Remember very pregnant contributor Suzanne? Well, she’s very not pregnant now with a precious newborn baby boy. And today she’s telling us all about how she’s a total badass mom of 3/military wife/domestic goddess who is keeping it all together and all the balls in the air while her husband is far away in a submarine. Except not. Because bats.
(This might be the only post on this blog that will ever lead a Google search to something actually about rabies.)
When you have kids (or even just turn into a grown up) your life becomes a juggling act, a constant struggle to keep all the balls of life in the air so they don’t come crashing down on your head or foot or face. For every change you make – adding another kid, a dog, a job change, a business trip, whatever – throw another ball in the mix and try not to mess up.
As a military spouse, I pride myself in being an expert juggler. But this month I finally found the ball that sent the whole thing crashing down on my head – and that ball was shaped like a bat. A flappy, leather, furry, squeaking BAT.
A month ago, my third baby finally made his appearance. A few days later my husband left for a short but incredibly poorly timed work thing. And by work thing I mean he was on a submarine at sea, which isn’t the sort of business trip you can reschedule no matter how pissed your wife is at being left alone with 2 kids and an infant. The Navy ain’t got time for that.
To keep everyone
entertained alive, the littles and I went to visit my parents for a few days, literally slamming the door and driving away from the laundry and cooking and cleaning and all the other things that I knew would start to pile up.
When we got home a few days later, I put the kids to bed, collapsed on the couch with a pint of ice cream and mentally shored myself up to get through another week alone.
And then a bat flew through the room.
I tried to pretend I was just delusional from exhaustion (I find denial to be a very effective parenting tool, but it flew through the room again, MOCKING ME with its gross battiness and TOUCHING THINGS with it’s disgusting wings.
I briefly considered just taking the kids to a hotel and burning the house down behind me, but figured the paperwork would be too much trouble.
I Googled animal control, but they didn’t have an after-hours number (or even an answering machine). I Googled pest removal companies but couldn’t find one in my town. I Googled “HELP THERE’S A BAT IN MY HOUSE” and got lots of articles about rabies. I realized I was on my own.
So I Handled It.
I chased it upstairs, locked it in the guest room until morning when I knew it would be sleeping, then punched the screen out of a window and hit the bat with a broom until it fell out. BOOM. LOOK AT THESE BALLS I AM JUGGLING.
That evening, another bat flew through the family room.
Unsurprisingly, I lost it. ANOTHER BAT. For all I knew there was a whole COLONY living in my chimney and I was going to have to fight off a bat every night for the next week until my husband came back and I could turn bat-chasing duties over to him. I couldn’t stand the thought.
The kids were alive and fed and clean and happy (and SLEEPING) and the sink was empty and the laundry was drying and the toys were put away and I had only said “shit” twice all day and if someone had knocked on the door that minute I could have offered them coffee and fresh cookies. I was doing it all. Holding down the fort. Maybe I wasn’t winning any perfect parent awards but I was proud of myself.
But the bat caused all my well-managed balls to hit the floor. I just sat on the floor and cried. Stupid bat. Stupid house. Stupid laundry. Stupid husband who was gone. Stupid tears coming out of my stupid eyes. STUPID.
The crying made me feel better, or at least better enough to open a bunch of doors and windows and chase the bat out. I had to be the one to do it. There was no one coming to rescue me, no one to take care of my problem, no way to just ignore the crisis until it went away. This time the crisis was a bat. Next time it could be the plumbing (again) or the car (again) or someone falling down and needing stitches (again).
So I made another cup of coffee and put on my mom pants and kept juggling. Because that’s what we do, as wives, as moms, as women. We’ve got this. And that. And whatever else life throws at us.
My balls are back in the air.
For the record, I haven’t seen a bat since.