Parenting is lonely. This is what helps.

No, doctor, I have no idea how the baby got Ringworm.

It’s funny. Even though it’s been 4.5 years since I’ve gone to the bathroom by myself, I would have to say that parenting as a whole, is a pretty lonely endeavor. 

I was talking about this with Nat the other day and he agreed, “I guess it’s lonely because the only person who can really understand what you are going through is your spouse,” he said.  “Well…” — he pointed to the baby playing in the dog food bowl and the other one playing with LEGOS — “Besides the two people who aren’t real people yet.”

I know I will feel less lonely once the baby is older and we can leave the house more often with the kids. But right now, with the cold weather and the baby still being on two naps a day (not to mention her 6:15 p.m. bedtime), we are aaaallllwwwaaayyyssss home.

I counteract the loneliness by 1. Being on social media much more than I should be. (I am even beginning to annoy myself, which is saying something.) 2. The radio is always on. Always. Mainly because I don’t want the TV on all day and yet still want to feel connected to the world around me. 

So, without further ado, this is the soundtrack to our lives as newfound shut-ins:

This is a photo of Alexa that I stole off the Internet.

Alexa: I love our Alexa. Love, love, love.  In the morning, I walk downstairs and say, “Alexa, turn on WNYC.” And she turns on WNYC (magic!). I don’t even have to put down the baby or fiddle with controls. Or, if there’s a pledge drive on WNYC, I say, “Alexa, turn on WHYY” so I don’t have to hear the WNYC pledge drive and can still listen to Morning Edition without feeling terrible guilt (white people magic!).  And voila! There’s Morning Edition to help me get caught up on news while I frantically make semi-healthy lunches in 3 minutes or less for my beautiful children. Every evening, Sam plays the Animal Game, which is like 20 questions for Alexa and it’s thrilling for him.  I also shout at it about things we need for our grocery list and Nat plays Jeopardy. It’s really helped us get through a cold and depressing winter. I’m really looking forward to our robot overlords.

WFUV: Apparently, I used to be into music (and even wrote about for a newspaper?!) which seems very foreign and strange to me now. I used to go to concerts? And stand around other people? For hours upon hours? Past 9:30?  Crazy. But after I needing a Klonopin from listening to the news in the morning, WFUV‘s morning music programming on my drive to work is so very good. It helps me feel less like a lame suburban mom of two and more like I’m a cool suburban mom of two (if such a creature exists). The morning host, Corny OConnell, is so calm and cool yet not too calm or cool to make the station feel too hip for me. 

WFMU: Speaking of feeling too hip, in full disclosure, WFMU can feel a little too-cool-for-school for me during the week. Yet, I think discovering this radio station is one of the best things about moving to New Jersey (besides the driveway and lack of bottles of piss on the sidewalk). All weekend, our home is devoted to this station. Like, sometimes I’ll catch myself listening to  “On Being” which seems like a Sunday morning radio show I would love (Spirituality! Religion! Soft vocals!) but is such a snooze fest. (Ugh, Krista Tippett, get a distortion pedal or something.)  And then I’ll remember it’s the weekend and I don’t have to listen to regular NPR programming and can listen to WFMU instead and I legit get excited. Their  weekend programs are all surf-rock and doo-wop and things I can’t believe they find to play (their archives and knowledge about music is really something). I find it— dare I say it?—life-affirming.

Just us, hanging out in the kitchen, listening to the radio on our Alexa while I make sure the baby doesn’t kill herself.

Podcasts: Podcasts help me be zen while I participate in the most arduous, boring, never-ending task around: Laundry. They almost make  it bearable. In fact, thanks to some quality podcasts, I am beginning to think of the hour I duck upstairs to put away clothing  as “Dorothy Time.” I’m currently loving Only Human, Terrible, Thanks for Asking, Hidden Brain, Invisabilia, and, the old stand-by, This American Life.  (Note: I only like storytelling or  fact-based podcasts and not where people interview people who I’m jealous of for being more successful than me.)

Moana Soundtrack:  No lie, “The Official Moana Soundtrack on Spotify” (as Sam instructs Alexa to play) gets better after the 100th listen. I know that sounds snarky but I really believe it. For the first 99 listens I thought, “This isn’t that great.” But on the 100th-plus, I am a true believer!

“Moana, make wayyyyyy, make wayyyy! Moana, it’s time you knew! The village of Motunui is All you nnnnneeeeedddddddd.”


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