Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Running Out of Steam

I no longer bounce out of bed in the morning. Fine, I have never been one to bounce out of bed in the morning. But in my current state, me getting out of bed in the morning is probably the most unpretty picture you can imagine. There’s a lot of struggle just to get my body contorted into a position wherein I can somehow slide out of bed. But once up, I feel pretty good. Even after nights of very little quality sleep, I still feel good. And as I stand in the shower I like to think about all the things I can do that day - all the many items on my to-do list just waiting for that special checkmark. Checkmarks give me a great sense of accomplishment. This should not surprise you.

Yesterday was particularly amazing. I got up, got showered, ate breakfast, got dressed, combed my hair, saw Hubby off to work, applied deodorant. All of this before Reagan woke up. Of course she was largely unimpressed by my progress and immediately asked for her father. I tried not to take this personally. Instead, I told her we could call him at work. She listened to his voice on the other end of the phone for about 5 seconds before she started crying hysterically because Daddy was not there to eat “suppers” (translation: breakfast) with her. After a small fit, I got her settled in her chair and she managed to eat a decent breakfast. I was able to make the bed and coffee all at the same time. Look at all this momentum!

Which is precisely when I evidently used up all my energy for the day. The coffee was decaf so it didn’t “do” anything other than excite the fetus.

So there I sat, 35 weeks pregnant, in the chair by the window getting warmed by the sun. Reagan played happily for a long time - but mostly played around me. I interacted with her, yes, but for the most part my brain just felt like a blob of blobbiness. She refused to change out of her pajamas and I gave up on fighting her. Until she had that dirty diaper, of course. That was incentive enough to get out of the chair and do something. So I did that. And then I landed back in the chair. The rest of the morning was pretty similar - sit down, do nothing, listen to the radio, help Reagan find a toy, sit down, do nothing, listen to the radio, tell Reagan to stop throwing things down the register, sit down, do nothing...you get the point.

I briefly entertained thoughts of “Well, when she takes a nap I can do the ironing!” and then promptly dismissed those ambitions as completely ridiculous. After lunch, we both took long and restful naps. It was nice. But it didn’t help my to-do list.

When Reagan got up, I knew we had to DO something. Fortunately, the weather was gorgeous...so we got our jackets and shoes on. I wished that she was old enough to tie my laces for me. And then we were off to the pond and the park. Double bonus for her. Extra effort for me.

We got home just in time to finish supper and welcome Daddy back home. Which was a joyous event for both of us. Until...until I looked around and realized the most I had “accomplished” that day was brining the laundry basket, full of clean but unfolded clothes, from the basement to the upstairs. There were toys everywhere. The kitchen counter was full of my papers and notes and lonely to-do lists. I had nothing prepared for Reagan for supper. Our shoes were scattered on the landing.

I tried to list the things I did that day: Um, I changed a dirty diaper. No! Wait! Two dirty diapers! And we went to the pond and the park. I made the bed. I put supper in the oven. I danced with Reagan in the kitchen. Okay, that about covers it. A completely unenergetic display of lack of accomplishments. Hubby was impressed.

Sometimes on the days I get a lot done, I realize I didn’t spend a lot of quality time with Reagan. Sometimes on the days I spent a lot of quality time with Reagan, I didn’t get a lot done. And yesterday, I can’t say that Reagan and I had a lot of quality time and I still didn’t get anything done.

I am hitting the wall here. My thinking isn’t as clear as it used to be. My energy levels are diminishing. My ability to care for my daughter in my hippopotamus-like state is not always adequate. No, I don't lay on the couch and watch t.v. all day. But neither do I really have productive fulfilling days lately. The physical exhaustion is one thing. The mental and emotional exhaustion is even more crippling.

And its harder to just accept it this time around. Because the first time, no one else really suffered. There was no little one around to chase, discipline, clean, feed, play with and entertain. And while she is very patient with me, it still makes me sad that what she knows as her Momma right now is this woman who gasps for breath after walking up half a flight of stairs.

I’m trying to put it all into perspective. I know I won’t be like this forever. I know I am still “doing my job” as a mom. I know that it could be worse. I know that this is a temporary condition. But it is difficult to not be able to be the active Mommy and productive wife that I want to be. I feel like I need to apologize all the time for not getting more done or not being able to do as much around the house. Even though I know right now it is important for me to take care of myself and take it easy a little bit. I’m thinking I may have to start adding things to my to-do list like TAKE A NAP and DRINK AN EXTRA BOTTLE OF WATER and SIT DOWN AND CATCH YOUR BREATH. Maybe then I’ll feel like I’m doing what I should be. Right now...it just doesn’t seem like enough.

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