I’m going to be honest here… things have been challenging for me lately. I’ve been writing this post for a few weeks now. I’ve been trying to articulate how I feel, but it has been hard to capture into words. And I don’t think I’m quite there yet but here goes…
It’s not the baby that’s challenging me. No, he is as sweet as pie.
In fact, I feel bad about how challenged I’ve been feeling because Evan is truly the easiest baby in the world. He eats, he smiles, he sleeps. Repeat (with some diaper changes in there somewhere).
No, the challenge is ME.
You know that feeling when you finish a really good book or you binge watch a really good TV show (ahem Orange Is The New Black lovers – you know what I’m talking about). That’s kind of how I feel right now. About life.
Returning to work has thrown me for a loop. I can’t even explain why, because, as I’ve mentioned, I really like my job, I really like my coworkers, and I like the time to myself. I know it takes a little while for me to get back into the swing of things, but usually by this point I’ve adjusted. I have not adjusted.
This time around the adjustment is harder. I see it slowly happening, but it’s frustrating that it’s not getting easier, faster. It’s also frustrating me that I am being unrealistic. At this point I’ve decided my brain is just one big contradiction.
I wake up tired. I spend the morning feeling angry. I spend the day thinking about this face…
And then I spend the night feeling guilty.
Oh, and did you remember that I have other kids?
I feel guilty about them, too.
Braeden has been so wonderfully sweet with the baby (he really loves him so much), but I feel like he is angry and distant with me at times. OK, most of the time.
I feel like I don’t play with him enough, or talk with him as much as I want — and instead I yell at him too much. I feel like he’s growing up way to fast and I don’t know how to reel him in.
Livie has been difficult, as expected. She IS the middle child. She is adorable and sweet and sassy, but can also be stubborn and dramatic and four.
She is too smart for her own good — or maybe just my own good. She has definitely regressed and at times tells people that she wishes she was the baby. It seriously breaks my heart.
Oh and then there’s the fact that I’m married.
Dan has been nothing but patient, kind, and helpful. He mostly tackles the care of the other two while I am taking care of Evan. After 16 years together he gets me. I have that whole “only girl + oldest child” thing (if it’s not a thing it should be) and he has that “only child” thing – so we both like our alone time. But maybe not THIS much alone time is healthy? I know it’s important to keep a strong marriage when you have kids, but it is another case of easier said than done, especially with a new baby. I feel like I don’t even have time to take care of myself, let alone a relationship. So it’s on autopilot right now. Most nights we spend taking care of the kids and then sitting in silence while we get lost in a book, TV, or the internet. It’s certainly not the picture of martial bliss. But, after being touched and pumped and worrying about things all day, I really just want to snuggle with my baby and try to unwind my brain and then sleep. Alone. It’s the only thing I can handle right now. And I feel guilty about that too.
I know it will get easier. I know that my stupid hormones are not helping. I know that focusing on things that make me happy WILL make me happy. I know that running will also help. I know that going on a few date nights without the kids will help me feel better about my marriage. I know all of these things… but it doesn’t mean I am any less of a mess.
So why am I putting this out there for the whole internet to read? Why am I WHINING about having a wonderful husband and three healthy and happy kids, who act like kids? Maybe because I don’t want to feel like I am so alone in my thoughts and feelings. Or maybe because I’m tired of pretending like my life is back to normal. I put on a happy face most days. I don’t know how good at it I am – but it’s there. When people ask me how I am, I say, “good.” And I can talk about the baby for hours. Even though he doesn’t do much yet. I try to find the fun and the funny in my day to day activities. If I’m laughing, my laughter is genuine, and so are my smiles, but deep down I am wishing that I was still on maternity leave. Mentally, I’m not ready to be back to work. Back at life. Deep down I feel an odd sense of unhappiness – but I don’t know WHY. It’s unnerving.
Normally, I would make a plan or a list. Because that’s what I do and really there is so much to look forward to! But this time… I’m tired. So, I’m just going to whine about it and just put it out there. Acknowledging that things aren’t “perfect” out loud is the first step, right ? ‘m also focusing on making it to Fridays. And trying to be more patient and kinder to myself and others. And telling my husband it’s not him and that I love him. And that I sometimes feel like I am failing. Who knows, maybe I need some spiritual guidance? See… I’m already starting to make a list.
Truthfully, I think I just need to accept that these things take time and that normal is a relative term. It’s normal to be flustered, overwhelmed, and tired when your life changes – no matter how prepared you think you are for the change. It’s normal to feel challenged. But really? I cannot wait until this changing, growing period is over and I can say – I made it through and we have learned/experienced/grown so much. Until then, I’m in the tunnel, looking for that light…let me know if you see it.
And obviously, I need to go for a good run right about now… because DANG it’s getting all serious up in here.