So there I was, stirring a skillet of ground turkey with a supposed-to-be-sleeping baby in a sling across my chest thinking about how irritated I was that James still wasn't home. I turned the heat off, abandoned the ground turkey, and went to try again at putting Calvin to bed. Once he was asleep, I resumed cooking and Calvin slept through the night and we all lived happily ever after.
Oh wait... NOT.
The rest of the story about how I finally got dinner cooked and the baby to sleep is boring. But it inspired me to write a post about my current frustrations with the intention of being honest rather than trying to pretend that everything is peachy keen at our house all day every day. Then I started feeling guilty about all my gripes and I felt that I needed to remind myself of the things that I am grateful for because really, the big picture is pretty darn sweet.
1. My number one gripe today is feeling like a single mom. Except, a single mom that is still cooking and cleaning for two adults plus baby. James is super busy finishing his PhD like the smarty smart pants that he is. I am so proud of him and I want to do all I can to make things easy for him at home because I know he is under a lot of pressure at school. But man, oh man I did not realize what a big difference it would make not having him home in the evenings! He has been getting home at 10pm or later. It is not easy to get Calvin off to dreamland and get dinner cooked without another adult to help. Not to mention the fact that I just plain miss James' company!
2. Laundry. Dishes. Groceries. Cooking. Laundry. Dishes. Groceries. Cooking. Laundry. Dishes. Groceries. Cooking. Repeat.
3. Calvin crying in his car seat. My parents swear that riding in the car would put me to sleep every time when I was a baby, no matter how upset and inconsolable I seemed. They have even suggested that James try this technique to calm me when I am angry :P Other parents of their generation have said similar things about babies and car trips, but the consensus I am getting from my peers with babies is that their kids hate their car seats too. (If you are my peer and your kids love their car seats, please do not tell me. That would just be mean.) Did years of re-designing car seats in the interest of safety make them hellishly uncomfortable?? I have no idea. But I do know that a car ride will. not. put. Calvin. to sleep. It will definitely not calm him when he is upset - quite the opposite!
4. Pumping. Calvin cannot breastfeed because his palate muscles don't work quite as they should. But it's still important to James and me that he have breastmilk as a significant part of his diet because, well, we believe it's better for him than formula. So in order to keep those bottles filled with the good stuff I have to spend 10-20 minutes at a time, a minimum of 5 times a day attached to that stupid pump. What really kills me is that even after all that pumping I only get enough milk to account for about half of what Calvin eats in a day.
5. Baby weight. I'm working on it, I'm working on it, but it is slooooow going. To all my size 8, 6, and 4 jeans sitting lonely in my dresser drawer: I'm coming back for you! I swear it!
Ok, enough whining. Time to remember all the things I am thankful for.
1. I get to be a SAHM! I get to spend all day with my cutie boy! I get to go to mom and baby groups and go for walks with my friends who are also doing the SAHM thing. If I don't get enough sleep at night? No problem. I get to nap with the baby if I need to! Yes, there are times when I resent feeling like my entire purpose in life is to feed, clothe, and clean up after these two boys of mine (three if you count the cat), but in the end I know it's more than that and I know they need and appreciate me right now.
2. Calvin is really an awesome baby. He is happy and healthy and such a joy to spend time with. He isn't the greatest at napping, but at least his night sleeping is fine for me. (He doesn't sleep through the night, but he wakes only a couple of times and each time, he usually goes back to sleep within a few minutes with a little help from me.) Car trips are really the hardest thing, and even those are getting better because I have figured out that as long as he is not tired or hungry AT ALL, we can make it through a short drive with no crying.
3. James is really an awesome dad. He is crazy busy right now, but he makes a point to spend some time with Calvin whenever he can and he always thanks me for things I do to take care of him and the baby.
4. My Lola helps me fold my laundry. I know, I know, my 91-year-old grandmother shouldn't be heping me, I should be helping her, but honestly she seems glad to have something to do. Plus it's an excuse for her to come down to the apartment and spend some time with Calvin. She will sit and fold clothes and talk and sing to Calvin and meanwhile I can get the dishes washed or the kitchen mopped or I can just sit and fold clothes with her and visit. It's nice.
5. I have friends with babies and great mom and baby groups to go to. It is often hard to get out of the house on time (what with making sure Calvin is happy, fed, clean, and dressed; making sure the diaper bag is stocked; pumping or packing the breast pump; and making sure I am fed, clean, and dressed!), but it is really nice to spend time with other moms and their babies so I don't feel like I am drowning in the laundry, dishes, groceries, and cooking.
6. Our apartment and our car and motorcycle - without which my rockstar SAHM lifestyle would not be possible.
7. The fact that I am able to give Calvin breastmilk at all.
8. My cousins, aunt, and uncle here. I know any of them would be there to help us in a heartbeat if we really needed it.
9. Family and friends who I know send us their love (and facebook likes :) from afar.
10. Board games and sci-fi shows to give James a break from work and to give us a chance to relax together.
13. The Couch-2-5K running app. This is my golden ticket back into my size 4 jeans. Eventually. Ok, that and breaking up with cupcakes.
14. Living in such an awesome area where I have access to great parenting resources and gorgeous places to go walking/running/hiking.
I could go on and on because really there are so, so many things I am thankful for. But then this post would go on forever, so I'm giving myself one more:
15. Thanks to you if you stuck it out and read this entire ramble :)