I have been rudely introduced to the (not so new) concept that the definition of productivity and daily success are completely different for someone without tiny children and someone with tiny children.
First, you need to know this about me. I am happiest with symmetry, order, zero clutter, and eye pleasing decor placement. In my history, having a house that was baby proof, aka- a glorified padded room, was not easy for my inner craziness.
As my oldest child grew and developed into a somewhat self-sufficient human (sometime after he turned four), I breathed a sigh of neurotic relief. He could pick up after himself, entertain himself for a good length of time, get his own snack/drink, and still took 2-3 hour naps during the day. This made it easy to schedule my day and execute my plans. Not only that, but his Dad and I share custody, so I had every other weekend to catch up on anything major, or accomplish a time consuming task with no interruption. I even had a social life (!)
Grayson turned five and soon after that I got pregnant again. The thought of starting over terrified me. I forgot all things baby. I couldn’t remember when they are supposed to roll over for the first time, how high of a fever is too high, what poop is supposed to look like or the right way for baby to latch. I had to self-teach a nine month refresher course. Besides feeling like a brand new mom in the knowledge department, I kind of liked the luxuries of sleeping in and having nights out. I was accustomed to smooth sailing for the last couple of years.
Then, Charlie was born. Oh, sweet Charlie. My itty bitty beautiful daughter that forces me, daily, to settle on Type B life. I can deal with little sleep. I’m not bothered by crying babies. The hardest part for me is watching everything else get further and further behind.
One thing I have learned about how to avoid disappointment is to lower your expectations. I have a tendency to write some pretty impressive “To Do” lists on a pretty notepad with my fancy micron pen and convince myself that I will be crossing them all off my 2pm. And then (in my mind), I will pick up Grayson from the bus stop and we will enjoy a lovely afternoon of Pinterest activities and bonding. Then, I will make a balanced meal for the four of us to share as a family. Everyone will get to bed on time with nothing out of place in the house.
I am quite aware that this is unrealistic and not many moms can accomplish this. It still bugs me that I can’t make it happen. It has been a hard pill to swallow that I can’t get it all done. Actually, most days, I can’t get much done at all aside from keeping the children fed and alive.
A few weeks ago, it was a typical chaotic day where I felt I had accomplished nothing and that I hadn’t done enough around the house to be WonderWife. My husband works so hard for us and is truly the most wonderful man on the planet and I beat myself up while wishing I was better. He always tells me I’m enough, and I never listen. Or agree. But then one day, this exchange happened.
For some reason, it clicked. He truly doesn’t care if he eats grilled cheese for dinner. He doesn’t care if he has to dig his jeans out of a pile of unfolded laundry. He knows how hard it is to manage it all and he adores me. I’m my own worst enemy.
What I have to do is keep my list short and realistic. I have to celebrate small victories. I even started writing the tiniest things on my list just so I can mark them off. “Brush Teeth”. “Take Shower”. “Take Vitamins.” I have to recognize which things are the most critical and let the others roll over to the next day (or month). I’m slowly learning what those are and what my new normal is. It’s a constant battle to relish in a solitary moment and not wish I was doing 100 things at the same time, but I’m learning.
It’s 9am and I haven’t done anything except drink my tepid coffee and sit here next to my napping baby who RARELY sleeps anywhere but on a person. I’m touching the keys on the computer ever so slightly in an effort to sustain this magical moment. I could probably be using this time to wash dishes or fold laundry, but at the moment, I need to sit here and enjoy the stillness.
*checks the box next to ‘have a moment of silent sanity’ off the list*
Kris (The Bitching Ninja)December 8, 2015 at 6:47 pm
I think this was one of the hardest things to accept. Small victories. I think it also has a lot to do with why I’m not totally wrecked each month I’m not successfully pregnant. I like sleeping in/going to bed late. I still get woken a few times a night but sometimes I can get away with just “go back to bed”… Can’t do that with a baby. I really, really want another one but I do worry about all new baby needs. And baby proofing… Now I can leave sharp scissors down and matches and the door unlatched to the busy street without worrying… :-/
April E.December 9, 2015 at 10:26 pm
What an excellent post! I can SO relate, and I’m sure many, many others can as well! You’re a fantastic writer- keep up the great work, mama!