Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Juggling Act...

Well, I got my first taste today of what it is like to be a working mom. I had to go into work today to do some curriculum writing with my colleagues. At first I was dreading going, more so because I am absolutely exhausted, and was not quite sure how I was going to function.

What I hated:
D was still sleeping when I left. As he was precariously sleeping on R on the glider in the nursery, I only gave him a light kiss on the head. Seeing my two boys sitting there tugged at the old heart strings and made me want to say "screw it" and stay home with my new little family. I hate that I was not there when he got up. I hate that I did not get to play with him at all in the morning.

I felt really guilty leaving R "on duty" for most of the day. That sounds so silly as R is more than capable and willing and is such a great dad... but I could not shake the guilt. Now, when R goes back to school in September, I will be on duty all the time until I go back in October... but , I don't know... this just made me feel guilty for some reason.

Being away from my boy all day. It was so weird. This little creature only really came into my life a mere 4 weeks ago... but, it is hard to remember a time when he was not here and the center of the universe!

R went to MIL's house to catch a nap, which was good as it gave MIL some alone time with D. They were there when I was leaving work, so MIL encouraged me to go home and rest for a bit. I did go home rather than stop by there, just so that I could get things prepared for the night and do the little work I needed to do for tomorrow ( Ihave to go to work again). I HATED how quiet the house was! When D and R finally came home, I was waiting at the door like a puppy!

What I loved:

Honestly, getting out of the house. I am not going to lie, being tied to the house for so many hours a day can get a bit maddening. Our Pedi is pretty old school and does not want D in public places until he has had his month shots, so that really limits our outings Also, with poor D's tummy troubles affecting his temperament , I am not really confident enough yet to venture far anyway.

Thinking about something other than baby "stuff". I really love my job. I love teaching. We have taken on an initiative where we are really overhauling the curriculum, and it felt great to take on a different type of challenge today . I love my co- workers and it was great to see them.

Feeling confident. I will readily admit that when it comes to D and being a mom, most moments I don't know what the Hell I am doing. It is all a series of trial and error. Sure, some things have gotten easier, but I am 36 years old and pretty established in my life. I am not used to feeling so lost. It has been quite the humbling experience to admit that I am completely clueless and that I have so much to learn. It was nice to be in a place where I felt like I "knew what I was doing."

But, the getting to work today was quite the juggling act. I can only imagine how hard it is going to be when both R and I are back to work. But emotionally, it was really a juggling act. How do you do it all? How do you have a career and still be a great mom? I was exhausted by the time the evening rolled around. I do not want to be "that parent" who has no energy for her kid at the end of the day... so how will I do it? How will I maintain balance? How will I get my schoolwork done in the evening as I always have take home work? How will R and I find time together? How will I carve out a few moments for myself?

I don't know... I don't know if there are even any answers to these questions. I also suspect I am not the only one asking them. How do you keep all of the balls in the air?, so to speak...


Sunday, August 1, 2010


I think underestimating is probably my new favorite word. Or, at the very least , it is what I have been doing the most of over the course of the last few weeks.

I am not sure if every new mom feels this way, or that after suffering from years of infertility, I romanticized the idea of pregnancy and motherhood so much, that when things got bumpy, I was wholly unprepared. I felt this way when saddled with hyperemesis. I am feeling this way now as I am finding my way as a new mom.

When D first came home from the hospital, he was a happy, sleepy boy ( as I suspect most newborns are). We were home for exactly 5 days until all hell broke loose. It was a Friday ( which we still refer to as "that Friday" as we shudder in remembrance) We had been at MIL's house. We got home, D woke up in his car seat. It was 7:00. He started crying , nope scratch that, he started SCREAMING, and he did not stop until 2:30 Saturday morning. We tried everything. EVERYTHING. This type of screaming went on for the next several days. Even though my baby was a mere week old, I knew these were screams of pain. In that moment I also knew that I had completely underestimated just how hard motherhood really is. He would cry and I would cry. To see my boy in pain brought me the worst pain I have ever known. By Tuesday, we were off to the pediatrician. We added Mylicon, reflux meds, and made a switch to soy. These changes seem to be helping a bit, but now D is constipated, so I fear another switch may be in the future. I long so very much to just make things right and comfortable for him. I suspect this is the first of many times that I will wish that I could take on his pain for him.

I am no stranger to having "extra" hormones running through my body. I have shot up with so much "stuff" over the years that I thought I would be able to better handle the post-partum hormonal phase. Truth be told, as I battled some depression during my pregnancy ( due to being so sick) I was a little nervous about PPD, but again, I completely underestimated the range of emotions I would feel. After about three days, I started to get a bit weepy, but what I did not expect was the gripping anxiety I would feel. Now, I am a worrier by nature, I am anal, I am a planner and admittedly I get uptight when things do not go according to plan. However, I have never been an anxious person, and oh my, I became riddled with it. I think I went over a week and a half with out ever really sleeping. I could not eat, I could not sit still, being in the house and hearing D cry made me anxious, leaving for a little while made me even more so. There were points when I truly felt as if a 100 pound weight was sitting on my chest; I simply could not breathe. I am still terribly anxious, but it is not nearly as severe as it had been. To say I felt like I had been blind-sided is a huge understatement.

This next thought may seem awful, but did not expect to have fleeting moments of missing my old life. Infertility, and the pain associated with it aside, R and I have led a pretty charmed life. We are pretty financially stable, we are both teachers used to having our summers off where we would vacation, float around the pool and have cocktails pool-side when we felt like it. There were many lazy summer afternoon naps in the shade, dinners out, and if I had the urge to treat myself to a pedicure, well... I just went and got one. Now, don't get me wrong. I would not trade motherhood for anything in the world. NEVER. I just did not expect to even momentarily feel like I was missing out. Come to find out, in many conversations with friends, pretty much everyone has had those moments of "what the hell did we do to our life?" It just seems that no one ever talks about it. Well, I am talking about it and it makes me feel guilty as hell, but it is the truth.

My final underestimation is love. And using the word love in itself is an underestimation. We all love our children- that I was prepared for. But what I feel for D when I peer over him as he peacefully sleeps in his crib, or when he looks up at my face while I am feeding him, or I pick him up and he turns his head to the sound of my voice- love is just a fraction of what I feel. When I see my husband rock , sing, and read to our boy, what I feel towards my husband and our new family- love does not even begin to cut it. I did not expect to feel such powerful, all encompassing emotions. My two men- one big and one very small truly mean everything to me.