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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shrug it off

There were a few days last week (Dan might say more than a few) when I was just, I don’t know… tired. Cranky. Sullen. Last week was just one of those weeks when I found it hard to cope with the drudgery of everyday life. I was worn down, glassy-eyed. Blank. I don’t know what was wrong with me, really it was nothing. It was a regular week, but for some unknown reason I was not of the frame of mind where I could just shrug stuff off.

Sometimes life just feels overwhelming. Our house is almost always a DISASTER. I’m not exaggerating. It is overwhelming. And I hate it, but I just can’t seem to dig myself out of the clutter, the dust, the piles of laundry, the dog hair. So I ignore it. I try to brush it off, tell myself that it’s not a big deal. But it sort of is a big deal, because when it gets that bad, I can’t relax. I tell myself that I’ll tackle one thing on the list when Gus goes down for a nap, but then, somehow, I waste away the majority of his nap emptying the dishwasher, wiping down the counters, organizing the mail. I still never get to the actual cleaning… the stuff beyond the everyday load of laundry, the sink full of dishes.

Speaking of Gus. The everyday mom stuff can be hard if you’re not able to get into the “shrug it off” mode. And last week that just wasn’t happening. I had a meeting one night that I had to go to right from work. I was feeling ok about it, actually feeling like it might be nice to have a day where I wasn’t rushing home to help get dinner on the table, struggling to get Gus to eat something, doing dishes, squeezing in some fun time with the boy, then onward to the bedtime/bath routine, getting his bag packed for the next day, vegging out in front of the TV for an hour with a glass of wine before going to bed by 10:30, only to be woken up by crying on the baby monitor within twenty minutes of my head hitting the pillow.

So yeah, I thought it might be a sort of nice break to not have to rush home for all that. I met Lisa for coffee, after which we headed to the meeting where I got to talk “business” with adults over a nice meal. But then the meeting went a bit late, and I felt guilty. I needed to get home. At nine I was finally home, and I immediately snuck upstairs and peeked into Gus’s room to find Dan rocking and singing to a little toddler who did not look like he was cooperating with this whole “bedtime” thing. So I took my boy and nursed him and a half hour later he was asleep in his crib. By that time, Dan was almost through with dishes and putting together everything for the next day, and instead of feeling relieved, I felt guilty.

Guilty for not being there to help out. Guilty for having spent absolutely no time with my kid the whole day. Guilty for being pretty much the only one who can (relatively) easily get my son down at night. Guilty that Gus went to bed so late and because the next day was Thursday, he would have to be woken up at 6:00 AM so Dan could drop him off at his parents. And then guilty for still just being super exhausted and worn down, despite a night off.

I don’t know, I just couldn’t seem to shrug anything off last week. I mean Dan had just spent the evening doing day-care pickup/dinner/bath/stories/bedtime all by his lonesome, but I was the one that got all cranky about it. From the guilt! Ridiculous.

It’s so easy to let the little stuff get to you. I’m always worried about how much sleep Gus gets, because the “experts” all seem to say he should get more, but he just doesn’t nap very well for other people, and he’s at three different places each week, making a routine really hard to come by. Some mornings when I’m getting up for work it is impossible to get him from our bed to his crib without him waking up. So on those days, he’s up at 6:00.

And then I stress even more because I’m dropping him off somewhere where he will probably not get much more than an hour’s nap throughout the day. And then if that’s the case he’s a crankfest when Dan picks him up. So he has to decide to either a.) put him down for a nap at 4:30 PM, meaning bedtime is inevitably pushed out to 9:00 and thus perpetuate the cycle of not getting enough sleep, or b.) keep a tired and weary little boy content enough to make it through dinnertime and a bath, then it’s bed by 7:00 – one whole hour after I get home from work.

One guess as to how many mornings I was able to successfully transfer Gus from our bed to his crib last week. Zilch. Nada. None.

Good news though, we’ve started out this week much better than last. Gus slept until 7:00 this morning, at which point I actually had to wake him up to get him dressed and ready to go to Jasmine’s. And then at Jasmine’s, instead of sobbing when I said goodbye like he has the last few Tuesdays, he smiled at me from her hip and looked excited to run around and terrorize the rest of her household. Thank goodness, because my heart just can’t take those tearful goodbyes.

I made a much needed hard-core trip to the grocery store this weekend, so the refrigerator and pantry are stocked, making week-night dinnertime much less stressful. And the cherry on top of that sundae is that I made a big batch of chili this weekend so we already have one dinner ready to go! Leftovers are awesome.

Also, I vacuumed the whole main floor yesterday, and Dan (is awesome) hung some hooks in our living room/dining room that I bought a few weeks ago. So there is finally a place to store and hang our coats/bags/miscellaneous items that usually end up on the backs of our dining room chairs.

At my ECFE class yesterday the instructor totally blew my mind during our talk about toddler eating. I stress out a lot about how much Gus is eating, because not only is he becoming so much pickier than he used to be, but he also seems to be eating so much less. I’ve tried to stay zen about the whole thing, I know that at this age he’s not growing as rapidly as he was in the first year of his life, and he doesn’t really need as much food as I think he does. But who am I kidding, I’m an obsessive first-time mom.

Anyway, my instructor is awesome, love her, and she showed us actual visual representations of the portion sizes a 12-18 month-old should get. One serving of cheese, for example, is a pair of dice. A PAIR OF DICE! Um yeah… so it’s probably a good thing, rather than bad, that Gus is no longer eating whole sticks of cheese in one sitting, and I need to calm down. As for grains/carbs, (i.e. pasta/waffles) a toddler’s portion size is about the size of two dominoes. Like for reals.

Consider my mind BLOWN.

And finally, last night we had one of those nights where Dan and I both kept prolonging bedtime for Gus, not because we were dreading it or feeling super worn out, but because he was just being so sweet and wonderful and hilarious and adorable. He was starting to get to that point of the night where we were crossing over into over-tiredness, but he just had us in stitches, chasing a spinning bowl around the dining room, uncontrollable giggling, I just didn’t want to say goodnight to him. He was just too much, makes us so happy.

So anyway, here is to a good week! Not like last week was even that bad, I made it through, even if I felt a bit like a zombie at times. Really, I should say, “Here’s to shrugging it off!” because that seems to be the moral of the story.

8 comments:

Betsy said...

Oh my goodness...I have those weeks too where I'm just feeling blah and overwhelmed. I cant' keep up with my cleaning and I'm home ALL THE TIME! I must say I don't have any guilt letting Andy deal with Isla on nights when I'm with my trainer, or decide to go out with my friends. I neeeeeed those nights so I can come back to Isla refreshed and happy to be home. Andy and I each get a night off each week...it helps us stay sane :)

Um, those portion sizes are tiny! I had no idea! That makes me feel tons better about Isla's lack of eating.

I'm glad this week is better! I hope next week is just as great :)

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna have to agree with Betsy here...my house is always a STYE...and I don't work outside of the home..my main problem is spending too much time on the net...can you say GUILT! I think you and Dan are doing a super job with Gus...he is about as adorable as any toddler I have ever seen! Don't worry about the eating thing...I never worried as long as they were still nursing some...keep up the good work mama!
Love Renée
xoxo

Erin said...

Oh, the guilt... I don't know a single mother that doesn't have it! I have a happy hour on Friday and I'm already feeling weird about it. I'm TRYING to not feel so guilty and counting the minutes I spend with Annie on weeknights because it's enough to make me crazy, and I know logically that if I go out for a night, it's a-ok. but still.... it's there, and I hate it.

Loved this article on guilt:
http://alphamom.com/parenting/working-mothers-guilt-the-myth-of-balance-and-perfection/

Angela said...

Oh buddy,
I wish you the best week! I honestly don't know how you do it. My house is always a mess and I don't have a baby or a dog, and I don't cook. You rock!

Lisa said...

I can't begin to image what it's like with a child, but I have definitely had my share of struggles with "shaking it off" with some of those same feelings, so I can appreciate that. I guess you can't be expected to be "on" all the time, and it does always get better, which is reassuring.

So glad this week is going better for you!

val said...

A lot of things worth doing aren't all that pretty in the process. Life is lumpy and weird. And then the guilt about the fact it should be smoother, and what's my problem.... And then feeling guilty for not being in the mood to be cheerful.

Ugh.

but lots of love to you. it really is all worth it, even the goddang dog hair. love, Val

Mandy said...

Oh my gosh Alicia, I think I copy this post and put it on my blog! I had the exact same kind of week last week - so much to do so little time to get it all done and Colton was hit a stage that I am not sure how to handle (he is so sassy and has an attitude that is driving me up a wall)!! Sunday he went to Sunday School with his Grandma and I was able to spend a couple hours deep cleaning my house which in some weird way made me feel so much better. Try not to feel guilty - you are an amazing mom, I have no idea how you do it. And I think the Shrug it Off method is a great one, but sometimes it just doesn't seem possible. Hang in there, life has its curveballs but there is always good times right around the corner. Here's to a better week!

Freckles said...

Well if it makes you feel better, I didn't notice that you were in a blah mood on Friday. You seemed as friendly and wonderful as ever. We've all been there and all feel the guilt. I even sent an email to Aaron yesterday asking him if he feels that I do enough around the house? I guess I feel that since I'm home all day, he should be able to come home to a nice and clean house with dinner ready on the table. Nuh-uh, that does not happen. The house is rarely all clean and I pretty much never prepare a meal. Taking care of Kellen is waaaaay more work than I thought it would be, and with his waking up 2 times a night I try to get a nap in during one of his naps (if he even goes down for a nap). So yeah, I guess I should actually be trying to nap right now, but instead, I'm on the stupid internet! Why do I do this to myself??? Ahhh, anyways. Cheers to shrugging it off - we all need to learn to do that sometimes. :)