Recently (and by that I mean for the past two days, but hey, it still counts) life has begun to seem more manageable. Although my days and nights are still filled-to-bursting with activity, I haven't had those overwhelming moments where I throw up my hands and curse the gods for not allowing more hours in a day. Instead, things seem...easier.
Part of this newfound sense of freedom can probably be attributed to the fact that my evenings this week have not been consumed by making baby food (okay, save for a much-needed batch of pureed beets the other night), with the seemingly endless cycle of steam-puree-store occupying me until I pass out at midnight, delirious from exhaustion. Last week I was a pureeing fool and packed the freezer with Carter food, so I am fairly well-stocked for the time being. In fact, two nights ago my husband said "LOML, you need to stop making his food. Between purees and breastmilk, there is NO room in the freezer." Then last night a woman came by to pick up 100 oz. of frozen liquid gold and happily freed up some space for more. More, more, MORE!! Wahahahaha!
I am relishing these evenings of downtime, as they are rare. Of course, this is my fault. During the midst of one of my gripe sessions, a mommy friend once pointed out that I make motherhood harder than it needs to be. I've been thinking about this lately, and wondering - am I simply a masochist? Perhaps.
Masochist Mommy Example #1: I make 95% of the food that Carter eats, with the exception of some boxed cereals (although he mainly eats homemade oatmeal, barley and quinoa cereals) and carrots (which I began buying jarred when he first started solids because of the nitrate issue, and just kept buying 'em). Otherwise, the bulk of his diet - peas, green beans, squash, sweet potatoes, apples, mangoes, peaches, pears, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, blueberries, lentils, black beans etc. - are cooked/pureed/frozen by yours truly. The rest of his diet includes bananas, avocados, tofu, cheese, yogurt, wheat toast, and organic "o" cereal from Trader Joe's (a new addition). I have also started setting aside bits of whatever veggies I make for us each evening to puree them for him the next day, so now he's had spinach, onion, mushroom, kale, etc. We are slowly branching out into new proteins and trying to introduce finger foods, although currently he prefers to simply pick up the food and squish it in his palm rather than put it in his mouth. If I pick it up (pieces of toast, cheese, tofu) and bring it to his lips, he'll open wide and eat it, but he doesn't seem interested in feeding himself quite yet. Soon enough, soon enough. Simply put, making all his food, time-sucker that it is, makes me happy. However, lately I will occasionally give him one of the back-up jars of Earth's Best Organic that I keep on hand - this morning it was Pear Apple Oatmeal, which was a big hit - to save myself some time. It's all about achieving balance, right? No need to be Crazy Type A Pureeing Mommy 24/7. Ahhhh...that's me breathing a sigh of relief.
Masochist Mommy Example #2: I use cloth diapers. Now, I am not a Diaper Nazi, and I don't have some kind of militant platform against disposables, mind you - we used them for four weeks when he was first born and we use them at night. But for as long as I've been thinking about children, I've been hoping to cloth diaper. In fact, I spent months obsessively researching the different cloth diaper brands before buying - reading reviews, comparing prices, determining the best bang for my buck. And I've been happy with my choice so far - I don't find them particularly time-consuming because we've been using them since he was four weeks old - I just toss them in the wash every three days and TADA! Clean, fresh, and ready for baby. But every so often, I'll be up late on a Tuesday night, scrubbing poo out of dirty diaper liners in order to ensure that he has enough for the next day (I only have six of the gDiaper pant/inner liner combo) and at times like that I realize how convenient disposables are. Ideally I'd like to make it at least a year using cloth, possibly longer - but I'm not going to beat myself up if I switch over.
Basically, I am finally learning that being a working mom is hard enough without self-flagellation to deal with. I'll always feel guilty about not spending more time with him - the curse of the working mother - but I needn't waste a moment of the precious time that I do have steaming peas and scrubbing diapers. I'm that much closer to achieving balance, and as a result, things seem more manageable.
Better yet - things seem pretty damn fantastic.