good reasons why dates are a bad idea for me. Now that I've had this great shift in my priorities, though, there's pretty much no pressure. I know what I want and I know that I'm going to get it. So, really, dating is more like a screening process. I'm thinking of having cards made up that just say:
"Hello. I'm pleased to hear of your interest in my personality and body in a romantic way. My interests and hobbies are unimportant to you at this time. My goals for a relationship are X, Y and Z; I will settle for nothing less than X and Z. If you are still interested in beginning a romantic relationship, please respond via email. Thank you."
But can I really just come out and say that? Say, for example, that someone had expressed interest in me and it seems that our minds are on the same page. Would I really be able to put aside my self-doubt and be as up front as I wish everyone would be with me? That remains to be seen, but I think it would go something like this:
"On the highway of life, my directions have me taking the Stability exit to the city of Housewifery. If there's nothing to interest you at that exit, you'll need to find a different ride."
Because, and this is the point: I have a human being to love, support and cherish. I don't have time for petty games. I have a very specific picture of what I want in this life for both myself and my daughter. Either get on, or get out of the way.