Leaving the fascinating quandaries of childcare for a moment, I'll write about where I'm at personally. I get a little break on Sundays. A few hours. I waste some of it doing a torturing class at the gym, ascertaining that my body still doesn't look the way I'd like it to look, and my physical strength is a fraction of what it used to be. The instructor is at count 8 and I'm still at 5. I'm slow in all things, including doing pliés. But I keep at it, because I need my body for the long haul, you know, if I don't die of cancer before I die of old age.
If you are struggling in the trenches of IF, this post may be awful to read. You may hate me. I have warned you, so please stop reading. But, if you are in the trenches of IF and you need an account of what it's like on the other side, minus the unicorns and rainbows, then read on.
I love my baby. I love being a mom. There is nothing like getting Gummy Girl in the morning and seeing her excited little face when I appear above her crib. I feel like a teenage heartthrob. I like taking care of her. I like thinking about her care constantly and deeply. To think about what she needs, how I can meet her needs, and how to minimize my own issues getting in the way of meeting her needs.
I must admit, though, that it sometimes feels all consuming. And that can be uncomfortable.
I must pause here to say that even writing that it is uncomfortable IS uncomfortable. Complaining about my life with baby post years of heart-shredding infertility seems absurd. Yeah, you can hate me now. Or at least, I'm pretty sure I hate myself for it. It seems so hard to let those two realities sit together. 1) I longed, waited and worked so hard for this baby. 2) I am sometimes unhappy in my role of mother.
I try to chalk this all up to adjusting. Which is fair enough. Every woman (and probably every man) who becomes a mother has to wrestle with a big shift in her identity. Who am I now that I change diapers, mix formula, sing the itsy-bitsy spider, run to the crib when I hear her cry, walk around town with a stroller for a living (thank you government of Canada for paying me to do so)?
Lately, I've been feeling like I've gone missing.
I don't really know what that makes me, but I'm afraid it might mean that my mother's deep-seated narcism was contagious.
There is a healthy part of me that chimes in, not too loudly, but says that it's ok. My gummy girl is still so little and needs me so much, and that I've gone from entirely looking after myself to looking after this precious daughter almost exclusively. I mean, I do the things to keep myself going at least on a basic level. I brush my hair, people. I even wash it sometimes.
But I've not figured out how to carve out some good time for me. Mr. A tries to give me some time to myself and that is appreciated. But it's not a lot (and that's ok. I'll take what I can get), and it is often unpredictable. But it's probably more than many of you or my Pleasantville mom friends get.
I am very good at keeping us busy and structuring the days for her and for me. We have yoga on Tuesday, swimming on Wednesday, and music on Thursday. There is a hike with my moms' group on Friday, and on Mondays, I sometimes go to the drop in at the Early Years Centre.
There are rhythms to the day. Ups and downs. Naps. Feedings. Floor time. Meal time. Daddy coming home time. And bed time.
And at the end of the day, there is time for me, and what I usually do with it is wasteful. I watch tv series. Instead of writing. Instead of reading for pleasure or doing professional reading. Instead of trying to connect meaningfully by writing emails. Instead of cleaning the house. Our very filthy house.
It seems like when there is a moment to look for myself, I don't. I just eat more chocolate. Scroll on the twitter feed.
And I feel angry a lot, which can be scary. Is she ever going to feel like I resent her? Because I don't resent her. I love her. But I also have to find a way to make room for my non-mother self. So that I don't ever resent her. And because I will die someday. And I have to make this life count. That's all I can do with these mere 80 years, if I'm lucky.
Mr. A gets the brunt of my anger. Unfortunately. He forgot to take the Brussels sprouts out of the oven while I was putting Gummy to bed last night and I was livid. I wanted roasted Brussels sprouts, not burnt Brussels sprouts. Is it too much to ask? You know you're in trouble when those words start coming to your mind. At least I didn't say them out loud, but I might as well have, since I was visibly upset.
I wish I could wrap up this post with a satin bow by outlining the steps I will take to find myself again. But I'm slow (still on count 5), and I haven't come up with any yet. I have a few inchoate ideas of things I could look at. I think picking up my gratitude journal could help. And trying to get to yoga (a non-baby class) might help. And getting to the other side of harvest season will help, when Mr. A has more time on his hands and I can schedule time for myself every week. And finding a way to write a little bit every day. But that might be too ambitious.
Anyways, thank you for reading and letting me work this out. And please share if you will in the comments if you've also had these similar feelings and what helped you.