Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Confessions and Change


Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.
~Vivian Greene


I need to confess to some things. To being a worrywort and a negative nancy.

I need to confess that I am often overwhelmed these days, often wonder how any one ever gets anything done or has time for everything.

I confess to knowing that most of this overwhelm is of my own making.

I confess to knowing I should channel my Spirit Animal (Bill Murray) and just relax and go with the flow, but oh boy, is that hard when it's not just all about you. When there's a little, a husband, a menagerie of critters and a house that you care deeply about.

My days fly by. I feel like I wake up and blink and it's after noon. I haven't showered or remembered to feed myself. I blink again and it's 6pm; time for dinner and maybe a walk around the block. I blink once more and it's bed time. My day flies by in a haze of diaper changes, hurriedly stuffing whatever is handy in to my stomach, playing with my baby, trying to wrangle Luna outside to go to the bathroom, spit up, trying to make nap times happen and sleep. When nap time DOES happen, I spend it cleaning, eating or showering off the perfume of spit up and breast milk. I stress and I worry and I feel so strung out.

And I know it's my own doing. But the worrying has me trapped. As do my exceedingly high standards that I impose upon myself and the old school woman as martyr complex that's been so deeply ingrained in me that I didn't even realize it was there until I was married and didn't realize how BAD it was until I was a mom. If, at the end of the day I haven't spent 90% of his waking time talking or playing with Orion, taken Luna out every single time she rings the bell on the door (50% of which are NOT because she actually needs to potty), made dinner and did all the cleaning on the to do list in my head and had meaningful time with Joe... I feel like a total fucking failure. Like I'm letting everyone down. Like I'm not cut out for this.

But, I'm trying to change this thought pattern. I'm trying to believe my husband when he says I put too much on my plate and that my value doesn't rest in those things. That at the end of every day, even one with take out, leaves on the carpet and vomit stains all over my shirt - every one still loves me. And that I need to take time for myself. WITHOUT guilt.

Which is harder for me than all the rest, because taking time out to paint, nap, whatever takes time away from those other things. Writing this right now, Orion is sitting in his swing and I'm having extreme guilt that I haven't interacted with him in 10 minutes. Like I'm a selfish asshole who needs to get off the computer and talk to my child and interact with him so he develops properly.

And that, I think, is my biggest worry of all. Will he develop properly? If I spend too much time wearing him, hugging him, sitting outside with him, letting him happily swing or lay on his back on his play mat how the hell is he ever going to learn how to roll over, sit up, crawl or anything? How much is too much? How much tummy time does he need? If we lay in the hammock and he's tummy down, does that count? I've thought about the projects I can drag in to the living room to work on while he plays, scrapbooking, crochet, embroidery, my sketchbook... but I feel like that makes me an inattentive shit, even if I still talk to him and tend to him as he needs me too. Even if it's just half an hour.

And am I fucking him up by not having a set in stone schedule>? Because I don't. I go out when I want or need to, to go to the store or the library or the park, or to watch an evening concert. I don't live around naptimes because he doesn't have set ones. If we're home and he gets yawny, I put him down to nap. If we're out and he gets tired, we snuggle him up or wear him and he sleeps on us. But so many moms talk about living around naps, that it has my worrywort self, well, worried. We stay out until 9pm or later on occasion, but we're trying to have bedtime be between 8 and 9. Are we shitty parents?

It's time I knock this shit off and stop beating myself half to death at the end of each day. I decided not to read baby books or sites because they'd stress me out, so instead I'm stressing myself out. I don't need to spend my days sitting on the living room floor while he plays and I don't need to sweat it if we're outside swinging in the hammock or out late listening to music and we miss tummy time. And I certainly don't need to kill myself over having a spotless house, beautiful gardens, scratch made dinner and a perfectly outdated idea of what a stay at home mom or housewife is supposed to do. Some days there will be leaves on the floor, baskets of unfolded laundry and pizza for dinner. I need to learn to be ok with that.

I need to quit being so negative and hard on myself. To let go of guilt and worry and this fucking martyr complex that tells me that crocheting while my son plays by himself makes me a shit mom. I need to let go, channel Bill Murray and relax.

I know all of these things, deep down inside of me, but it's so hard for me to embrace them. But, I want to. And I have to.

It's going to take work, but dammit. I'm ready.

6 comments:

  1. Don't be so hard on yourself. Beating yourself up over beating yourself up over not being perfect (nobody is) is a dead end. You just became a mother. If you feel overwhelmed, ask for help - from your parents, friends, siblings, neighbors. It's not worth going crazy.

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  2. As an olde broad....my perspective covers all the above conditions in my own life and then the return of children with the grands. If I were give advice I would say, cut yourself some slack. Shelley and the grands got grown up and they were all anti schedule children. I found myself again the day Ms. Shelley started kindergarten, and when it happens for you, you will know it. Until then......being old allows me to say....dishes and sweeping and gardening will all be there forever but Mr. Orion will be grown before you turn around and have time for a luxury shower. Don't blink darling......he's the star of the show right now. xoxo Oma Linda

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  3. I hear you! Hate that martyr stuff...I was you, now my kids are grown and now I sit an waste days, wondering " who am I? " " what the hell do I do now?"
    While your full of energe, blessings to the old waYs, but this is your life!
    Stop! Don't pass this on! ....kids do like schedule( believe it or not) so plan a balanced day....I know, I'm still paralyzed, but helping others is productive right?
    Huge Canadian Hugs! xoDebi

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  4. Do what I do, tell everyone you're a shitty housekeeper, try to do the essentials, and do the things that make you feel good. Do what works for you. I can't tell how many times people said 'Oh that's the worst thing to do!' to me, you know what, eff them! Figure out how you can live your life and keep your sanity intact. It's all still new, you'll get the hang of things, learn the things that you can let go, learn that putting your kid in front of a tv for 20 minutes so you can get stuff done doesn't mean your a bad person. When D was very little I felt like I had to spend every waking minute playing with him... until I figured out that I could plonk him in a safe place while I got my crap done and didn't need to feel guilty about it. P.S. I found baskets really helpful... I know that sounds weird but just being able to scoop up the mess, toss it in a big basket and shove it in a corner so the house wasn't a complete disaster made me feel better. P.P.S. Pizza is the food of the gods and you should never, ever feel guilty about serving it.

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  5. You got it right with your intentions in this post, we all feel incompetent sometimes but you sound like you're doing great, its so busy and tiring being a new mum. I read somewhere plan for 3 jobs a day and don't beat yourself up if you can't manage that. I reakon thats about right, and that counts anything not just the things we tell ourselves are proper 'things' or 'jobs'. I've heard of a book called something like 'what mother do, even when it seems like nothing'. I haven't read it but the title sounds about right! Our days are so full but we beat ourselves up thinking we've done nothing, so not true we just don't notice all the things that make up our busy day. All good things to you and yours.

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  6. It is often quite weird when you randomly surf the web in the early hours of the morning, because your six week old is a night owl, that you come across someone in a parallel universe. Your post, as I read was therapeutic for you and for me as well. Your willingness to be open about your worries and new mommy guilt has shown me that we as mothers are never within our own experience but a shared experience and thanks to the web we are able to vent and get support. This post has given me life and a new outlook on being a new mother. Again, thank you for sharing. Blessed be.

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