—Chris Rock, What to Expect When You’re Expecting
I’ve been on a speeding train for the last couple of months, but I think (key word: think) it’s going to slow down a bit this summer—a mixed blessing. While it would be nice to unpack and set up my new apartment, I get nervous when I’m not at least a little crazed with work.
Since I’m a freelancer, I get scared when I don’t have a job on the horizon, but I’ve decided to try to work on this character flaw over the summer. I need to learn to relax when I have down time. Now that I have a child, it’s a necessary step. My husband Ross always suggests meditation or yoga, which only makes me laugh. Both activities activate my stress receptors. Instead, I tell Ross that I plan to explore our new neighborhood and become an active member of the community, which only makes him laugh. I’m not very outgoing, and I like spending time by myself.
Now that Harry is in the picture, my alone time is limited. He needs his playground time, which means a lot of interaction with fellow parents. We also need to find a nursery school, which means that I need to start mingling (even though he’s only 16-months-old). I need to figure out which schools are best and which waiting lists aren’t too long (oh yeah—and which one we can afford!). In New York, getting accepted into nursery school is like getting accepted into college, and the tuition isn’t much less. For more info, check out my friend’s hilarious/scary documentary about applying for Manhattan nursery schools.
When I asked a local store owner where she sends her kids, Ross was amazed. I usually try to keep my conversations with strangers to a minimum. Ross on the other hand, likes to ask waiters what dish is the best and sales people for their opinion on how jeans look. “They’re salesman!” I always say. “Of course they are going to tell you they look good!”
But when it comes to Harry, I’m willing to talk to anyone to figure out what’s best for him. I’ve joined playgroups where I chat with parents about nap schedules and potty training, conversations I never thought I’d be a part of. I’m even thinking about joining a local food co-op. (All members contribute two hours of work every four weeks for significantly lower prices.) Harry wouldn’t have to participate, but joining would benefit him. We’d be saving cash that we could put towards nursery school. Joining might also mean meeting parents who are environmentally conscious and do things like composting. Now instead of being work-crazed, I can be inundated with co-op politics.
On second thought, perhaps I should just relax and go to Trader Joe’s.
Addie Morfoot is a freelance journalist at Daily Variety and is finishing her MFA in creative writing at The New School. Last year, her world turned upside down when she gave birth to her son Harry. Every other Monday, she writes about juggling work, school, marriage, and motherhood in the Big Apple.