Thursday, September 23, 2010

No Hall Passes

Three years ago I had a life.

Then we had Ada and things changed. We got new friends and saw our old friends a bit less often. We didn't go out much and the idea of taking a vacation was shelved. We gained family obligations, playdates, and babysitting swaps. WE did more laundry and tripped over more toys. We took on the role of parents and all of the responsibilities that went with it.

After awhile, we started to get a routine and accepted our new life. I got a new job with more flexible, part-time hours. We swapped cars with Rick's parents to make more room for Ada and her stuff. We reorganized our house so that we would all fit. It wasn't easy, but we did it.

Just when things felt balanced and I almost had my sanity back, we had Iain. I was totally disillusioned in thinking that life wasn't going to change much. I just assumed two kids was like having a second cookie for dessert. I completely overlooked the fact that he would need my undivided attention for a few months and that Ada would still need just as much attention as she did before he arrived. I forgot how demanding it was to be a nursing mom and how difficult it was to pass Ada off to someone else so I could go attempt to have a life of my own. And I must have suppressed all memories regarding the drama we dealt with in finding her caregivers for the first two years of her life.  I also conveniently forgot how my world was completely different after having Ada and how that no longer aligned with my job when I tried to go back after having her. In hindsight, when we had Ada, everything changed.

The reality of having Iain has finally set in. I'm on lockdown and have been for three months now. I joked with other moms this week about how I have to ask for a hall pass to leave the house. They all could relate. As a nursing mother, I spend more time with Iain. I know his cries and what soothes him. Since he is our second child, Rick is in charge of Ada and gets less time to bond with Iain, making him less likely to know how to handle the baby when I'm not around. That, in turn, makes me less likely to want to leave Iain with Rick since I'm not confident that they won't end up screaming at each other for the duration of my absence. And if I can't leave him with Rick, then who can I leave him with? His father should be the most capable one to know what he needs and how to take care of him. It is really tough to come home to a report on the events of the evening that hasn't gone well. And I'm the first to admit that feeding, changing, entertaining,and putting two kids to bed at night is not easy. I'm also quick to praise my husband as being an awesome dad so I'm totally shocked and amazed that this tiny little baby is winning match after match, so much so that I don't want to leave the house in fear of coming back to yet another bad report of an evening gone to hell. My solution has been to just stay home, or to take Iain with me wherever I go. That just isn't sustainable if I want to maintain some semblance of sanity.

At this point, I need to get out of the house. I need some "me time" to relax, refresh, reset my system and rebalance my life. A mother's mood sets the tone for the whole household and the tone around here hasn't been all that great lately. My latest challenge has been a test of faith. I need to have faith in my husband that he can handle two kids on his own now. I need to have faith that my friends aren't lying when they suggest that it gets better as the baby gets older. I need to have faith that there will be a calm after the storm when I can regroup and rebalance. And I need to have faith that this too shall pass.

Moral of the story: Each child you have changes everything. Don't be too proud to continually ask for help.

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