Lately it seems that all my favorite mommy bloggers, like her and her, have the same age-old question on their minds - how do you balance it all? How can you give 100% to work, kids, husbands, and (concept!) YOURSELF without having a complete and utter nervous breakdown?
This question consumes my thoughts regularly, and since I wrote my stressed-out mommy plea about a month ago, I have managed to streamline our daily routine. First of all, we stopped using cloth diapers, so the poop-scraping nights are behind us. This was a tough decision for me, as I fancy myself a pseudo-eco-mommy and had been obsessed with cloth diapering since long before I even got pregnant (y'know, back when I had time on my hands to sit around researching BumGenius vs. Happy Heinies). But I had set a goal of a year of cloth diapers, and I made it. I'm proud of that, and prouder of the fact that I am no longer fist-deep in my son's crap on a nightly basis. I discovered Amazon Mom's amazing diaper discounts (7th Generation for .15 each, yo!) so I'm also pretty proud of the crazy deal I'm getting. Now if only I could banish the pesky bit of diaper rash that has plagued us since we started on disposables, we'd be golden.
I also started giving the Roo school food, and stopped obsessing about potential pesticides lurking in the daycare cuisine. I bring him some yogurt from home, and a little container of fruit every day - if the day's menu has some Dirty Dozen produce on it, I ask that they give him my fruit instead. And he's EATING. My kid is EATING! MY kid! ...at school, that is. Eating at home is a whole other cranky blog post in the works. SIGH.
I stopped pumping at night before I go to bed, so I'm down to three pumps a day - in the morning before I leave for work, and twice while I'm there. Dropping the nightly pump made an INCREDIBLE difference to both the quality of my evenings and my energy level. On Monday, November 1st (Arbitrary date? Yes! Crazy OCD mommy? Yes!!), I am dropping another pump, so I'll be down to TWO per day. I couldn't be more excited if it were Christmas morning and Santa had just pulled a pony out of his sack.
These small changes have made a world of difference in my quality of life, yet I still feel that I am running around like a headless chicken most days. People like to tell you how much having a child will change your life, and I thought I understood them. But the truth is, I had no idea how much motherhood would rock my world. I miss puttering in my apartment, rearranging closets, cleaning the kitchen, baking, seeing girlfriends, long, careless, non-exhaustion-filled dates with my husband (I have been known to yawn and slump over in the middle of date nights these days...). I miss primping in the mirror, curling my hair, applying make-up, doing face masks, taking baths, and all the other things that now I am simply too tired to do at night after the Roo has gone to sleep. I miss sleeping past 5:30 am (oh sweet little early bird, WHY must you rise before the sun??). I miss lazy Sunday mornings, lingering for hours over coffee and the newspaper. I miss having more than one glass of wine. I miss being selfish.
At work, I can no longer stay late, like I once did regularly. Hell, it's all I can do to make it in to the office by 9 - and usually I don't roll in til 9:30 (thankfully no one else does, either - god bless the entertainment industry!). Some days I go visit Carter at lunch instead of staying at my desk and working through like I once did. Then I leave early at 5:45 to make it to daycare before closing. While I'm in the office, I try to give 110% to make up for all the time away, but it's just not possible - there are bills to pay, appointments to schedule, blogs to read (ahem), celebrity gossip to catch up on (AHEM)...but I can cram it all in, right? Being a stellar employee AND dealing with the minutia that slips through the cracks each night at home? Frankly, work is the only moment I get a bit of a break - at home, it's a nonstop litany of tasks until I fall into bed at night and pass out cold.
My sweet husband is always encouraging me to take time for ME - go get your nails done, honey. Buy yourself a new dress, honey. Go to lunch with a friend, honey. And I should - I know I should. But it's just so difficult for me to justify any time spent away from the Roo on the weekend - I see so little of him during the week that I just want to completely smother him with affection and attention each weekend. But that's not good, and I know that. Too much work and not enough time for herself makes mommy a dull (and crazy) girl. So I hereby challenge myself to take time each week to recalibrate, for my own sanity and the sanity of my little family.
I'll end this with a long-beloved and newly poignant quote from our dear Dr. Seuss -
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
And remember that life’s a great balancing act.
Preach on, Theodor Geisel!