June 11, 2013

rough day

I had a rough day on Sunday. Alden did too. Alden's rough day probably had a lot to do with mine, but still...rough.

I've never been a big fan of Sundays. Most of the time I spend the day trying to catch up on all the things I wanted to accomplish the previous week but didn't have time for while living under the cloud of the work week starting up again. Generally, I'm just a little annoyed on Sundays. The past couple of weekends were great, though. I had escaped the Sunday curse and we had had relaxing but productive weekends. That is, until last weekend :/

I had my first experience of being "Mommy-ed Out". I didn't even realize it was happening until I was so far under that I felt overwhelmed. I had a week where I felt a lot like Mama and nothing like Laura. I'm an independent woman that needs some solitary time and some "brain food" every day to keep me sane. If I don't get some time to myself (whether it be a shower, some quiet reading time before bed or time in the garden) every day, I get overstimulated and end up in a bad mood. If I don't have something to stimulate my mind every day (keeping up with current events, reading articles, learning something new), I get restless and irritable and mopey. These are not good mental states to be in, so I try to make sure I do some of the things I enjoy every day. It's better for me and it's better for my family.

Last week was OK but by the time the weekend came around, I was already exhausted. I had been feeling kind of crappy all week (allergies, I think), had been struggling with work-life-mommy balance, and was just ready to have a nice weekend. We started off great: Saturday morning we slept in a little, went to the farmer's market, Trader Joe's and the library, had a nice lunch at home while Alden napped and I got a little cleaning done. Since we had had such a great Saturday, we decided to try and replicate the "rhythm" of Saturday on Sunday- we did our weekly grocery shopping and some errands in the morning, were home for lunch and tried to get Alden to sleep. He didn't want to nap, his teeth were bothering him and all he wanted was to be cuddled or to be nursing (note below).

*Note: since I'm breastfeeding and since I'm reluctant (to say the least) about giving bottles at home, I am the primary food-giver for Alden. This is a choice that I made and I wouldn't have it any other way...but it makes things difficult sometimes and I'm still learning how to keep everything running smoothly all the time when I have such a huge inflexible time commitment to the baby.

It also didn't help that I felt like the house was a mess (which drives me crazy), I hadn't had a chance to sit and relax by myself at all (something I really need to be able to do to keep my sanity), and all of the things Nick wanted to get done were outside chores. Because most of the weekend chores that Nick takes on are related to outside (mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, last weekend he took apart, cleaned, and put back together an air conditioner unit for our garage, etc.), it means that by default, I'm inside with the baby. But, my chores don't disappear so I end up trying to get my stuff done (laundry, dishes, organizing, general tidying, etc.) while also watching Alden. Normally, it works out fine. Alden will take a nap giving me enough time to get some laundry started, run the dishwasher, get bottles cleaned and tidy up in the living areas and Nick can be out in the yard while we're getting everything done inside. On days like Sunday when Alden is fussy, not willing to nap, clingy and moody, it makes for a pretty miserable afternoon.

*I would also like to interject here that: 1) the "chores" I'm talking about are not, in any way, assigned to either of us. They are just the tasks that each of us naturally gravitates towards and so they are divvied up in the way that it works best for our family. we are not, even though it may sound like it, a "man chore" and "woman chore" type of household and, 2) I am not trying to whine, vent or complain about my husband. We've already talked about all of this and I'm writing this post more as a reminder to myself of how to better balance the challenges of being a Mommy in the future. (My husband rocks. He cooks, cleans, changes diapers and does anything else I need him to do. He is amazing, for the record.)

All in all, I spent most of the day feeling trapped doing activities that were stressful with a baby that was hurting and miserable. I found myself quietly telling myself, "Remember, in a few hours, everything will be fine and Alden will look at me with a smile on his face and squeal with delight during one of our games and I won't care that this is miserable right now." Even so, there are times when you know, with your brain, that everything is OK but you still feel, with your heart, that things are horrible and they will never get better. This is the place I was at.

Enter my hero of a husband who said, "I'm not going to mow today. The grass isn't that long and I can do it one afternoon this week." That's all it took for me to calm down and feel like life was manageable again. Just that one thing. Apparently, knowing that he was going to be inside to help me out and give me some time to get some stuff done without a baby in my arms was the only thing I needed. Alden calmed down, Nick played with him in his room for a while and by the time the baby (finally) fell asleep and napped, we had decided to blow off cooking for the night and Nick ran out to pick up some dinner. While he was gone I mixed up a batch of lactation cookies and they were happily roasting away in the oven when he returned. We ate a quiet dinner while Alden slept and by the time he woke up, I were rested and ready to be a Mommy again.

Lesson learned: ask for help. before I get so overwhelmed that I feel lousy and horrible. Asking for help doesn't make me a bad Mom, it makes me an efficient one ;)

this makes it all better :) 

much love, L&N

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