Friday, December 14, 2018

Is it supposed to be this hard?


I was ready to go to bed at 8pm. I hadn't been feeling great the past few days, a deep exhaustion had been creeping into my bones. I  decided to start a load of laundry before bed. Then I worked for a bit on budgeting. Then Caleb and I talked about some things we'd needed to discuss for a while. Suddenly it was 10:45 and I still hadn't gotten ready for bed. I'd been asleep for all of twenty minutes when the baby awoke.

I moaned and got up when it was clear he was not going back to sleep. He is usually pretty easy to put back down, but something was bugging him tonight. He would fall asleep, and then wake up and scream. We troubleshot. These were new jammies, we put the old ones on. A new diaper with fresh diaper cream. Finally, I strapped him into the baby carrier and bounced, on the exercise ball and then standing. I paced and he started to fall asleep.

I emerged successful at 1:15am, a mere 5 hours after I had wanted to go to bed. By this point, I was hungry, so I made myself toast and eggs and wondered if I should just stay awake and do stuff.

"Is it this hard for everyone?" I wonder. I feel like we have no space in our life for anything besides the getting through it. I wonder about how any parent I have ever seen in my life with a baby has space to engage or be social. When our week or weekend is off by even a tiny bit, I suffer.

I saw a parenting article earlier this week that I did not click on called "You're not doing it wrong, it's just that hard." The title gives me comfort.

Later in the week... 

It seems important to document what happened today. It was Samuel's one year check up. I was wrought with anxiety for weeks. I was certain that his (normally very kind) pediatrician was going to chastise us. Here are the faults I was certain were worthy of chastisement:
Now that he is over one, he should no longer be using a pacifier or drinking formula.
Now that he has eight teeth, we should be brushing his teeth every day as part of our routine. 

That stuff didn't even come up. Well, formula did - but only that he can continue it until he drops the feeding. We don't need to try and replace it. 

This is what parenting is like now. You do everything you're supposed to be doing, and still lose sleep that it isn't good enough.

I reflect also on gender. Caleb shares a lot of my worries, but not all of them. Why? What is it about motherhood in particular that makes one scrutinize every move and every decision?

In the coming months, it gets easier. The baby starts to sleep through the night. Our final can of formula sits partially empty on top of the fridge for months, until one December day, I throw it out. I still sometimes struggle to go to bed early sometimes, but we have a little more space to see friends. Caleb takes on a home improvement project. Maybe it's just the first year that's so hard? 

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