The day begins with nursing my toddler, who habitually rakes her nails across my chest in a slightly painful manner while she suckles. On her way to breakfast, my 6-year-old stubs her toe and hurls herself into my arms to soothe her invisible boo boo. My husband needs sunscreen on his back before he plays basketball.
The toddler hitches a ride on my hip, even though she’s perfectly capable of navigating the stairs. The 6-year-old sees her sister being babied and wants to be babied too—can I please shove her feet into pink cowboy boots that are at least one size too small? I try closing the door to the bathroom, only to hear it bang open with a crash, admitting entry to my entire family. I don’t love being groped while I’m peeing.
OMG, could everyone just stop touching me for just one minute?!
Throughout the day, my body will be a chair, an elevator, a blanket, a balance beam. Hold me! Carry me! Help, I’m falling!
Fingers will moisturize my skin with boogers and strawberry jam. Gangly arms will cut off my air supply when a hug is awkwardly combined with a running jump. Stinky feet will kick me when my attention wavers during story time, leaving a sandy trail beneath my clean white sheets.
Someone will definitely lick me, for reasons I can’t explain.
By the time my husband crawls into bed, you’d better believe I'm already asleep, an invisible force field around me.
So everyone, please, please, please stop touching me.
Not forever. Not even all day. Maybe just for a few hours, so I can remember where I end and you begin.
I teach my girls to be the boss of their bodies, but they are also apparently the boss of my body.
I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. Mostly, I appreciate the touching. This level of closeness and connection can’t last forever. But sometimes it feels like my kids are actually trying to crawl back up inside me so I can carry them around fetus-style again.
Having no boundaries is exhausting.
It’s afternoon. Someone is attacking my head with a sharp comb. This beauty salon comes complete with a teething toddler who finds it soothing to gnaw on my arm. I teach my girls to be the boss of their bodies, but they are also apparently the boss of my body.
Seriously, everyone, stop touching me.
It’s evening. My kids will only take a bath if I get in there with them. There's technically room for all three of us if two of us are on top of me and the toddler gets a head start on her nighttime nursing. I am drowning, but only metaphorically.
I love my husband, yet I'm fantasizing about getting a hotel room by myself for the night. I dream of room service and solitude. Instead, poking fingers startle me awake—a bad dream. Lay with me, Mama. I try to get comfortable smothered between my restless 6-year-old and her 400 Beanie Babies. What is that on my cheek? Ah yes, drool.
Oh, for the love of God, stop touching me!
In a few short years, my mom job will be far less physical. And I will no doubt long for the feel of squirmy little people taking comfort in my arms. I will totally get a cat just so someone will sit on my cold, empty lap. I know all of this intuitively, yet it doesn’t change how much I crave just a wee bit of personal space right now.
So just one more time, with feeling: Everyone, stop touching me!
Photo by: Genevieve Elaine Photography