I must have missed the boat somewhere... Or maybe there was a parenting book (one of the millions) that I still haven't gotten around to reading? Because for the last 10 months-- since the birth of my daughter-- I have considered it a miracle that I walk out the door in the morning fully-clothed. Possibly even with matching shoes.
And I thought Pregnancy was exhausting! That's just the warm-up people.
Don't get me wrong: It's literally the BEST time of your life watching your child grow and learn and wonder.. and eventually wander (into the dog food bowl)
But from here on out... its GO time.
Dirty Diaper at 3am? GO!
Crawling? No, don't go in there! stop!! don't eat that!!
Teething during your latest Housewives episode? That's why DVRs were invented.
Say goodbye to sleeping in on Saturdays... and farewell to late nights out with friends.
It's not a bad thing. Those moments with your child are precious and each one is one-of-a-kind. Who would want to miss all of that? Not me! Hence... my dilemma.
How do people do it?
How do they balance kid (or kids! AH!)? Work? Exercise? Social Life? Sleep?
How do they find time to eat?
So... for this topic-- I'm throwing up a white flag. I surrender. I'm clueless. I need help (probably professional)
At this point... my "time saving tips" are forgetting to feed myself and cutting back on me-time -- and some sacrifices in the 'beauty' department.
Personal Hygiene takes a back seat:
This morning I literally had poop down my leg.
My daughter sneezed and it shot right out the side of her diaper and down my leg onto my foot.
The old me would have squealed like a pig, put the baby in my husband's hands and jumped in the shower... cursing.
The new me? a few baby wipes and I was good to go. (luckily, this all happened before I got dressed for work-- so you see, it wasn't THAT gross. right? )
When my daughter was "new"--- AKA for the first 6 months of her life--- showering was a luxury. I was tired. She was fussy. She was hungry. She was dirty. The dogs needed to go out. The laundry needed to be moved around and folded. I had to go to work in 15 minutes.
The excuses and responsibilities continue to pile up... and yes, you find ways to save time. And for me... that was not washing my hair.
(thats my girl, love baby bed head)
Dry Shampoo became by best friend. I would wash my hair twice a week (maybe 3 times if we had a special event). It wasn't cute... no. It was a mess. But I embraced it because it saved me 15 minutes in the shower and 30 minutes with a blow dryer & straightener. And that time is precious. That's the difference between the dishes getting unloaded from the dishwasher. Or throwing another load of poop stained clothes in the wash with a cup of bleach. Time is precious. Sacrifices must be made.
Say Goodbye to your Social Life:
I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen some friends -- friends who I used to see daily/weekly-- since having my daughter. That's not entirely their fault. When you add a child to the equation, everything changes.
When your friend sends out a group text about a Birthday Celebration Downtown next weekend:
Other people: "Sure", "H*** YEA!", "Lets get wasted!"
Parents: "Let me see if my babysitter is free that night."
Talk about a buzz kill.
What's the secret? What's the "happy medium"? When is it okay? It continuously creates a "you or me" issue--- which one of us stays home with the baby and which one gets to go out and act like a real human being?
The guilt is compounding because not only are you missing those one-of-a-kind moments with your baby... your partner is also stuck at home missing out on whatever fun you're having. I don't think a social life should be the sacrifice but once your priorities shift, it becomes something less important. But its still important for life to have balance. Can someone clue me in?
Disclaimer: I will admit that my situation is a little more demanding than most. My husband is in the military and has a demanding work schedule that does require him to leave overnights, weekends and sometimes weeks at a time for training. You never appreciate your partner more than when he leaves you for 6 weeks with a 6-week-old baby. I literally felt like I spent all day, every day washing baby bottles. It was awful-- but we all survived just fine. (And we will be doing it again this summer when my husband leaves me alone with a 1-year-old for 6 weeks. shew! I'm gonna need a therapist)
A Shout Out To Working Parents:
It doesn't get easy. Even as the kid grows up and learns to wipe his/her own butt... there's more to do. more places to go. more to see. more to learn. more to explain.
And working parents... sheesh! They deserve a round of applause.
(please, Stay at Home Moms: Do not think that this is bashing your position or decision. In my case, I'm jealous of those of you who have the ability to do that. However, you have to admit-- those working parents seem to make it look easy. and it is NOT!)
Working parents somehow manage a 24/7, zero pay job (aka: Parenting)... on top of a full or part time job with its own demands and restrictions and rules.
Getting yourself ready for work in the morning takes time and energy-- Try doing that with a baby crawling around your house and trying to pull everything onto the floor-- including your hair dryer, coffee cup, shoes and breakfast. (or heaven forbid she poops down your leg)
And when you get home in the evening exhausted from a long, stressful day and you're just looking forward to kicking your feet up and eating some dinner-- Sure. After you pick the kid up from daycare, bring her home, put her dirty clothes in the laundry, check her diaper, feed her, change her, entertain her, give her a teether because she's fussy, give her a bedtime bottle and rock her to sleep. I haven't eaten dinner until 9:30pm before. It happens.
But I refuse to give those moments with my child up.
I could easily plan a wine date with friends after work and have my husband take care of the baby. (and I have done that) Or we could even pick her up from daycare and drop her at my mom's for the evening if we wanted a dinner date. But in the end, I'm losing hours with my daughter.
I already have to give her up from 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday.
All of those smiles and giggles and milestones-- I give those to her teachers at Daycare. And yes, they love her. And yes, they take such good care of her. But I'm jealous. I want to see all of those moments. I want to laugh and play with her. I'm not willing to give my few, precious hours up for a few (overpriced) glasses of wine-- even if the company is FABULOUS (as my friends are)
So. For all of my TODAY PARENTING TEAM Friends and Comrades:
Please do share. Tell me your secret. How is it possible to live a "normal life" and be a parent? Is there such a thing anymore as "normal"? How can I get used to my new normal without being completely shut off from the outside (AKA adult) world?
Mama "I wish there were more than 24 hours in a day"
(bedtime snuggles are the best.)