It’s 8:03am on Monday morning. A blurry stop light glows in front of my windshield. The rhythmic groan of windshield wipers interrupts the patter of rain falling. Wrappers, crumbs and La Croix cans are strewn the grey floor of my Honda Insight, the aftermath of the tornado of activity that defines my coming and going. New moms should sprout an extra set of arms after birth, arms for carrying the recycling from the car floor.
I am paused here at this stop light. A rare moment alone. Seconds creep forward slowly moving the day into life. Tears roll my cheeks. My hands grip the wheel.
I haven’t slept for more than 3 hours in the last 5 days My brain feels like it is wrapped in cellophane. The muscles in my jaw aches. My shoulders are in knots. It’s Monday. The work week is just beginning. Anxiety creeps like a daddy long legs, wrapping sticky fibers around my rib cage.
The number of hours between now and when I come home again feels infinite. The number of tasks that make up the day are innumerable. The stoplight is a pregnant pause, a time to feel the weight and let it consume me. Coffee and adrenaline course through my veins, a veneer of artificial energy. I cry, because I am exhausted. I cry, because I am certain I will not survive this day without a very public meltdown. I imagine myself in a puddle behind my cubicle door.
This is what it feels like to be a working mom on Monday morning.
There is a small light that balances this weight. It is the soft fibers for your hair that tickle my cheek as you gently suck at my breast. Your precious and tiny toes pluck along my ribs. I hold you and your breathe settles into a relaxed rhythm that sharply contrasts the desperate howl that ripped me from the depths of a delirious slumber moments ago. Only I can bring you instant peace within your tiny world of chaos. It is you and I here in the incomprehensibility of 3am. There is no one else in the whole wide world.
And it is just me, here, at this stoplight, letting my tears fill the space between the rain drops. The light changes to green and I turn left.