After coming over all “mommy power” last time round, today is one of those days I really need people to not gloat over because there is no mommy power here.
I feel sick to my stomach from lack of sleep as my beautiful baby has cut her first two teeth – shouldn’t she sleep better after they cut?!
I swear she has been more miserable and unhappy since the second one came through yesterday. And she woke up at 5:15am today – which is a million percent unmanageable after all night whimpering and feeding and snuggling – and did I mention – I HATE SUMMER. Ironically, as I sit here in a puddle of sweat with my 10.5kg baby asleep on me hating every second of the heat I got a Timehop notification that this time last year I posted this.
Put her down once she’s asleep? Really? You think I haven’t tried that? When I got her down at 7:45 I waited 20 minutes until she was heavily asleep and gently transferred her to her cot (as I do throughout the night with not a second of issue) and her eyes popped open like one of those creepy baby dolls. As I wept in exhausted frustration, I tried to get her back down in every possible way until at 9:10 she finally fell asleep on the boob. My mom arrived shortly after that and so we decided I would gently transfer her to my mom’s arms and she could sleep there so I could close my eyes for an hour or so, which might let me get some semblance of work done. Guess what? Yep, creepy baby doll eye popping, this time accompanied by frustrated wailing and an agony of guilt for me for being so selfish and not just letting her sleep in my arms.
Since she was awake, my mom took her to play in her room and for a walk round the complex so I could once again try to sleep. 20 minutes and then I woke up from the crazy nausea of sleep deprivation – seriously. More ugly crying as I lay swamped by a hangover I never had the satisfaction of inducing, a headache, aching eyes, guilt over Charly not getting enough sleep and stress of work that needs doing ASAP.
And all of this beneath a now constantly hovering desperation to do something for me. I wrote a whole blog post of eloquently researched disagreement over a post and article published by a talented blogger last week on why we shouldn’t put our children above all else. I disagree with that, and I might publish my reasoning at some point, BUT I do think we should find a way to create lives for ourselves alongside our children. Because, although I disagree with the conclusion, the torrent of nostalgia and longing for “me” time has not left me for a second since I read that post.
Did you know, pre-Charly Mandy was a person who had quite a busy, exciting, spoilt life on many levels? She was a sought-after, recently head-hunted B2B PR person, who loved her job and the media and her clients and her colleagues; she loved working in stylish offices in Searle Street, and she loved getting her cappuccino from Vida every day.
She wore an array of stylish clothing on her perfectly nice figure with a variety of beautiful heeled shoes. She had her hair washed, blowdried and straightened every second week, she got treatments once a month and she had highlights. She had her eyebrows and lashes tinted and shaped every 3 weeks; she had manis and pedis once a month and she topped up her “tan” in a sunbed every other week (the sun turns me lobster, so no I don’t care that my light gold colour was dangerously acquired). In the 2 months leading up to her wedding in May 2013, she went for a 2 hour full body massage every Sunday.
She and her fiancé went to dinner once a week at least and lunch every weekend, where they would talk for hours about technology and telecoms and business management (her work and his), their jobs, their cats, their friends, their plans, current affairs, books they wanted to read, movies or series they wanted to see, where they would take their next holiday and occasionally how their lives might look with the addition of a smaller family member. On weekends they often slept until 11 and spent the days lazing around watching shows or movies, playing games, reading books or napping. They loved to shop and buy each other lovely little gifts from sweets to fluffy toys to items of clothing. They went on a big holiday every 2 years, Plett, Sun City, Vic Falls, even almost Egypt before they went to war; and they took long weekends away at least twice a year.
She did weekly dinners or lunches with friends, spent special time with her family, especially her sister and her niece, and had big birthday parties that were extra special “me” days. She read a book every 3 days, bought endlessly from lovely quiet musty second hand bookstores where she could spend hours at a time.
I feel like that girl died, or at the very least is locked in a very deep basement with some very heavy duty furniture piled on top of the trapdoor.
Of COURSE I want some of that back! I miss my husband; I miss our spontaneous dinner dates and planning elaborate holidays and surprising him with a weekend lounging around on deck chairs watching whales in the sun in silence. I miss my 3 hour hair appointments and couples massages and idling away an entire day lying in a sun puddle with a book, occasionally dozing off. I miss having pretty nails and a body I could get into floaty beautiful clothing. I miss shopping! Browsing around and spending hours trying on clothes and shoes. I miss talking to my friends endlessly about nothing and everything.
I was never planning on being this mommy. This mommy who can’t be away from her child for more than 2 hours without panicking that she might starve. This mommy who is never ever away from her child for more than 10 minutes when she sleeps. This mommy who has no nails (for the first time in my life). This mommy who’s hair gets washed in the bath once a week and then only every other week gets to brush the dreadlocks out that form when your hair stays in a mommy bun 24/7. This mommy who feels guilt over needing to sleep so bad that I put my child in her cot in daylight.
I have made an effort from the day she was born to take her out, to have TVs on loud in the house, to continue conversations while she slept, to have people over often, and somehow I’ve still ended up with a baby who won’t sleep anywhere but in my room in my arms. I put up with endless screaming when she was tiny ensuring she didn’t feed to sleep, and yet now she does 90% of the time. I suffered through excruciating pain to keep breastfeeding til 6 months and now 1 year, and there are some days now I would sell my soul to have introduced a bottle to her so that I could have just a few hours out of the house without worrying that she might need a feed when I’m not there.
I know that these are superficial things. I know without hesitation that I wouldn’t trade the time with my daughter for any of them. But some days are SO hard. And something as silly and frivolous as having my hair done might make dealing with another week of no sleep and constantly being covered in vomit and other bodily fluids and trying to meet deadlines more do-able. A massage to ease the constant pain and aching in my body from too little sleep over too many months and carrying my baby and feeding my baby and the constant mommy guilt that causes every muscle in me to tense up a hundred times a day. I guess I could do a “half” massage; the hair will have to wait a lot longer since it is to my waist and takes well over 2 hours to tame.
I don’t miss that Mandy, and I love being a mommy, even that kind of mommy. And I know that when Charly is a little bit bigger, when naps are further apart or she is sleeping longer at night, when she doesn’t need my body to feed her every 3 hours, I’ll get some of it back. And when she’s a little bigger than that I will take her with me to wander through old musty bookstores and to have our hair and nails done and the shopping!! And in a heartbeat after that I will be heartbroken because she wants to do ALL of these things, but not with me. Which is why, even on days like today when I ache for just a tiny little spoil just for me, I will shake it off and be the best mommy I can be.
I am working on the little things until the bigger things become possible. On Thursday I will sneak away while she plays with granny, to meet my husband for a quick lunch at an overcrowded shopping centre close to his office. Next week I will take a book and go sit and read at a coffeeshop for an hour and a half, no blogging or Tweeting or Facebooking, “just me” time. Maybe the week after, I will try that massage.
FINALLY, the heat of the day is beginning to ease a little and the air is moving again. I am most definitely a Winter girl. As the air cools I can feel some of the heavier emotions begin to drift a little too.