Wednesday, February 18, 2009
"I love being a mom, I just hate doing it"
I always thought it was Zach who got so affected by the weather. I remember one particular instance in Switzerland where it had been raining for days and he was all doom and gloom, then the minute the sun came out his whole mood did a total 180. It was incredible. Moving to California, both times, has partially been out of luck, but also out of a conscious decision to go someplace where the weather doesn't suck.
But the past few days have got me wondering if it's started wearing off on me, too. Each day of rain and cold left me feeling more grumpy (just ask Zach). Maybe part of it is fluctuating hormones, too, readjusting now that D's gone from nursing 5+ times a day to only twice. I'm feeling better today (as I look outside and see blue sky and SUN) but part of me still feels out of sorts.
I'm frustrated by so many little things around me. The constant messy state of our house. The endless to-do lists that never seem to get checked off. The way I spend so much of my day feeling like my mind is in a fog and can't think clearly. How I feel like I never have anything interesting to say in conversation b/c my life is made up of Donovan and being a mom, and there's only a select few people on this earth that could stand to listen to me talk all day about my kid. How I have so many things I want to do, little things, big things, things for me, for our family, for the house, and no time to do them. I'm frustrated at the qaulity of pictures I'm taking. Always feeling like a mess, with unkept hair and uncute clothes. I think Donovan plays with my makeup more often than I do these days. How hard it is to balance time spent as a family, with my husband, and replenishing myself, in the tiny pockets of time that are nights and weekends.
I keep going over this language thing in my head, and feeling like I;m stuck between a rock and a hard place. I stopped reading the Baby Bilingual book, as the author feels VERY strongly that the BARE MINIMUM you can do is have one parent speak exclusively in the second language, all the time, no exceptions (other than when you're with other people who don't speak it). And sometimes I do feel like I could totally do that. But it would also mean having to spend time every day looking up words, idioms, nursery rhymes, reading for my own linguistic upkeep, and all that means having to sacrifice even more of my "me" time for the sake of my child when it feels like I've already turned my entire life upside down for him. I'm also shocked at how sad it makes me to think of not ever speaking English with Donovan. Languages really do have a deep pull and connection with you. At the same time, it would be such a waste to not do my best to give him the gift of language at this time when it will be so easy for him to pick up, knowing how friggin hard it is to learn another language later on. This debate has been driving me batty, going back and forth, and I guess the solution is to say SUCK IT to that author and just keep doing our half-Spanish/half-English routine and hope for the best. I know I still do/will need to spend time on the side looking up Spanish words and songs, etc, but this also gives me a bit of wiggle room.
(If only one of my Spanish-speaking relatives would move out here so they could speak to Donovan in Spanish always and take some of the pressure off me. C'mon. I know you guys want to....)
I was at the library recently looking for books for me, and not knowing what else to browse through I headed to the parenting section and started looking at the books of motherhood and children. And I couldn't think of a single non-parenthood-related title to look up in the library's database. It struck me, how even my free time is devoted to Being a Mom.
And so I'm realizing that I think something needs to change. I need to re-examine how I spend my days and my free time, ways to be more efficient, things to cut out that are unecessary (like time spent on the computer doing things that don't matter). I have a bad habit of sitting down at the computer after getting D down for a nap, feeling exhausted, and so just mindlessly jumping from website to website, not really getting anything accomplished and not even relaxing. I think that needs to stop. I hate feeling this pressure to make every single minute count, but then again this is my life now and it's not gonna change anytime soon, and I need to figure out ways to either be productive or enjoy myself better during my breaks or else I might just lose it. I also need to get better at finding things to do for myself, even if it's just finding a novel to read for fun for a few minutes every night before bed. And I need to get better at scheduling time for myself, when Zach can take care of D. Zach's been great about trying to encourage me to get time for myself, but too often the weekend comes and goes and between everything else we want/need to get done time for me slips away.
It's a bit of a shock, when the lofty expectations that you had for yourself come crashing down when faced with reality. You expect yourself to be this great mom who does all these wonderful things for your child-- cooking homemade food for them, constantly talking to them and naming things to improve their vocabulary, developing a wide array of songs and nursery rhymes and games to use all day long. And instead you find yourself trying to catch up on emails or read a friend's blog in the 5 minutes before your kid realizes you're not right there next to them anymore, getting frustrated at them for waking up AGAIN or being fussy when you can't tell why. I know I'm a good mom. I know D will grow up to be a great kid, in spite of me not doing all these things for him. But it still takes some work to shake off those expectations, and there are still days when you just wish you could call in sick for once. All I can do, is the best that I reasonably can. I think that's my new mantra.