I lay next to Isaac a few hours ago, dangling a toy. My eyes drifted shut and my mind strayed to the stories I wanted to work on when he took his afternoon nap. The magazines that I might send them to. The responses that I might or might not get.
I started to wish that Isaac would fall asleep quickly and, even better, stay asleep for the rest of the day.
Shaking myself awake, I had to remind myself -- sternly -- that this was my job now. Thinking about it like that, I became deeply disappointed.
Qualey, I thought, when was the last time you learned a new song? Do you always have to sing him "When I'm 64?" And books. You've got dozens of them out there. You don't need to recite "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" every time the kid gets cranky. And Jesus, how many days in a row are you going to feed the poor guy strained asparagus?
Have I ever done a job this badly?
God, no. As an Internet journalist, I worked 16-18 hours a day, blearily calling sources, learning HTML, e-mailing viewers and researching, researching, researching. As a kindergarten teacher, I was no less dedicated, reading books upon books, spending my nights cutting out little shapes, planning new projects, writing letters to parents.
But as a mommy? If I were to give myself a performance review right now, I would probably leave the room crying.
Initiative: Poor. If she can coast on old tricks, this mommy won't try anything new.
Group work: Poor. She doesn't like the daddy to get in her business or, God forbid, have an opinion about their shared venture.
Attitude: Piss poor. Did you hear her joke that she was going to bury her son in the front yard?
Time management: Let's not even dignify this one with an answer.
Let's just say I'm not getting a seven-percent raise this year.
But then, I thought, maybe I have learned something after all. Maybe I've learned that not everything needs to be perfect, that sometimes -- if we just hang out and enjoy each other and no one gets killed or maimed or psychologically scarred -- then that's good enough.