So, we’ve been doing this whole “husband works out of town, wife works full time and takes care of baby, dog, and house” thing for about a month now, and boy have I learned a lot in these short few weeks. There are many days where I feel like I’m an all star mom, kicking ass and taking names. And there are also days where the weight of it all can feel very heavy and at times impossible. Those days, thankfully, are less frequent – but they truly test my mental strength. This morning was one of the latter.
Cole has perpetually been a so-so sleeper, like – I KNOW it could be worse, but it could definitely be better – type of sleeper. He went down at his usual bedtime of 8:30, woke up at 1:00 to nurse, went right back to sleep, then woke up again around 4:45. But, alas, he did not have an easy time falling back asleep as per his usual. Instead, he cried. He fought me and pushed me away. I tried laying down with him, tried letting him cry in the crib a while, tried feeding him, standing and walking, shushing and butt patting. I pulled out every trick I could think of, and ultimately, 45 minutes of rocking later he went back to sleep. By then, it was time for me to start my day anyway, so I stayed up. I finished prepping his breakfast, lunch, and bottles for daycare. Take a quick rinse off shower, skip the hair washing because I knew I didn’t have time for that this morning (dry shampoo, you’re a life saver). Get myself dressed and almost ready – and he’s up already.
So, the usual morning balancing act begins. Try to finish getting myself ready, take care of our attention-deprived angel of a dog, Ellie, get Cole changed and ready for daycare – and so on. Even though I was tired (is there any other state of mind anymore, though?) I was going through the usual motions. So finally, I’m almost done and ready to roll when I realize I should try to do something with my hair. I put Cole in the pack ‘n play and start figuring out some sort of a pony tail that turned into a frustrated messy bun. And that’s all it took, I broke down and started crying.
In that moment, I just wanted my husband. I wanted him to be there to support me as he’s done countless times, and to just have someone to entertain Cole long enough that I could have washed and actually done my hair. Sometimes I find myself trying to be so strong and trying to get everything done with Cole, cooking, cleaning, Ellie, the house, etc. that I forget to just breathe and allow myself to be a normal stressed out and imperfect working mom. I think the benefit of this morning’s breakdown was that I finally realized it’s ok to just embrace that messy bun – these tough times won’t last forever.
If one thing is for certain, I have definitely come to realize that there is very little time in the day and I now need to make the most of every second and carefully plan at least some of every evening. By the time I get off work, pick Cole up from daycare, and get home – it’s already 5:15 or so. Typically I nurse Cole, feed Ellie, make some sort of dinner, eat dinner while feeding Cole, clean up, try to get Ellie some exercise (usually letting her run around while Cole and I water the flowers and pick veggies from the garden), come inside and try to let Cole play or get a bath, and by then it’s his bed time. After he’s down, I usually try to haul ass around the house to get everything ready for the next day: daycare food and clothes, my work clothes, lunch, etc. If I have time or energy (rarely), I try to do one small cleaning task or a load of laundry before I have to shower and go to bed. It’s truly a grind and I’ve found that if I don’t ask for help, I really start to fall behind (cue my absolutely amazing mother and MIL). I try so hard to not worry about the things that aren’t getting done and instead realize that the few hours I have with Cole each night are worth letting the dishes in the sink or the laundry get behind.
One thing that I have learned through this life change is how much Mitch and I rely on one another for things, and how much we truly were (and still are) a team. I am so thankful for that. Mitch is doing a great job balancing working 48 hour weeks, studying after work, and staying involved with Cole by doing FaceTime with us every night. I’m keeping my child alive, the dog alive, myself *half* sane, and the house standing – and right now, I suppose that’s enough.