Okay, this isn’t really a musical. But I find that musicals tend to take unsavory topics and make them more palatable for the masses, such as the French Revolution (Les Miseralles) or orphans (Oliver!)
Two months ago, I feel like I just returned from this life-changing journey, and life isn’t the same, but no one else gets it but me. And I’m told to just keep on with business as usual, but everything is so much harder and just not the same. I have no idea where my time goes, but there’s never enough of it. Sadie is a wonderful sleeper and I’m getting a good 7-8 hours a night, but I’m exhausted all the time anyway. My place is always a mess, the project at work I was a part of since I started with my company is going live and I’m missing it since I can’t travel to Pittsburgh, and it feels like everyone in my family keeps reminding me that I’m not giving them enough attention. Oh, and the scale is still hanging around the same weight as I left the hospital at, but I can barely make it to the gym more than once a week and I have one pair of pants that fit me that aren’t sweat pants. And they’re the pair I bought when I got home and realized I couldn’t fit into any of the pants I already own, and they’re two sizes bigger than what I wore before.
While being overwhelmed by all this, I feel constantly judged by everyone. Since I am the only one out of all my friends to have had a kid, let alone two, I feel like the odd man out most of the time. No one I talk to can really relate to me. I can never make it on time to appointments since I have to wrangle two kids on my way out the door. I mean, how hard is it to get ready to go just a few minutes early to ensure I can keep my commitments? Seriously! And all I seem to talk about is poop and spit up and stupid stories about kids doing mundane stuff for the first time. “He put his shirt on all by himself! Big woop!” “She smiled at me. Then she grunted and filled her diaper.” Real people don’t care about that crap. So when I hang out with friends, I can never find anything to really talk about and usually end up excusing myself to “go check on the baby,” but really to get out of the awkward small talk that’s going nowhere.
And then if I do get a rare opportunity to talk to another mom, suddenly I get this overwhelming competitive urge to “out-mom” her. It’s like I need to take out some reassurance that I’m normal and doing a good job, so I need to make sure that whatever subject or story she shares with me, I’ve got one about how I’ve experienced or done it different or better. And I know EVERYTHING, and I’ve always been there already. It totally takes all the fun out of the conversation, but I can’t help it. It’s horrible.
Overwhelmingly, the worst is the shame. The shame that I’m not enough, I’m not doing enough, I’m not figuring it all out quickly enough, I’m not giving enough, but I’m not taking enough either. Making sure I take care of everything, but make sure you take care of yourself, too! What the hell does that even mean? Okay, so I take some time for “me.” Now I come back and everything is in even more shambles because I was “out” for half an hour, usually doing something really soul-replenishing like making a Target run alone. It’s like fearing to take vacation because you’ll just come back to twice as much work as before. And when you’re already drowning in work, that just doesn’t seem worth it. My family and friends love me dearly and try so hard to help out. They pitch in on chores, take one or both of the kids for a couple hours, remind me to go to bed or go to the gym when I start spinning in circles with being overwhelmed. I have so much support and help, but at the end of the day when everyone else has retreated back to their normal lives, I’m back to watching the clock run out on mine, still wondering what just happened, feeling like everything is one step forward, two steps back.
So I tell myself that this is all normal, that I need to give myself time and patience. Then I feel the panic of all this time, my life slipping away while I sit here and do nothing. I put together lists and goals and to-dos. Then all I feel like doing is holding Sadie in the rocking chair, cuddling her and enjoying all of her baby cuteness, because I know that all too soon she’ll be as old as Squish is now, and I’ll be wondering where did my baby go. Because this really is all temporary, and tomorrow is something different. We’ll lose but we’ll gain, too.
Screw all the haters, including the ones in my own head, who don’t like the fact that I’m just sitting here in my rocking chair holding a sleeping baby in my baggy mom jeans with dirty dishes surrounding me and my work inbox piling up while watching my three year old going on about four hours watching Netflix on the iPad because it’s easier than actually parenting him. This is all I need to be right now. There will come a time where I can train for half marathons again, where I can focus on eating healthy and kicking ass at work. But I know that would be a life void of baby smiles and coos, with no more Squish asking for another bedtime story or for me to hold his hand when we go outside. I’ll be able to go out for drinks with friends on a Saturday night when I don’t have a small little girl at home waiting for me to rock her to sleep, or a little boy who wants me to play with the yellow train because he likes the red train best. Hell, laundry will get done when there are no more clean underpants in the house, the way it should be, the way the good lord intended I suspect. The haters can hate. I’m going to see the awesomeness in the life I have now.